Two hundred years ago Daniel Graisberry’s obituary appeared in the London News. Daniel Graisberry was well respected and liked in the print trade and in his personal life. He often sat on committees and was a member of the City of Dublin Grand Jury.
Daniel Graisberry died at the relatively young age of forty three or four, leaving a wife and five daughters behind. Although his ancestors did well during the golden age of printing in the previous century the family fortune had waned over the years. After his death his wife, Ruth was thrown into turmoil over how to support her family. As mother of five yet to be married daughters, it was left to her to provide for them. But Ruth Graisberry was a resourceful woman. Wasting no time she petitioned Trinity College, where her late husband was official printer, to allow her to take up where he had left off. Her case was helped greatly by the backing of some of the well respected printers of the city, resulting in the college keeping her on as their chief printer. She took on an apprentice, Michael Gill, who eventually became her printing partner.
In the years that followed the five Graisberry sisters married. Mary her eldest married bookseller, Richard McArthur, whom were parents to Richard junior and Emily, Emily’s mother.
From February to May 1922, The Shelbourne played host to its most historic meetings: the drafting of Ireland’s first Constitution. Under the chairmanship of Michael Collins, the committee met in room 112, to write the Constitution of the Irish Free State. This room is now The Constitution Suite, and contains the original table and chairs.
In February 1922, when the Irish Free State was about a month old, the provisional government held a special meeting to set the Constitution.
“The team: Mr. Michael Collins, Chairman; Mr. Darrell Figgis, Acting Chairman: Mr Hugh Kennedy, Mr. James Murnaghan, Mr James MacNeill, Professor Alfred O’Rahilly, Mr. Kevin O’Neill, Mr. John Byrne. Assistance is being given by persons who are acting in specialized capacities.”
Munster News 01 February 1922
The Constitution took about six months to complete was ratified by the Dail in October 1922. Darrell Figgis, vice-chairman, did the lions share of work on it as chief, Michael Collins was frequently absent from the committee, due to his other political commitments. Having spent so much time working on it, later that year he published a book entitled; The Irish constitution explained.