Guarding Russian crown jewels
Sir, – I read with interest the article on Bram Stoker (Property, January 26th). However, I would like to correct the matter referred to in the last two paragraphs.
My grandmother, Catherine Boland, resided in the same house and my uncle Harry also stayed there occasionally. A part of the Russian crown jewels were left with my grandmother for safe keeping when Uncle Harry brought them with him on a return trip from the US where he was special representative of the first Dáil Éireann. The jewels were given as security for a loan of $20,000 given by the Irish delegation to Ludwig Martens, the new Russian government representative. Michael Collins did not want the responsibility of looking after these jewels and he asked Harry to ask his mother to hold them, which she did, hiding them at 15 Marino Crescent. They remained safely there during the Civil War when Harry was assassinated and Michael Collins killed. When the Free State party was defeated by De Valera and Fianna Fáil, my uncle, Senator Seán O’Donovan, who was married to my aunt Kathleen, handed these jewels over to the government and received an official acknowledgment from the Department of Foreign Affairs. The jewels were eventually reclaimed by the Russian government and the $20,000 loan was repaid. – Yours, etc,