De Gaulle in Ireland


In 1969, General Charles De Gaulle, the retired President of France visited Ireland. The great Anglophobe was descended from the Irish clan of McCartan on his mother’s side and had a keen interest in Irish history. He fulfilled a lifetime ambition to visit Ireland in 1969. It was on the anniversary of L’Appel du 18 Juin (Appeal of June 18), de Gaulle’s famous speech from London that the war was not yet over with the fall of France. It was de Gaulle’s first visit abroad as a simple French citizen.

On 19th June, De Gaulle invited many McCartans from County Down to a reception in Árus an Uachtaráin–the Presidential Residence at Dublin–where he also met with the Irish President Eamon De Valera. De Gaulle commented to Valera that in Ireland, he saw what he looked for right in front of him. (“J’ai trouvé ici ce que je cherchais : être en face de moi-même.”). The above photo was taken by André Lefebvre.