Death: 25th October 1920
Location: St. Finbarr's Cemetery, Cork, County Cork, Ireland
Cause of death: Hunger Strike
Irish playwright, author and politician. He was elected as Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork during the Irish War of Independence in 1920. He was arrested by the British for possession of seditious articles and documents. He was summarily tried by court martial on 16 August and sentenced to two years' imprisonment in Brixton Prison. In prison he immediately started a hunger strike in protest at his internment and the fact that he was tried by a military court; his hunger strike brought him and the Irish struggle to international attention. Attempts at force-feeding MacSwiney were undertaken in the final days of his strike. On 20 October 1920, he fell into a coma and died five days later after 74 days on hunger strike.
MacSwiney was described as a sensitive poet-intellectual. In 1901 he helped to found the Celtic Literary Society, and in 1908 he helped to found the Cork Dramatic Society and wrote a number of plays for them. His first play The Last Warriors of Coole was produced in 1910. His fifth play The Revolutionist (1915) took the political stand made by a single man as its theme.
A collection of his writings, entitled Principles of Freedom, was published posthumously in 1921. It was based upon articles MacSwiney contributed to Irish Freedom during 1911–1912. MacSwiney's life and work had a particular impact in India. Jawaharlal Nehru took inspiration from MacSwiney's example and writings, and Mahatma Gandhi counted him among his influences.