Easter Rising - 1916
At four minutes past noon on Easter Monday, April 24th, 1916, a sudden hush fell over the O’Connell Street. From the steps of the General Post Office Patrick Pearse read the Proclamation of the Republic:
POBLACHT NA h-EIREANN
THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE
TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND
IRISHMAN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.
Having organized and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organization, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organizations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and, supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.
We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State. And we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.
The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irish woman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities of all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority in the past.
Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provision Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.
We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.
Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government,
THOMAS J. CLARKE
SEAN MAC DIERMADA THOMAS MACDONAGH
P.H.PEARSE EAMONN CEANNT
JAMES CONNOLLY JOSEPH PLUNKETT
When Pearse finished, the beaming Connolly took his hand and shook it vigorously. A few ragged cheers hung in the air, but the poet, Stephen McKenna, who listened to Pearse read these words, recorded later that he felt sad for him, for the response from the crowd was chilling. There were no wild hurrahs, no scenes reminiscent of the excitement which had gripped the French mob before they stormed the Bastille. The Irish simply listened and shrugged their shoulders, or sniggered a little, and then glanced round to see if the police were coming.
Nearby young insurgents were posting copies of the Proclamation, or handing them round among the crowd. One copy, weighted down with stones, was placed on the ground at the foot of Nelson Pillar so that everybody could read it.
Slowly the crowd broke up. Some strolled across to the Pillar, where they idly read the Proclamation; others just stood and stared up at the unfamiliar flags (the green flag on the left at the corner of Princes Street and the Tricolor on the right at the corner of Henry Stree) from the roof of the G.P.O. Quite a few, bored with the whole affair, simply turned and wandered away.
Part of the lack of interest came from actions that had occurred from a rift in the organization.
During Holy Week, when Eoin MacNeill got word of the Rising,
MacDiarmada with other leaders did their best to persuade MacNeill to
agree it it. Late on Holy Saturday night MacDiarmada got word of
MacNeill's Countermanding Order appearing in the "Sunday Independent"
(Note*** MacNeill did not agree with the Rising and knew that the
practice maneuvers of the Irish Volunteers planned for Easter Sunday was
a cover for an uprising. He sent messengers all over Ireland to tell
the Volunteers to do nothing on Easter Sunday, and he published a
cancellation notice in the Sunday Independent, with this action he
effectively doomed the uprising to failure***)
A conference between Pearse, Plunkett, and Dermot Lynch was called, but
Connolly, Clarke and Ceannt, couldn't be reached so the meeting was
adjourned, and they all met at Liberty Hall at 8 a.m.
All members of the Military Council were at the 2nd meeting, it lasted
till 1 am Easter Sunday. The decision was made to take action on Easter
Major Participants included:
Thomas J. Clarke
Joseph Mary Plunkett
Thomas J. Clarke
Thomas James Clarke (1857-1916) was the eldest to be executed.
He was born in Hurst Castle, on the Isle of
Wight of Irish parents. The family emigrated to South Africa, where he
spent his childhood until age 10. They then settled in Dungannon, Co.
Tyrone. He went to the USA at twenty one where he joined the Clan na
Gael, the American wing of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). After
being sent to England on a dynamiting mission in 1883, he was arrested
and sentenced to penal servitude for life but was released in 1898. He
returned to Ireland and was made a freeman of the city of Limerick.
Unable to get work in Ireland, he emigrated to the USA again in 1899 and
married Kathleen Daly (1878-1972) and became an American citizen at
Brooklyn 2 Nov 1905. He returned to Ireland in 1907 and opened a
tobacconist’s and newsagent's shop at 75A Great Britain Street (now
Parnell Street) that was a center of the IRB organization for the next
decade. He published Irish Freedom, a militant anti-English journal in
1910 with Sean Mac Diarmada as manager. He organized a pilgrimage to Wolfe
Tone’s grave at Bodenstown, Co. Kildare, as a counter to a royal visit
of the new king of England, George V in 1912. He was elected to the IRB
Supreme Council and urged the setting up of a Military Council in 1915
to plan a rising. He served in the General Post Office and, at the
request of the other leaders, was the first to sign the Proclamation of
the Republic. He was executed 3 May 1916.
"Sean MacDiarmada was one of the greatest of the Easter Week leaders.
He was not a writer, though he did manage a newspaper. He was so quiet
and unasssuming that he tends to be forgotten. Yet he was one of the
greatest Irishmen that ever lived.
MacDiarmada was Tom Clarke's close friend. Clarke had completed one of
his 15 years.... in English jails when Sean MacDiarmada was born in
Kiltyclogher, Co. Leitrim, in the year 1884. Like Clarke, he ran away
from home when he was only a boy - just 15. He arrived in Glasgow in
search of employment with only a few shillings in his pocket, and was
lucky to have an uncle living in that city.
His uncle was a gardener and for a time Sean worked with him, but gave
up gardening to become a conductor on the Glasgow trams. Here he worked
for 12 months, and stayed altogether 2 years in Glasgow.
Then he returned to Ireland and went to Belfast, where he worked for a
time as a tram conductor, and later as a barman. In Belfast he joined
the Ancient Order of Hibernians closely associated with the Irish
Parliamentary Party. The AOH were considered as the custodians of Irish
nationalism, but MacDiarmada did not remain long a member of the Order.
Soon after settling in Belfast he joined the local branch of the Gaelic
League and became a fine Irish speaker. It was in the Gaelic League
that he came into contact with such men as Denis MacCullagh, Sean
MacGarry and Bulmer Hobson, who were then leading the secret Republican
organisations, the IRB, and working through an open polical organisation
called Cumann na nGael, an advanced policial movement which advocated
Mac Diarmada's personal charm and sincerity, and his capacity for hard
work, made him the obvious choice of the IRB to organise a further
extension of republican formations, when they launched the Dungannon
clubs about the beginning of the present century.
His success as organiser resulted in an invitation to join the Belfast
Circle of the Irish Republican Brotherbood. This was in 1906, 10 years
before the Rising. When he took the IRB oath he was already a member of
Arthur Griffith's Sin Fein organisation, and in 1906 was one of the
delegates from Belfast to the Sinn Fein annual convention in Dublin.
Sean MacDiarmada was a member of the secret military Council which
planned the rising and, as such, held a position of great importance and
At that time he was only 22, but his speech at the convention made a
deep impression. He is described as a "striking handsome, and earnest,
speaking with natural eloquence and with a sincerity which held his
audience, gay and light-hearted with a gift of telling a humorous story
and a tongue that was witty without being malicisous."
Mac Diarmada's association with Sinn Fein did not last very long, as his
main concern was to spread the IRB throughout the country; but it lasted
long enough for him to take part in the first parliamentary election at
which a Sinn Fein candidate stood.
That was in North Leitrim, his native county. The year was 1907.
MacDiarmada put in many months of strenuous week-end campaining; indeed
the whole direction of the campaign devolved upon him. Day and night he
canvassed from door to t door, and mile after mile he trudged across the
Leitrim mountains in all kinds of weather.
The Sinn Fein candidate was CHARLES DOLAN, who only died recently and
one of the speakers on the Sinn Fein platform during that election was
MISS ANNA PARNELL, sister of CHARLES STEWART PARNELL. She and Sean
MacDiarmada addressed many meetings together advocating the new idea
that 'the elected representatives should not attend the British
Parliament at Westminster.'
The result of the election was a complete defeat for DOLAN, the Sinn
Fein candidate. Sin Fein's day had not yet come. It took 1916 to
awaken the people and when Count Plunkett was elected as Sinn Fein M.P.
for Roscommon in 1917, Sean MacDiarmada was in his quicklime grave at
But the seeds he had sown in Leitrim in those early days had borne
fruit, and his death bore testimony to Pearse's famous :'Life springs
from death, and from the graves of patriot men and women spring living
The hardships he endured during the Leitrim elections campaign brought
on the attack of polio (in 1912) from which he recovered, but which left
him lame for the rest of his life. After rising from a sick bed where
he had been for nearly nine months, MacDiarmada always carried a stick
to help him to walk. He carried this stick into the G.P.O. on Easter
Sean MacDiarmada fought in the G.P.O., where he was attached to the
headquarters staff under James Connolly. It was Sean MacDiarmada that
read Padraig Pearse's letter of surrender to those in the G.P.O.
After the surrender The G.P.O. garrison was huddled together on the
grass patch outside the Rotunda Hospital, surrounded by a ring of
Some of them were to face the firing squad, others to cross the sea to
foreign prisons, others to fight again on the hillsdies with the flying
columns of 1920-21. Men in civiliam clothes darted in and out throught
the huddled groups, spying and spotting.
Suddenly one of them would stop in front of a row of men, and say "Take
him". The British would take another prisoner, and the prisoners thus
taken were marked for the execution squad. The British did not know the
leaders. Their Irish detectives did.
One of the prisoners sitting on the grass patch was MacDiarmada, early
that day he had been insulted by a sneering Bristich officer who
remarked: "Do the Sinn Feiners take cripples in their army?"
Towards evening the spotters returned. This time they picked out the
man with the stick. It was late at night when they picked him out; a
detective put his hand
on MacDiarmada's shoulder, he knew him and knew his position in the
movement. He remarked to the officer - "the most dangerous man after
Sean MacDiarmada was executed on May 12, 1916, the same day as James
Connolly. They were the last two to face the firing squad.
What of the "detective"? The men who came back from the British
internment camps to reorganise the IRB and to put the IRA flying columns
on the hillsides were led by one of MacDiarmada's greatest friends,
MICHAEL COLLINS. At the height of the Tan war in 1920 the active
service unit of the Dublin Brigade shot this detective.
Sean MacDiarmada was a transport worker, a tram man, and to perpetuate
his memory the bus depot at Store Street, Dublin was named after him -
Arus Mac Diarmada.
Thomas MacDonagh (1878-1916): born in County Tipperary; educated at Rockwell College and University College, Dublin; joined the Gaelic League, 1901; assisted Pearse in the foundation of St. Enda’s, 1908; When the Dawn is Come, produced at the Abbey, 1908 and Metempsychosis, by the Theatre of Ireland, 1912; Assistant Lecturer at University College, Dublin, 1911; co-founded the Irish Review, 1911, and the Itish Theatre, 1914; founder member of the Irish Volunteers, 1913, and its Director of Training, 1914; organized the O’Donovan Rossa funeral, 1915; signatory to the Proclamation; executed Kilmainham, 3 May 1916. Poeticl Works and Literature in Ireland appeared posthumously, 1916.
Thomas MacDonagh was born at Cloughjordan, County Tipperary, 1878. His
father was from Roscommon and his mother from Dublin. His parents were
teachers. He inherited his love of music from his mother and his love
of Ireland from his father.
He came from a large family of which four sons became famous -
- Thomas - poet, plarywright, teacher, soldier and signatory of the 1916
Proclamation proclaiming an Irish Republic.
- Joseph - Sinn Fein T.D. from 1918 till the Treaty an dDiector of the
Belfast Boycott in 1920
- John - playwright who fought in Jacob's factory with his brother, he
later became Productions Diector of Rdio Eireann
- Terrence- the youngest became a musician in England
Thomas studied to be a priest at Rockwell College, Cashel. Realizing
that was not for him, he left for France turning to the teaching
profession. He taught Latin, English and French at Colman's College in
"Above all things MacDonagh hated prejudice or bigotry. When people
sneered at the Irish language, and at the attempts to revive it, their
sneers had the effect of making Thomas MacDonagh learn it." He went
on to become a well known Gaelic scholar.
As Pearse did, MacDonagh also went to the west of Ireland to learn
Gaelic among the native speakers. He visited the Aran Islands each
year. Because of his easy manner, and great wit he made many friends in
the Aran Islands. He had a good singing voice and enjoyed singing French
folk songs and Irish traditional ballads. His love of Irish traditional
ballads was carried on by his son Donagh who is a well know
singerm,(also district justice and author)
MacDonagh was known in the Aran Islands as "Fear an Rothar" the man with
the bicycle. He was the first person to bring a bike to the Aran
Islands. It was in the Aran Islands that Pearse and MacDonagh met.
MacDonagh taught at St. Enda's School (Pearse's bilingual school). He
lived in the gatehouse attached to his friend Professor David Hueston.
His home was popular with poets and writers of the time - padraic Colum,
James Stephens, Joseph Plunkett, Seamus 0'Sullivan, Yeats, George
Russell (A.E.) and James Joyce.
He edited the Irish Review with Joseph Plunkett and helped found the
Edward Martyn Irish Theater in 1914.
Thomas MacDonagh commanded the garrison at Jacob's Biscuit Factory and
all the forces in Stephens Green, the College of Surgeon's and Harcourt
Street Station. His second in command was Michael Mallin, and one of
his chief operation officers was the Countess Markievicz, who operated
from the College of Surgeions with Mallin.
He was married to Muriel Gifford and they had two children Barbara and
Donagh. Muriel was was tragically drowned a few months after his
His sister-in-law married Joseph Plunkett just minutes before Plunkett
When MacDonagh laid down his arms at the time of surrender, he said he
"would give anything to see Muriel once more". When somebody offered to
go for Muriel, he declined, not wanting his wife to see and remember
what the area looked like during defeat.
He was executed at 3:30 am May 3. His wife had not been able to reach
him, but his sister, a nun was able to see him shortly before his death.
When his sister entered the cell and saw that was no water, she asked
the guard for some water, the guard, acting under orders refused the
request. His sister gave him a rosary that had belonged to their
mother, she said she wished that after his death that they would return
the rosary to her. As MacDonagh put the rosary around his neck he said
no, "they will shoot it to bits" . Only four beads were shot away, and
his sister did eventually receive the rosary.
In his final letter to his wife written a few hours before his death he
said" I am ready to die, and I thank God that I am to die in so a holy a
cause. My country will reward my deed richly. I counted the cost of
this, and I am ready to pay it."
Padraic H. Pearse
Patrick Henry Pearse, (Padraic Mac Piarais, as he signed
his name) the Commander in chief of all the Republican forces in the
field during Easter Week, wrote the Proclamation of the Irish
Republic that he read from the steps of the G.P.O on Easter Monday. He
was elected President of the Provisional Government of Ireland.
Without Patrick Pearse and James Connolly..."it is doubtful whether
there would have been an insurrection at all, and without them most
certainly, the insurrection in defeat would not have made so terrific and
revolutionary an impact on the popular imagination. Pearse had
travelled the road to insurrection through his Gaelic idealism. He had
been the educationalist of the Gaeilic League. He became the orator of
the Irish Volunteer movement, an orator of ultimate revolution, and his
power of gripping the rank and file of the Volunteers was due to his
mastery of the language, his sincerity, his personality, his fire.
He joined the I.R.B. in 1913, 5 months before the Irish Volunteers
began. Until then he had been very critical of secret organisations and
that one particularly. He regarded himself, with some justice, as a
more dangerous revolutionary than most other men in Irland, inside or
out of any organization. What he really sought, as his writings are
evidence, was an armed popular and disciplined movement with a more
persuasive popular propaganda than that prevailing in the somewhat arid
and circumscribed circles of both Sinn Fein and the I.R.b. What he
really wanted he found, like his friend and colleage, Thomas MacDoangh
in the Irsih Volunteer movement. Pearse had the power of the enkindling
word. He could persuade, convince, inspire."
From THE RISING by Desmond Ryan
"Padraic Pearse was born on November 10, 1879 at 27 Brunswick Street,
today Pearse Street. From the baptismal records the family name was then
spelled Pierce. His father was James Pearse, a native of Devonshire, that
southern English county where the Celts of Britain are still
unabsorbed. He settled in Dublin and was a sculptor. His mother was
Margaret Brady Pearse. Margaret Brady was the second wife of James
Pearse." From the Life of Pearse by Desmond Ryan
Pearse's "biography may be summed up as the accomplishment of the three
wishes he often expressed before even Sir Edward Carson dreamed of arms:
To edit a bilingual paper, to found a bilingual secondary school, to
start a revolution. ...the only tragedy in
P.H. Pearse's case was the resolute and enthusiastic pursuit of a
Remarkably few faults marred his character. ....as one may write who
saw him in his own home, in every mood and vicissitude, as a teacher, a
writer, a propagandist, a captain, he was a perfect man, whose faults
were the mere defects of his straight and rigid virtures.
"Pearse, like Tone, Lalor and Mitchel, belongs to the people. He was a
social revolutionary as well as a national revolutionary, and never made
any apology for being so.
Pearse and Connolly should not be separated for they wre complementary
to each other, and on the day on which they signed the Easter Week
Proclamation, their aims and objects were identical.
Pearse, it is true, came to the Republican Movement along a different
road to that of Connolly. It is also true to say that like Tone,
Pearse was not always a Revolutionary, a separatist, a Republican.
At the beginning he was just interested in the revival of the Irish
language and in bringing back to Ireland her ancient culture and
civilisation. He sought to do this through the Gaelic League, and
through the foundation of St. Enda's College, which was an unique
experiment in the educational field, because it was founded and conducted
on the ancient traditions of the Gaelic schools of learning.
The attitude of its headmaster to the pupils was different to the
attitude of other schools: the master looked upon his pupils as charges
to be developed intellectually and told how to live, rather than as mere
robots to be prepared for examination. Pearse tried to impart knowledge
to his pupils, rather than to cram them with "Information".
Like Tone, also, on whom he seemed to model himself in many things,
Padraic Pearse began his political career as a reformer rather than as a
In 1912, he stood on a Home Rule platform in O'Connell St. with John
Redmond, and at this period of his career he was quite prepared to
accept Dominion Home Rule as a settlement of the Irish question. Home
Rule, of course, meant the inclusion of Ireland within the framework of
the British Empire, having a local Parliament in Dublin to adminster
local affairs but leaving such itmes as defence, finance and the Post
Office under the control of the Imperial Parliamnet.
Pearse the man who had written
"The Singer, and the Sovereign People", the author of the Separatist
Idea" the Pearse who had spoken over the grave of O'Donovan Rossa, and
had there given testimony to the rebirth of the Fenian faith in a new
generation...that Pearse was the Pearse whom Connolly and Clarke knew
and loved, and with whom they collaborated to bring about the Easter
He was educated at the Christian Brother's Schools, Westland Row, and at
the old Royal University, where he took his B.A. and B.L. degrees. He
only once practiced as a barrister, and that was when he defended a
client who was prosecuted for having his name in Irish on his cart. The
case was lost.
In 1895 Pearse joined the Gaelic League. About this time he had
published several poems and essays in Irish, for even before he joined
the League his Irish was perfect. He had gone regularly to the
Gaeltacht for the purpose of acquiring a knowledge of the native tongue,
and of the civilisation which it had once inspired.
In 1906 he was appointed editor of Cladheamh Soluis, official organ of
the Gaelic League. From then until the end of 1913 when he became a
member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, he devoted most of his time
and energy to promoting the cause of the Irish language, and to looking
after the schools which he founded - St. Ednda's and St. Ita's (he had
also founded a bilingual school for girls).
From the day he joined the I.R.B. in Clarke's shop on Parnell St, Pearse
could no longer be considered a moderate in the political sense.
Pearse's political development was almost complete at this stage, but
not quite, it took the 1913 strike to awaken him to a full realization
of the fact that the workers struggle for social justice was part of the
nation's struggle for independence.
Padraic Pearse was one of the very few Irish intellectuals of the period
who, during the great social upheaval of 1913, came out on the side of
the working class. This side of Pearse is sometimes forgotten by people
who wish to put a halo around his head, but who also wish to darken the
light that shone from his brilliant mind on the question of social
...."No class in the nation has rights superior to those of any other
class. No class in the nation is entitled to privileges beyond any
other except with the consent of the nation. The right and privilege to
make laws or to administer laws does not reside in any class within the
nation; it resides in the whole nation, that is, in the whole people,
and can be lawfully exercised only by those to whom it is delegated, by
the whole people.
...Let no man doubt who will be master in Ireland when Ireland is free.
The people will be masters, the great, splendid common, sovereighn
people." When the Proclamation of Easter Week came to be written,
Pearse's ideals (and Connolly's which coincided to such a large degree)
were written into the document. The "Sovereign People" was Pearse's last
will and testament. He had achieved very mcuh more than the writing of
this famous document before he took the final step.
The foundation of St. Enda's was part of the preparation for the Irish
revolution, because, by this act, Pearse set out to show that a
revolution in our educational system was a necessity if any national
revolution was to be a success. That his pupils loved him there can be
no doubt, for very many of them folowed him into the G.P.O. on Easter
One of Pearse's most famous speeches was his eulogy at the funeral of
O'Donnovan Rossa who died in 1915.
"They think they have forseen everything, but the fools! the fools! the
fools! they have left us our Fenian dead; and while Ireland holds these
graves Ireland unfree shall never be at peace."
Pearse was the first to be singled out for execution, he was not allowed
to see his mother or brother before he was executed on May 3, 1916. In
his jail cell he wrote his famous poem 'Mother'.
Padraic Pearse now looms as large in Irish history as Wolfe Tone,
without overshadowing Tone on whom he had modelled himself to such an
extent. Indeed, if one believed in incarnation, one might be inclined
to think that Tone had come back in the person of Pearse. Pearse
solidified and brought to fruition the Republic which Tone's brain had
conceived. That was his great deed and because of it, the Irish nation
will always remember and link the names of Pearse and Tone."
Eamon Ceannt (1881-1916): born in County Galway; son of a Royal Irish Constabulary officer; Clerk of the Dublin Corporation; joined the Gaelic League, 1900, becoming a member of its governing body; led Irish athletes to Rome for the jubilee of Pius X; joined Sinn Feinn, 1908; founded Dublin Pipers’ Club, 1910; joined the IRB and a founding member of the Irish Volunteers, 1913; involved in Howth gun-running, 1914; member of the IRB Supreme Council and its Military Committee, 1915; signatory to the Proclamation; executed Kilmainham, 8 May 1916.
From another source:
Eamonn Ceannt was born on September 21, 1881, in Ballymoe, County
Galway. He was 10 when his family moved to Dublin. He attended the
Christian Brothers School on North Richmond Street. At O'Connells School
he was known as one of its most brilliant students. When he graduated
from University College he went to work in the Rates Department and
later was promoted to the City Treasury Office.
He was a member of the Gaelic League and and had extensive knowledge of
Gaeilge and its literature.
He was quite a musician. He attended the Jubilee Celebrations held in
Rome in 1908, in honor of Pope Pius X. As the Irish atheletes marched
into the Roman arena to compete in the Celebrations, they were led by
Eamonn Ceannt who looked quite regal playing his pipes and dressed in an
11th century Irish costume with kilts. He was 6 feet tall so presented
quite a dramatic image. He played to a cheering crowd, making such a
sensation that the Pope heard of his performance and summoned him for a
papal appearance. When Ceannt appeared before the pope, the pope was
surrounded by a group of elderly Irish priests that had been long exiled
from their native land. Ceannt marched up to the pope playing "Wearing
of the Green". The pope was surprised that the "wild music of the pipes
moved the old Irish priests to such a state of emotion that many of them
burst into tears. After the performance the Pope bestowed his
Apolstolic Blessing on the piper, and on the members of the Irish
athletic team." (1)
In November 1913 Eamonn Ceannt joined the Irish Volunteers, he quickly
rose in their ranks. He led his men of the 4th Dublin Battalion to Howth
for the famous gund Running manoeuvre. He was also present a week later
when the Volunteers landed a 2nd consignment of guns at Kilcoole, County
During Easter Week he was in charge of the garrison in the South Dublin
Union. His second in command was Cathal Brugha.
On Thursday of Easter Week, there was some confusion and after many
hours of heavy bombardment a mistaken order to retreat was circulated
among the troops. Brugha was badly wounded and lay unable to leave.
Ceannt was mistakenly told that Brugha was dead. Brugha weak from loss
of blood continue to fire upon the enemy and then suddenly the
Volunteers heard the voice of Brugha singing "God Save Ireland".
In one of the most dramatic scenes of Easter Week, Eamonn Ceannt"crept
on bended knees to the side of this comrade. He found him lying in a
pool of his own blood. The two men embraced and Cathal said "Let us
sing 'God Save Ireland', Eamonn. Then he collapsed. But he had held up
the enemy's advance for 4 hours."
A newspaper report of Ceannt's surrender noted that he was "noble,
almost magnificent. Even the officers and soldiers in command of the
captured rebels looked on in wonder". (2)
On Sunday, he was informed at 4 p.m. that he was to be shot at 3:45 a.m.
the following morning. He requested writing materials and to see his
family. The following is his letter to his wife.
"My dearest wife Aine, - Not wife, but widow before these lines reach
you. I am here without hope of this world, and without fear, calmly
awaiting the end. I have had Holy Communion, and Fr. Augustine has been
with me, and will be back again. Dearest 'silly little Fanny!'my poor
little sweetheart of how many years now? Ever my comforter, God comfort
you now. What can I say? I die a noble death for Ireland's freedom. Men
and women will vie with one another to shake your dear hand. Be proud of
me, as I am and ever was of you. My cold exterior was but a mask. It
has served me in these last days. you have a duty to me and to Ronan
(their 10 year old son) - that is to live. My dying wishes are that you
remember your state of heatlh. Work only as much as may be necessary,
and freely accept the little attentions which in due course will be
showered upon you.
You will be, you are, the wife of one of the leaders of the
Revolution'. Sweeter still, you are my little child, my dearest pet,
my sweetheart, of the hawthorn hedges, and summer eves. I remember all,
and I banish all, so that I may die bravely. I have but one hour to
live; then God's judgement, and through His infinite mercy, a place near
your poor Grannie and my father and mother, and all the fine old Irish
who went through the scourge of similar misfortune form this vale of
tears into the Promised Land. Biodh misneach agat a stoirin mo chroidhe.
Tog do cheann agus mo chroidhe. Tog do cheann agus biodh foighne agat
go bfeicimid a cheile aris i bfaitis De Tusa and mise agus Ronan beag
boct. - Adieu, Eamonn
Have courage the love of my heart. Take your head and my heart and have
hope that we will be together again in the vision (kingdom or joy) of
God.Poor you, and me and poor little Ronan.
He also wrote a letter to his son and his fellow countrymen.
On Monday morning, May 8, 1916 Eamonn Ceannt, Michael Mallin, J.J.
Heuston and Cornelius Colbert were shot.
James Connolly (1868-1916): born in Edinburgh of Irish parents; self-educated; joined the army at fourteen; probably deserted, 1889; founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party, 1896, and the Workers’ Republic, 1898; in America, 1902-10; founded the Irish Socialist Federation in New York, published the Harp and active in International Workers of the World; Ulster organizer of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, 1910; led the workers, after Larkin’s imprisonment, in the 1913 lock-out; acting Secretary of the Irish
Transport and General Workers’ Union, 1914; organized the Irish Citizens Army, 1914; committed the Irish Labour movement against the Allies, 1914; military commander of the Republican forces in Dublin, 1916; signatory of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, inspiring its more socialistic clasues; executed Kilmainham, 12 May 1916. Wrote Erin’s Hope, 1897; Labour in Irish History and Labour, Nationality and Religion, 1910; The Reconquest of Ireland, 1915.
From another source:
James Connolly, member of the Provisional Government of Ireland and one
of 7 signatories on the Proclamation.
He was born in County Monaghan in 1870. His parents emigrated to
Edinburgh, where he became a wage earner at the age of 11. He educated
himself by reading extensively. After he married, he returned to
Ireland as a Socialist organizer. He edited the the first Irish
Socialist paper, The Worker's Republic. He spent 1903-1910 in America
organizing workers. When James Larkin, the Irish trade union pioneer,
left Dublin for America in 1914, Connolly inherited both the irish
Transport and General Worker's Union and the infant Citizens Army. which
marched under the banner of the Stars and Plough. He was a staunch
believer in women's rights and he would not tolerate any distinction, he
even chose Countess Constance Markievicz,to be one of his army
commanders, she was a a friend of W.B. Yeats.
While living in Belfast, Connolly helped the women workers. The owners
of the Belfast mills had imposed a "rule of silence" on all the
employees. "Connolly instructed the mill girls that when they were
forbidden to talk while at the looms they were to break out in song and
to continue singing. The girls took his advice and proved that by
cooperation, and determination they could win their rights to decent
conditions,end the petty tyrannies to which they were daily subjected".
Taken from the Glorious Seven.
The words of the Proclamation which "Guarantee equal rights and equal
opportunities to all citizens, civil and religious liberty" can be
traced directly to the influence of Connolly.
James Connolly was severely wounded while fighting in the G.P.O. He was
commander in chief of the Dublin forces. He was wounded twice, but yet
still was concerned with cheering the depressed and he "praised the
bold". He lay in a bed, but that did not stop him.
Before the rising he knew they were doomed to failure and had once
remarked that they were all going to be "slaughtered".
He was so seriously wounded that when he was executed on May 12, with
Sean MacDiarmada he had to be strapped into a chair.
Joseph Mary Plunkett
Joseph Mary Plunkett (1887-1916): born in Dublin; son of George Noble Count Plunkett; The Circle and the Sword (verse), 1911; edited the Irish Review, 1913-14; joined the IRB; Director of Operations of the Irish Volunteers, 1913; co-founded the Irish Theatre, 1914; helped Casement in attempts to secure German aid for a rising and reported to Clan na Gael on the progress of revolutionary preparations, 1915; member of the IRB Supreme Council and its Military Committee, and signatory to the Proclamation, 1916; married Grace Gifford, the artist, in Kilmainham on the eve of his execution, 4 May 1916. Collected Poems were published posthumously.
Constance Markievicz (nee Gore-Booth; 1868-1927); born in London, educated privately, the Slade and Paris; married Count Casimir Markievicz, 1900; joined Sinn Fein, although impatient of Griffith’s pacifism; launched Fianna Eireann, 1909; joined Inghinidhe na hEireann, wrote A Call to the Women of Ireland and contributed to Bean na hEireann; became an officer of the Irish Citizen Army, prompting the resignation of Sean O’Casey; active in the Easter Rising, a death sentence being commuted because of her sex; President of Cumann na mBan, 1917, converted to Catholicism; Sinn Fein MP for St Patrick’s Dublin, 1918, thereby being the first woman to be elected to the Commons, but did not take her seat; Minister for Labour in the Cabinet of the first Dail Eireann while imprisoned, 1919-21; Minister for Labor in the second Dail; denounced the Treaty as a capitalist ploy; supported the republicans in the civil war, 1923-4; Sinn Fein abstentionist TD for South Dublin, 1923-7.
Roger Casement (1864-1916): born in County Dublin; entered the British consular service, 1892; joined the Gaelic League, 1904; contributed to the nationalist press as "Sean Bhean Bhocht"; earned an international reputation for his reports on human rights violations in Africa and south America; knighted, 1911; retired and joined the Irish Volunteers, 1913; attempted to secure German aid for the Irish struggle and to raise an Irish Brigade from prisoners of war in Berlin, 1914; captured upon returning to Ireland to deter the rising, 21 april 1916; sentenced to death, 19 June 1`916; a reprieve being sought, the government allowed the "Black Diaries", revealing his homosexuality, be circulated, thereby turning public opinion against him. Hanged, having been received in the Roman Catholic Church, 3 Aug 1916. His remains were returned to Ireland and reinterred at Glasnevin, 1965.
John MacBride (1865-1916): born in County Mayo; studied medicine, undertook an IRB mission to the USA, 1896; emigrated to South Africa; organized the 1798 centenary celebration there; joined an Irish Brigade to fight for the Boers, 1899; settled in Paris, where he married Maude Gonne, 1903; member of the Supreme Council of the IRB, but was not involved in the planning of the Easter Rising; served in it under MacDonagh; executed 5 May 1916.
Helena Molony (1884-1967): inspired by Maude Gonne to join Inghinidhe na hEirann, 1903; edited Bean na hEireann, 1908; assisted Constance Markievicz in the foundation of Fianna Eireann, 1909; joined the Abbey Theatre players, 1909-20; arrested for taking part in Sinn Fein protests against the 1911 royal visit; Secretary of the Irish Women Workers’ Union, 1915; joined the Irish Citizen Army and took part in the attack upon Dublin Castle, Easter, 1916; imprisoned May-December 1916; opposed the Treaty, 1922; executive member of Saor Eire, 1931. As President of the Irish Trades Union Congress, 1922-3, embodied the Connolly tradition that she had played a part in creating.
Hanna Sheehy (-Skeffington) (1877-1946): born in County Tipperary; educated Royal University; founded Women’s Graduate Association, 1901; married Francis Skeffington, who took her names as she took his, 1903, and co-founded the Irish Women’s Franchise League with him, 1908, becoming its first Secretary; joined the Socialist Party of Ireland; imprisoned for rioting upon the exclusion of votes for women from the 1912 Home Rule Bill; messenger to the GPO, Easter, 1916; refused 10,000 pounds compensation upon the murder of her husband, 1916; visited the USA, and interviewed President Wilson, 1916-18; imprisoned on her reutrn, but released upon commencing a hunger strike; rejected the Treaty; judge of the Dail courts; member of the first executive of Fianna Fail, 1926; Assistant Editor of An Phoblacht, 1932; imprisoned, 1933; founded the Women’s Social and Progressive League, 1938.
William (Willie)James Pearse born November 15,1881 at 27 Great
Brunswick Street, Dublin, he was the younger brother of Patrick Pearse.
The brothers were inseparable. Willie idolized his older brother. When
Willie was a young boy would follow his history lessons while imagining
his brother Patrick as the heroes he was learning about. "He saw him as
a bodyguard of Owen Roe and Phelim O'Neil, dreamed of him as the
intimate companion of Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet. Hhe thought of
himself beside Padraig in a national uprising, dying with him on the
barricades or on the scaffold, or if not in a tomb bearing an eloqent
epitaph, he saw him buried in the quicklime pit of the felon; for him no
humdrum and respectable funeral or interment in the family vault. He
could not see his brother weeping after the Flight of the Earls as he
shared their exile. No, on foreign soil a Fenian does not weep; he
organises like Tone against the conquerors of his country, like Tone he
returns to die in Ireland, or like the Fenians he returns to rouse
unconquered spirits and foment revoluion against the enemies of his
How tragically prophetic Willie's childhood imaginations were.
William inherited his father's artistic abilities and became a sculptor.
He was educated at the Christian Brothers School, Westland Row. He
studied at the Metropolitan Shcool of Art in Dublin under Oliver
Sheppard. He also studied art in Paris. While attending the Kensington
School of Art he gained notice for several of his artworks.
Some of his sculptures were to be found in:
St. Eunan's, Letterkenny and several Dublin churches including Terenure
His well known figure of "The Mater Dolorosa" in Mortuary Chapel, St.
Andrews Westland row appears a tragic and prophetic masterpiece.
Throughout the countryside you may find his sculptures of the Dead
Christ and the Immaculate Conception.
The O'Mulrennan Memorial in Glasnevin and a memorial to Father Murphy
in Wexford are also his works.
He was also an actor and stage manager. Among the places he performed
were the Abbey Theater, Dublin School of Art, and once in Dr. Douglas
Hyde's Casadh an tSugain. William must receive a large part of the
credit for the costumes and production of plays at Sgoil Eanna (St.
Enda's). Up until 1911 Williams main position at Sgoil Eanna was Art and
Drawing Master, in 1913 he became a regular member of the staff. And
from 1914 he was in reality the assistant head master of the school,
while his brother Padraig's time was taken up more and more with the
After his father's death he took over the studio business.
He was an ardent student of Gaelic. He would attend Gaelic festivals
wearing Gaelic costumes.
During Easter Week, WIlliam Pearse was a captain on the G.P.O.
Headquarters staff. He was most proud when people referred to the
"Brothers Pearse". Padraig affectionately nicknamed him as a young
child "Little Man" and the nickname stuck.
"..he remained an active but stoical figure until fire forced the
Volunteers to evacuate the doomed and collasping building." He was
separated from his brother after the surrender at 16 Moore Street. He
bore himself with dignity before his court-martial. He was executed
exactly 24 hours after his brother. He was never to see his brother
again after the surrender.
He told his mother and sister that the a guard told him that he was beig
taken to see his brother, but as they approached the prison yard a
volley of gun fire was heard, another guard came and told them they were
too late. The gun fire they had heard was the firing squad that shot
Padraig Pearse, Tom Clarke and Thomas MacDonagh. Another report of the
incident is probably more correct, taken from British records. The other
report is that Willie Pearse was being taken to the firing squad to join
his brother, but they were too late, and returned him to his cell until
the next day.
On Easter Sunday Mrs. Pearse asked her son Padraig to write a poem for
her as if she was speaking. Padraig Pearse wrote the poem just hours
before his death and it is about the "Brothers Pearse".
I do not grudge them; Lord, I do not grudge
My two strong sons that I have seen go out
To break their strength and die, they and a few,
In bloody protest for a glorious thing,
They shall be spoken of amoung their people,
The generation shall remember them,
And call them Blessed:
But I will speak their names to my own heart
In the long nights;
The little names that were familiar once
Round my dead hearth.
Lord,thou art hard on mothers;
We suffer in their coming and their going;
And tho' I grudge them not, I weary, weary
Of the long sorrow - And yet I have my joy;
My sons were faithful, and they fought.
William James Pearse was shot on May 4, 1916 with Joseph Plunkett,
Edward Daly, and Michael O'Hanrahan.
Edward Daly was born in 1891. In one reference it referred to him as Tom
Clarke's brother-in-law, brother of Kathleen Daly Clarke. Although it
was difficult to find biographical information about Edward Daly, in the
books about the Easter Uprising of 1916 he played a very prominent role
as Commandant of the Four Courts. He led his men in a battle that was
mostly responsible for prolonging the life of the Uprising, his men
"demoralised the British troops sent to break them, and made Maxwell's
efforts to strangle the rising ...his cordons a bloody and costly
When he had gathered the men under his command on Easter Monday, he said
" Men of the First Battalion, I want you to listen to me for a few
minutes, and no applause must follow my stament. Today at noon, an
Irish Republic will be declared, and the Flag of the Repulic hoisted. I
look to every man to do his duty, with courage and discipline. The
Irish Volunteers are now the Irish Republcian Army. Communciation with
our other posts in the city may be precarious, and in less than an hour
we may be in action."
He was remembered by his men standing before them as a slight spare
figure in his grey green uniform, dark eyes alight, while his fingers
tapped the gun at his side.
A Dictionary of Irish Biography states:
"Edward Daly was born Frederick Street, Limerick, 25 Feb 1891 and
educated at the Limerick Christian Brothers College (CBC). He came from
a noted Republican family: his father had taken part in the Fenian
Rising of 1867, his uncle Joe Daly had served twelve years in English
jails, and his sister married Thomas Clarke.
He worked in a local bakery, then as a clerk moved to Dublin in 1912 to
work with the wholesale chemists May Roberts. He joined the Irish
Volunteers in 1913 and commanded the Four Courts garrison in 1916.
He was court-martialled, sentenced to death and shot in Kilmainham Jail
4 May 1916."
Michael Mallin was a member of the Citizens Army with James Connolly. He
was a silk weaver. He, along with Countess Markievicz, were in control
of the main body of the Citizens Army in St. Stephen's Green.
He was described by one person as small, quiet and both efficient and
possessed of a deep and thoughtful judgement.
Michael Mallin and Countess Markievicz marched out of the College of
Surgeons together and surrendered to Captain Wheeler.
Michael Mallin was shot on May 8.
Michael O’Hanrahan was born in New Ross, Co. Wexford, 17 March 1877. The
family moved to Carlow and he was educated at Carlow Christian Brothers
College (CBC) and Carlow College Academy. He went to Dublin and became a
free lance journalist and Irish reader at the Clo Cumann printing works.
He wrote two novels, A Swordsman of the Brigade (1914) and When the
Normans Came published posthumously in 1919.
His father was a Fenian who had taken part in the 1867 Rising. He joined
the Irish Volunteers on their formation in 1913 and was also active in
the Gaelic League. Later he became quarter master of the Volunteers and
a full-time member of the headquarters staff. In the 1916 Easter Rising
he fought in Jacob’s factory, Bishop Street for which he was
court-martialled, sentenced to death, and executed 4 May 1916.
Cornelius (Conn) Colbert was born Monaleen, Co. Limerick in 1888 and educated at
North Richmond Street Christian Brothers College (CBC) after the family
moved to Dublin. He worked in Kennedy’s bakery, Parnell Street. Soon he
became interested in Irish independence and speaking Irish. He joined
Fainna Eireann on its formation by Countess Markievicz in 1909 and later
joined the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB).
In the 1916 Rising he commanded the garrison at Watkin’s brewery, Ardee
Street, moving to Jameson’s distillery as the fighting increased for
which he was court martialled, sentenced to death, and shot in
Kilmainham Jail 8 May 1916.
Sean Heuston commanded the Volunteers at the Mendicity Institution. On
Easter Wednesday morning, April 20, 1916 two Volunteer dispatchers
slipped through some very dangerous areas to bring an urgent message to
James Connolly from Hueston. He needed immediate backup, because he and
20 men were still holding out against several hundred British troops,
who had Hueston's men just about completely surrounded. A major assault
was expected at any time and supplies and food were just about gone.
Connolly was quite excited and Pearse said aid would be sent immediately
to Heuston and his company. But almost immediately they found that it
was impossible and that Hueston had been captured. Connolly had given
orders to Heuston to hold up the British that were heading toward the
Four Courts for 3-4 hours which would allow allow the garrison there as
well as Headquarters to prepare their defenses. Connolly found out
later that Heuston not only held his position for the few hours
specified, but was still there after nearly 50 hours until he could hold
out no longer.
Sean Heuston was shot on May 8.
Caulfield, Max, The Easter Rebellion, Dublin 1916, Robert Rinehart Publishers, 1963, 1995
De Roux, Louis, Life of P. H. Pearse translated into English by Desmond Ryan
Foster, R.F., Modern Ireland 1600-1972, Penguin Books, 1995
Maccardle, Dorothy, The Irish Republic
O'Kelly, Seamus G., The Glorious Seven, commemoration pamphlet of 50th Anniversary of Easter Week 1916
- The Rising, (he was a student at St. Enda's and fought with Pearse and Connolly at the G.P.O.)
- The Complete Works of P.H. Pearse, St. Enda's and It's Founder
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