1856 - 1915
Irish monk of Myanmar
people King Thibaw U Dhammaloka
There is a the long and colourful history of relations between Myanmar and Ireland and the many Irish men and women that have played a role in Burmese affairs. Perhaps one of the most unusual was U Dhammaloka (original name unknown), who was born to a poor family in Dublin in the 1856, he migrated to the United States, made his way on the first trains across America, then traveled by steamship to Japan before winding up in Rangoon just before the overthrow of King Thibaw in Mandalay. This man with no formal education then became strangely attracted to Buddhism and during the 1890s became one of the very first Westerners to be ordained into the Sangha. He then became famous throughout first Burma then Asia as a preacher, anti-colonial activist (he was charged by the British authorities with sedition) and an impassioned anti-Christian missionary campaigner. He traveled to Siam, Singapore, Ceylon and even Australia, but Rangoon was his home for decades, until he mysteriously disappeared from sight around 1915.