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http://pumpascher.chaussurespaschere.infoA former Irish diplomat has fallen under the spell of a Cork woman who was even more famous than Eva Peron but who remains virtually unknown in her homeland,tods soldes.

Eliza Lynch,tods chaussures pas cher, the lover of Paraguay’s 19th century dictator, travelled across the globe to become the most celebrated and the most notorious woman of her time in South America,Converse pas cher. She was proclaimed by Congress as La Dama del Paraguay (the Lady of Paraguay) and her adopted country had her remains disinterred from a Paris cemetery and formally reburied there,chaussures puma.

Now, 115 years after her death, a former deputy secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin has embarked on a mission to piece together the extraordinary life of La Irlandesa, the official national heroine of Paraguay.

Michael Lillis,chaussures pas cher, who left the foreign service in 1989 to work for Tony Ryan’s Guinness Peat Aviation, became fascinated with Eliza when he first visited Paraguay in 1990 to lease some planes. His interest was whetted when every Paraguayan he met, from senior management at the national airline and air force generals to the President of the Republic, asked how much was known about her in Ireland. He prevaricated “such was my zeal for the deal”. But it sparked a labour of love that has already spanned a decade.

The fact was that Eliza Lynch was largely unheard of here in her native country. Michael Lillis made copious enquiries among the Irish intelligensia on his return but unearthed scant information about the woman who was the heroine of two plays, the subject of diplomatic reports to Washington, London and Paris,tod’s sac, and who took centre stage in a vast body of Spanish and Portugese literature, including biographies,pum pas cher, novels, historical studies and vituperative newspaper cartoons.

The only reference he could find was in a book entitled The World’s Wickedest Women, where she rubbed shoulders with Ulrike Meinhof,tods pas cher, Bonnie Parker,tods pas cher, Lucrezia Borgia and Tzu-hsi,tods chaussures, the Dragon Empress of China,tods Femme.

Michael Lillis once ran the Anglo-Irish section of the Department of Foreign Affairs,tods pas cher, trying to mediate an end to hostilities in Northern Ireland. He now lives in Miami where he is the managing director of General Electric’s aviation arm, GE Capital Aviation, in Latin America,tods chaussures pas cher. In his spare time, he has spent 10 years gathering material for a biography of Eliza Lynch.

But even establishing Eliza’s place of birth became a major challenge because of the dearth of records (including her birth certificate) on this side of the world,puma pas cher. So the Spanish-speaking Michael Lillis did what former diplomats are best equipped to do. He networked. By contacting various academics in each of the countries touched by Eliza’s life,chaussures puma enfant, he set up a group of amateur and professional historians,chaussures Converse.

Professor Ronan Fanning of UCD has co-ordinated the Irish and British archive and genealogical research while Dr David Kerr,tods chaussures, also of UCD,tod’s femme, has overseen the French side of the work. Other members of the group include the mayor of Paraguay’s capital city,chaussures pas cher, Asuncion, a Harvard lawyer, a Paraguayan archivist, a Brazilian professor and Comandante Rolim Amaro, the founder of South America’s most successful airline, TAM. The latter was killed in a helicopter crash last July while en route to a meeting of the group at the site of Eliza’s lover’s death.

Eliza had already been married at the age of 15 to a junior surgeon in the French navy when she met Francisco Solano Lopez in Paris. She was a sophisticated and independent 20-year-old beauty. He was on a high-level diplomatic mission to the courts of Europe, preparing to succeed his father as his country’s dictator.

While Eliza was born in Ireland in 1835 and her father, John Lynch, was a medical practitioner in Cork, she was mostly educated in France. Her mother’s family name was Lloyd and an aunt, also called Eliza, was married to Cork-born Commodore William Boyle Crook who had property in both Macroom and Boulogne-sur-Mer. Eliza’s mother, Jane, joined her sister there, moving in 1855 to a splendid address in the Rue St Honore in Paris.

When Solano Lopez met her there, Eliza Alicia Lynch was “a fashionable, highly self-confident and extraordinarily attractive young woman”. Though she would never live in the same house as him, Eliza and Solano travelled back to South America at the same time, yet separately.

She gave birth to their first child on a stop-over in Buenos Aires before making the 1,000 mile boat journey to Asuncion. There she was rejected by Paraguayan society and by her lover’s parents. It was a lonely time for Eliza, especially when the second of the couple’s six children died aged six months.

Then, in 1864, the Paraguayan War erupted, pitting the country against the combined forces of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. It was to prove disastrous for Paraguay. Within four years the male population over seven-years-old was reduced to almost zero (99% perished). The overall population shrank to one-third. Paraguay, once the most prosperous and advanced country in South America, reverted to the Stone Age. It remains the region’s least developed country today.

The war, however, was also Eliza’s opportunity. With her lover away at the front, she became the centre of political power and, on her frequent visits to the war, gained a reputation as the Lady of the Military Camps and Hospitals. She was tough and fearless, winning the admiration of the troops. But there was another side to her too.

During the war she acquired large tracts of land,And why Hollywood is also talking about Ireland swashbuckling Eliza, either through government resources or from landlords cowed by her influence over Solano. Within two years she was the single largest landowner in the country and had started to siphon off money and gold to Britain and France to be deposited in safe-keeping.

Solano, meanwhile, grew crazed after the war. Unable to accept his crushing defeat, he set up Tribunals of Death (also known as Altars of Blood) which summarily tried and executed the young sons of the country’s civil, military and religious regime, including his own nephews. It came to a squalid end when Solano, along with Eliza’s favourite son, Panchito, were lanced to death by Brazilian soldiers while crossing a stream in the mountains. Eliza, who was present but had not witnessed the killings, was given permission to bury her lover and their child in a shallow grave dug with her bare hands. That scene, which has assumed iconic proportions over the years and is described as Paraguay’s Golgotha, is depicted on Eliza’s tombstone in Asuncion.

The Corkwoman was deported after that and spent her remaining years in Europe, unsuccessfully claiming her rights through the law courts to Paraguayan land and wealth. She published a pamphlet entitled Declaration and Protest, in which she defended herself against the charges of immorality, prostitution, corruption and adultery.

When she died her reputation was that of an avaricious, malicious and manipulative woman with the lowest moral habits. For the next 80 years, a flood of books, studies and newspaper articles continued to portray her as a wicked consort to the stupid and tyrannical Solano.

A 1943 biography of Eliza hardened the memory of her as a woman of low character and paints a picture of a sad old lady in her final years. Her daughter-in-law, Maud Lloyd (no blood relation), born in London in 1855, described a woman living entirely in the past, endlessly telling the same sad tales of her Paraguayan years and the terrible details of Solano’s and Panchito’s deaths.

“She was a warm-hearted and sentimental Irish woman of the first Victorian Age, always ready to share the troubles of others,” Maud recalled. “From her Celtic background she inherited not alone an infantile optimism but also the complete absence of constructive energy.”

However, a wave of revisionism has cleansed that reputation, so much so that Eliza Lynch is, today, the official national heroine of Paraguay and Michael Lillis’ biography has attracted widespread coverage in the South American media. Publishers are already queueing up for the Spanish and Portugese rights to the book which is expected to be completed next year and there is even talk of a movie.

“Each time I travel to Paraguay,” Michael Lillis told a conference on women’s history at the University of Ulster recently, “I confess that I feel Eliza’s presence. If nothing else, Eliza was a glittering example of the considerable Irish tradition of adventuresses and adventurers.”

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