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John Boland (Irish nationalist politician)
John Pius Boland
|Representing United Kingdom|
|Representing a Mixed team|
John Pius Boland
BA (Lond), BA (Oxon), MA (Oxon), LLD (NUI), MP, KSG
|Born||(1870-09-16)16 September 1870
|Died||17 March 1958(1958-03-17) (aged 87)
|Political party||Irish Parliamentary Party|
|Spouse(s)||Eileen Moloney (1876–1937)|
|Children||2 sons, 5 daughters|
|Alma mater||Christ Church, Oxford
University of London
University of Bonn
|Occupation||Politician and Tennis Player|
John Mary Pius Boland (16 September 1870 – 17 March 1958) was an Irish Nationalist politician, and Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and as member of the Irish Parliamentary Party for South Kerry 1900–1918. He was also noteworthy as a gold medallist tennis player at the first modern Olympics.
Boland was born at 135 Capel Street, Dublin, to Patrick Boland (1840–1877), businessman, and Mary Donnelly; following the death of his mother in 1882, he was placed with his six siblings under the guardianship of his uncle Nicholas Donnelly, auxiliary bishop of Dublin. 
Boland was educated at two private Catholic schools, one Irish, the second English, and both of whose existence and evolution were influenced by John Henry (later Cardinal) Newman – the Catholic University School, Dublin, and The Oratory School, Birmingham (since re-located to near Reading) where he became head boy. His secondary education in the two schools either side of the Irish Sea helped give him the foundation and understanding to play an influential role in the politics of Great Britain and Ireland at the beginning of the 20th century, when he was a member of the Irish Parliamentary Party which pursued constitutional Home Rule.
In 1892 he graduated with a BA from London University. He had studied for a semester in Bonn, Germany, where he was a member of Bavaria Bonn, a student fraternity that is member of the Cartellverband. Boland studied law at Christ Church, Oxford, graduating with a BA in 1896 and MA in 1901; although called to the Bar in 1897, he never practised.
Success at the first Olympics
Boland visited his friend Thrasyvoulos Manos in Athens during the Olympics, and Manos, a member of the organising committee, entered Boland in the tennis tournament. Boland promptly won the singles tournament, defeating Friedrich Traun of Germany in the first round, Evangelos Rallis of Greece in the second, Konstantinos Paspatis of Greece in the semifinals, and Dimitrios Kasdaglis of Greece in the final.
Boland then entered the doubles event with Traun, the German runner whom he had defeated in the first round of the singles. Together, they won the doubles event. They defeated Aristidis and Konstantinos Akratopoulos of Greece in the first round, had a bye in the semifinals, and defeated Demetrios Petrokokkinos of Greece and D. Kasdaglis in the final. When the Union Flag and the German flag were run up the flagpole to honour Boland and Traun's victory, Boland pointed out to the man hoisting the flags that he was Irish, adding "It [the Irish flag]'s a gold harp on a green ground, we hope." The officials agreed to have an Irish flag prepared.
Following a visit to Kerry he became concerned about the lack of literacy among the native population, he also had a keen interest in the Irish Language.
In 1908, Boland was appointed a member of the commission for the foundation of the National University of Ireland.
From 1926 to 1947, he was General Secretary of the Catholic Truth Society.
He received a papal knighthood, becoming a Knight of St. Gregory in recognition for his work in Education, and in 1950 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of Laws by the NUI.
They had one son and five daughters; his daughter Honor Crowley (née Boland) succeeded her husband Fred Crowley upon his death sitting as Fianna Fáil TD for South Kerry from 1945 until 1966, when she died. His daughter Bridget Boland was a playwright who wrote The Prisoner.
He died at his home in London on St. Patrick's Day 1958.
- Gillmeister, Heiner (2008). From Bonn to Athens, single and return the diary of John Pius Boland, olympic champion Athens 1896. ISBN 978-3896654557.
- Boland, John Pius (1870–1958), politician and tennis player by G. Martin Murphy Oxford Dictionary of biography
- "Marriages intelligence". The Times (36906). London. 23 October 1902. p. 1.
- John Pius Boland Archived 8 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine Sports reference
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