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James Larkin senior and Mary Ann McNulty bore James Larkin as their second eldest son. He was the apple of his father’s eye. He was an image of the senior James Larkin as he took up not only his name but also his character.
Saddened by the state that his family was in as they lived in slums, James Larkin decided to split his schedule and work in the afternoons after school. This was in the effort to raise something for the family.
When he was merely seven years old this arrangement of studying and working in the afternoons became a reality and part of Larkin’s life. His father worked in a firm. Even though what both brought to the table at the end of the day was not enough to shift them from the slums to a better place, the family bond remained unshakable.
James replaced him at the firm. He meant to take the old man’s mantle and fit in his shoes. However, he could not manage to do what his father did in two years and in 1893, he became jobless after being released from the firm.
Being 17 years old and unable to provide for his family, James Larkin did all the manual jobs that he could get his hands on.
A few years later, he became a sailor and then a docker. His state of living and the struggles he had gone through made him develop socialist feelings. James Larkin joined the Independent Labour Party in 1903.
1903 is the year that could never be forgotten in Larkin’s history. The reason is that this is the year when he was made a dock foreman. What can never be overlooked is the simple fact that this mere position is what came to change James Larkin’s life forever.
On September of 1903, he got married to Elizabeth Brown. Elizabeth not only brought the blessing of children into Larkin’s life but also changed his perspective on life. She gave him purpose and a will to keep fighting for the rights of workers.
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