De Lacey, Lawrence (Larry) (1885–1973), revolutionary and journalist, was born on 18 March 1885 in Oulart, Co. Wexford, the youngest of three sons and one daughter of Lawrence Lacey, a local farmer, and his wife Mary (née Brien). Born Lawrence Lacey , he styled himself de Lacey in adulthood. He attended Oulart National School and precociously carried on a correspondence in the Weekly Freeman concerning the Spanish–American war (1898). This impressed the future editor of the Enniscorthy Echo, William Sears (qv) (later elected a Sinn Féin MP in 1918), who employed him as a reporter in 1908. By 1914 he was heavily involved in the Irish armed revolutionary movement, the IRB and the Irish Volunteers, and in the political movement, Sinn Féin. With the connivance of Sears he printed the Irish Volunteer, for its editor in Dublin, Eoin MacNeill (qv). He came to the notice of the Colonial Office's secret service who opened a large file on him.
He lived at 6–8 New Street, Enniscorthy, the premises of Thomas Hayes, publican, grocer and boarding housekeeper, chairman of the Enniscorthy Board of Guardians, and a fervent nationalist, whose son, Stephen Hayes (qv) was a revolutionary, and whose daughter, Mary, became de Lacey's wife. On 24 February 1915 the police broke into the property to arrest de Lacey's housemate and fellow republican Sean O'Hegarty (qv). In addition to the gelignite, fuse, ammunition and 'seditious literature' found in O'Hegarty's room, they found a German dictionary, dynamite, gelignite and ammunition in de Lacey's room (where O'Hegarty himself was hiding), and, in other places, two carbines, three rifles and many copies of Ireland, Germany and the freedom of the seas by Roger Casement (qv). De Lacey denied any of the items belonged to him.
O'Hegarty was arrested, but when the police returned the following day to arrest de Lacey, he had fled for America. His fiancée, Mary Hayes, followed him and they were married in St Francis Xavier's church, Manhattan, on 28 July 1915. In New York, John Devoy (qv), head of Clann na Gael, posted him to San Francisco which was a hotbed of Indian (Sikh/Ghadar), German and Irish revolutionaries. De Lacey worked as editor of the Leader, an Irish-American paper for the Bay Area, founded by Fr Peter Yorke (qv) and was active in the 'Hindu–German conspiracy case' (with the support of Irish republicans) to free both India and Ireland from British rule.
When America entered the first world war on 6 April 1917, all Germans in the US were declared 'enemy aliens' and German diplomats in San Francisco were imprisoned on Angel Island, off the state's coast. In September 1917 de Lacey (alias Frank Kearney/Frank Kearney Pierce) and two accomplices were found guilty of trying to spring two German diplomats Franz Bopp and E. H. Schack imprisoned on Angel Island. De Lacey was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment on McNeil Island (off the coast of the state of Washington) commencing 12 July 1918 and a $5,000 fine. He was paroled on 11 January 1919 and released on 25 October 1919.
When Éamon de Valera (qv) visited San Francisco for the Democratic Party convention in the last week of June 1920, de Lacey published articles to project his messages in the Leader and in newspapers owned by media magnate and de Valera supporter, William Randolph Hearst, and sided thereafter with de Valera and the Joseph McGarrity (qv) faction of Clann na Gael. He accompanied McGarrity in raiding the Gaelic American offices to get the lists of membership to set up the pro-de Valera counter organisation to John Devoy.
Under another alias, Frank Williams, he tried to ship 495 Thompson sub-machine guns to Ireland with McGarrity, but they were seized by US customs in Hoboken, New Jersey, on 17 June 1921. He did manage to get a smaller quantity of arms through. After the signing of the Anglo–Irish Treaty (which de Lacey rejected) on 6 December 1921, he was no longer a wanted man by British authorities in Ireland and was able to travel freely. Arrested during the civil war, he was imprisoned in Wexford jail and then in the Hare Park internment camp, the Curragh, Co. Kildare. He took part in the general hunger strike in 1923. Later he was chairman of the Co. Wexford comhairle dáil cheantair (constituency council) of Sinn Féin.
In 1925, he moved his family back to Ireland and resumed working as a journalist at the Enniscorthy Echo and edited An Phoblacht. He left the IRA in 1926 to support the new Fianna Fáil party, becoming acquainted with its leading figures. Continuing in journalism he held positions at the Kilkenny Journal, the Mayo News, the Leinster Leader and the Connacht Tribune, before sub-editing with the Irish Independent and Irish Times in the 1930s, editing the Drogheda Argus in the 1940s and the Clare Champion in the 1950s.
By early 1940 his brother-in-law Stephen Hayes was the only active member of the IRA executive council. Isolated and leading an organisation hard pressed by the police, he began seeking the advice of non-IRA members such as de Lacey, which convinced the northern IRA commander Seán McCaughey that Hayes was passing intelligence to the Fianna Fáil government via de Lacey. In June 1941 McCaughey and his associates abducted Hayes and de Lacey and imprisoned them in a house in Glencree, Co. Wicklow, but de Lacey escaped almost immediately. (Hayes eventually escaped also). Thereafter de Lacey kept a loaded revolver on his editor's desk in the Argus offices.
He retired as editor of the Clare Champion and lived on a farm near Enniscorthy, where he pursued his interest in botany. For many years he had contributed a column on nature studies in the Irish Independent under the nom-de-plume 'Fieldman' in the feature 'If you watch today', and continued this column well into his retirement. He died on 18 November 1973 at Ballinapierce, Co. Wexford. He had two sons, Hugh de Lacy (qv) and Thomas, and was predeceased by his wife Mary.