Tony Taylor from Derry City is currently Interned in Maghaberry Prison.
To date, there has been no allegation of wrongdoing let alone evidence put to Tony by the authorities to explain his continued imprisonment.
The decision to jail Tony has been taken by the British Secretary of State, based on unaccountable intelligence supposedly provided by the security services. This is an abuse of power, undemocratic and an infringement of human rights.
With many thanks to: James Connolly.
Seán Heuston Dublin 1916 Society
On behalf of the 1916 Societies I request your support for our campaign to hold an All Ireland Referendum on Irish Unity. The people of Scotland will exercise their right to national self-determination in a constitutional referendum in September 2014 and we believe the people of Ireland have the same right to determine their constitutional future without outside interference or impediment.
Irrespective of their personal and political positions on independence Scottish parliamentarians have acknowledged the right of the people of Scotland to decide. We ask you to support the campaign to for the Irish peoples rights in this regard to be respected.
The 1916 Societies are Ireland’s fastest growing political movement. We have established Societies throughout Ireland, Australia, United States as well as Scotland. The 1916 Societies are an independent Irish Political Movement that looks upon the ideals and principals set out in the 1916 Proclamation as our significant point of reference.
The proposed Six County border poll under Britain’s Northern Ireland Act 1998 permits the Secretary of State (an English politician devoid of a single vote in Ireland) to determine:
when and if a poll may be called,
the wording of the poll and,
who qualifies to vote.
We believe the core concept of Irish republicanism is that Irish constitutional authority derives from the Irish people and does not defer to laws or decrees emanating from London.
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising it is clear that Britain continues to refuse to recognise Ireland as one democratic unit and presumes that Westminster will define the parameters of Irish democracy.
Republicanism is a unifying concept based on interdependence as opposed to tribal commonality. The exceptional Republican leadership of 1916 knew that interdependence could only be nurtured within a national context and not a partitionist one. They were very specific about that in the Proclamation calling for a ‘National Government representative of the whole people of Ireland’ and declaring that the Republic must be,
‘…oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.’
A Six County poll legitimises the very mechanisms invented by Britain to harness these differences to British interests by endorsing the Unionist veto and accepting the artificial statelet that incubates and nurtures the sectarian dynamic in Irish politics.
The 1916 Proclamation for too long has been relegated to the status of a notional aspiration. The 1916 Societies wish to be part of a broad movement which reinstates the Proclamation of the Republic to its rightful place and its original intent as a template for action. In that spirit we respectfully request your endorsement of an All Ireland Referendum on Irish Unity. One Ireland – One Vote.
Is mise le meas,
- IRA manifesto in response to the Free State declaring itself a Republic in 1949 (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Liam Mellows words in 1921 might as well have been written today !!! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Resist British Rule in Ireland – Freedom Struggle in Ireland (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Protestants and Catholics UNITED will never be Defeated (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Republican Sinn Féin launches 1916-Centenary Website (rsfnational.wordpress.com)
ON THIS DAY IN 1981 Martin Hurson from Cappagh, died aged 24, after 46 days on Hungerstrike in the H Blocks of Long Kesh ! Remember Him With Pride !
Tyrone National Graves Association
Martin was born on September 13th 1956 in Aughnaskea, Cappagh. He was the 8th of 9 nine children. He was arrested on November 11th 1976 after a series of swoops on the Cappagh area by the British. He was subsequently tortured and forced to sign statements admitting republican activity. He was charged with a landmine attack in Galbally (which was later dropped) but still faced charges of IRA membership, possession of the Galbally landmine, conspiracy to kill members of enemy forces, causing an explosion in Cappagh in September 1975 and possession of a landmine in Reclain in February 1976.
Once in Long Kesh Martin went straight on the blanket and then replaced Brendan McLaughlin on the hungerstrike on the 29th of May 1981 after Brendan was forced to withdraw due to a perforated stomach ulcer.
While on hungerstrike Martin took part in a Free State election for Longford/Westmeath, he polled four and a half thousand first preference votes and over a thousand transfers.
Unfortunately after 40 days on strike Martin became unable to hold down water and died of dehydration less than a week later. He was 24 years old.
Remember him with pride
- Mairead Farrell, a True Heroine (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Tony Rochford’s Political Hunger Strike in Starvation Phase (politics.ie)
- FAMILIES OF IRA MEN EXECUTED BY THE SAS IN DERRY,TODAY ACCUSE MARTIN McGUINNESS OF BETRAYAL (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Drumnakilly Martyrs 25th Anniversay (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Maze centre ground rent plan mooted (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
A BRIEF WRITE-UP ON THE GREAT IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST, JIM GRALTON, WHO WAS DEPORTED FROM IRELAND IN 1933.
James Connolly Assoc Australia
On August 13, 1933 Jim Gralton was forced to board a Trans-Atlantic Liner in Cork which was to set sail for the USA. Jim had been arrested on August 10 at a friend’s house in Gorvagh, County Leitrim and brought to Ballinamore Barracks where he was detained before being brought to Cork for his deportation. He had been living on the run since February of that year following the issuing of a deportation order by the courts who ruled that he had to leave Ireland by March 5. His deportation 77 years ago makes him the only native Irishman to be deported from this state.
He was born in Effernagh close to Carrick on Shannon in County Leitrim on April 17 1886. His education, such as it was, was received in nearby Kiltoghert school. Like most young people at the time, he left school early, aged just 14. After working for a number of employers in the local area, fed up with the harsh treatment he and others suffered at their hands, Jim headed for Dublin where he enlisted in the British army.
His rebellious behaviour was not long coming through and he endured punishment of 84 days on “bread and water” for his refusal to shine the leggings and buttons of one of his officers. He was then posted to India, but refused to go in protest at British policies in Ireland. For his defiance and protest, Jim was jailed for a year and subsequently deserted the army, going to work for a time in the coal mines of Wales and in Liverpool docks.
He then got employment as a ship’s stoker and eventually settled in New York where he became a US citizen in 1909. In the midst of the great wealth in the USA, Jim was appalled at the harsh, slave-like conditions that workers endured, which led him to become a firm believer in supporting the rights of workers and in socialism.
From the time he arrived in the US, Jim was active in supporting and raising much needed funds for both the Irish republican struggle and for fellow workers in New York. He became a member of the US Communist Party and became heavily involved in trade union activity. In the wake of the 1916 Rising, and after studying of the writings of James Connolly, Jim became a founding member of the James Connolly Club in New York.
Almost a decade and a half after arriving in the US, Jim decided to return home to Ireland in June 1921, just a month before the truce in the Tan War commenced on the 11th of July. During the war, the notorious Black and Tans had burnt the local Temperance Hall beside Gowel Church to the ground. On his return, Jim promised local people he would replace it and set about, with his own money and with local support, building a new hall on his father’s land near Effernagh crossroads.
The new hall, named the Pearse-Connolly Hall, was eventually opened on December 31 1921 and became an integral part of the everyday lives of the local community. Amongst its many uses was the holding in classes of a wide range of subjects including Irish, English, music, dancing, civics and agricultural science. This was also a time of many land disputes and the Hall was also used to hold Land Courts to settle many of these disputes. Despite the good work Jim was doing for his community and despite the valuable educational service that was been provided, not everyone was happy.
The Catholic Church in particular were extremely unhappy. They denounced him at every opportunity, at the pulpit during mass and in letters, going as far as to describe him as an extremely dangerous socialist and even an “Anti-Christ”. They accused him of “leading a campaign of Land agitation”, of trying to take the youth of the area away from the Catholic Church and of teaching communism to them in his classes.
The Free State forces also were unhappy with his activities, and on May 24 1922, they raided the Hall in a failed attempt to arrest Jim. The following month, as Civil War loomed, he got out and returned to the US. He did not return to Ireland until 1932 following the death of his brother Charlie who looked after and ran the family farm and following the securing of power in the Twenty-Six Counties by Fianna Fáil. Like many other people at that time, Jim was of the mistaken belief that a Fianna Fáil government would allow for the development of progressive politics in his homeland.
Following his return to Ireland, Jim re-opened the Pearse-Connolly Hall which had been closed for many years while he was in the US. He also involved himself once again in left-wing agitation, joining the Revolutionary Workers’ Group [a forerunner of the Communist Party of Ireland]. As well as the hall being used for dances and other social activities, meetings were also held there highlighting issues such as unemployment and the rights of workers and tenants.
He spoke at many anti-eviction meetings and following the eviction of a worker from his home in Keadue, also in County Leitrim, Jim joined with a local IRA group in re-instating the worker and his family back into their family home. This radicalism and persistent campaigning on such issues was of major concern once again to conservatives in general and to the Catholic Church and Fianna Fáil in particular.
Once again, Jim was denounced as a massive campaign was launched by the clergy against him and the views he represented. Shamefully, many of his former comrades turned their backs on him, as the church demanded that the Hall, which they described as a “den of iniquity” be shut down.
The Hall came under physical attack on many occasions. Shots were fired into it during a dance and an attempt to blow it up with a bomb failed. Finally, on Christmas Eve 1932, the Hall was eventually destroyed when it was burned to the ground.
In February of 1933, at the behest of the Catholic Church, the Fianna Fáil government ordered the deportation of Jim from his homeland by March 5 on the spurious grounds of him being an “undesirable alien”. Instead of complying with the order, Jim went on the run, staying with friends and neighbours in the area. During his time on the run, the Revolutionary Workers’ Group organised a campaign in support of Jim. Public meetings were organised and addressed by Jim himself, and by other prominent republican socialists of the time such as George Gilmore and Peadar O’Donnell. Many of these meetings were attacked and broken up by reactionaries.
Finally on August 10 1933, the Free State caught up with Jim, capturing him at a friend’s house in Gorvagh. He was taken to Ballinamore Barracks where he was detained before being transported to Cork where he was put on board a Trans-Atlantic Liner and deported to the US against his will. He was never again allowed to return to Ireland.
Undeterred, upon his arrival back in the US, Jim once again got involved in trade unionism and left wing politics. Along with Gerald O’Reilly, a close colleague of George Gilmore, Jim set up the Irish Workers’ Group in New York. He became a trade union organiser, encouraging the involvement of women within the unions, and set about promoting, republishing and distributing the works of James Connolly. During the Spanish Civil War, he raised funds for the International Brigades who were going to Spain to fight against fascism and in defence of the Republic.
A committed and unrepentant communist up to his last breath, Jim Gralton died in exile in New York on December 29 1945 and is buried in Woodlawn cemetery in the Bronx area of the City.
To conclude fittingly, the final words go to a comrade of Jim’s, Charlie Byrne. Speaking at Jim’s Graveside in the Bronx in 2005 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of his death, Charlie said:
“Let all of us who believe in the principles for which Gralton stood, pledge ourselves anew to the continuation of the fight for the complete political, cultural and economic rights of the working classes in all lands, no crying, no weeping over his grave at Woodlawn. There is work to be done, so let us carry on; Gralton would have it that way.
James Connolly Assoc Australia
Although Jim Gralton has the ominous distinction of being the only Irish man to be deported from Ireland many other republicans and socialists found they had no choice but to emigrate due the stranglehold the conservative catholic church had over the country at the time. The Waterford IRA commander George Lennon being the most notable, amongst a huge section of anti-treaty republicans.
- Words of Songs – James Connolly (jennyfitzgibbon.wordpress.com)
- James Connolly and the Uprising of 1916 (acatheunderground.wordpress.com)
- Nora Connolly O’Brien was born in 1893 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Atheist James Connolly turned to God hours before his death according to British Army chaplain (irishcentral.com)
- Liam (william Joseph) Mellows, Born on May 25, 1895 in Manchester, England – Executed by Firing Squad on December 8, 1922. (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Co Donegal village prepares for annual Orange parade (newsletter.co.uk)
- James Connolly’s last hours, to be published (politics.ie)
- Connolly’s Labour in Irish History (politics.ie)
LIAM (WILLIAM JOSEPH) MELLOWS, BORN ON MAY 25, 1895 IN MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – EXECUTED BY FIRING SQUAD ON DECEMBER 8, 1922.
Stiofán Mac Óda
Liam (William Joseph) Mellows was born on May 25, 1895 in Manchester, England to William Joseph Mellows, and Sarah Jordan, of Inch, Co. Wexford. His father, who was a sergeant in the British army was transferred, with his family, to Dublin in 1895. During Liam’s early years in Ireland he lived with his grandparents in Castletown, Co. Wexford.
When he reached school age he attended the military school in Wellington Barracks in Cork and the Portobello garrison school in Dublin. After he finished his schooling he was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the British army. That expectation was not an option that Mellows considered as a career path. His Irish Republican philosophy was at odds with that of his father or the aims of the British empire his father served.
In 1911 Mellows, after a meeting with Thomas Clarke, joined Na Fianna Éireannn, an organization for Irish boys founded by Countess Constance Markievicz and Bulmer Hobson in 1909. The organization was based on the premise that the boys would be held together by the bond of their great love for Ireland. What mattered was honesty and willingness to undertake a life of self-sacrifice and self- denial for their country’s sake. It started out as an educational organization but over time it became more of a military-style organization for young republicans. By 1914 the organization had become more militant with the declared intent ” to train the boys of Ireland to fight Ireland’s battle when they are men”.
In 1913 Mellows became a full-time Fianna organizer. With the help of his fellow Fianna organizers, coupled with his tireless energy and enthusiasm, the organization spread quickly throughout all corners of the country.
On Sunday morning July 26, 1914 Fianna boys dragged a trek-cart from Dublin to Howth to meet the Asgard and transport its cargo of rifles and ammunition back to a safe location in Dublin. On the return journey their path was blocked at Clontarf by a line of British soldiers with fixed bayonets. The boys managed to escape down a side street with their bounty which eventually ended up at Countess Markievicz’s house. The next morning Mellows and Nora Connolly aided by teenage Fianna women removed the weapons from Markievicz’s house to a safer location.
As Pearse said ‘without the Fianna there would have been no Volunteers and without the Volunteers there would not have been a 1916″.
Mellows was introduced to socialism when he met James Connolly at Countess Markiewicz’s residence, recuperating after his hunger strike. Connolly was deeply impressed and told his daughter Nora ‘I have found a real man’.
Mellows was active in the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), a secret oath-bound fraternal organization founded in 1858 and dedicated to the establishment of an “independent democratic Irish Republic. He was also a founding member of the Irish Volunteers, an organization formed in 1912 in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteers. The primary aim of the Irish Volunteers was to “secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland”. The organization included members of the Gaelic League, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Sinn Féin, Fianna Éireann and the IRB.
In November 1913 Mellows was given responsibility for organizing the Volunteers in the Western Command. Due to his keen intellect coupled with his analytical and organizational skills he quickly rose to prominence within the Volunteers. He also came to the attention of British intelligence. In the latter half of 1915 he was arrested under the British “Defense of the Realm Act”; and interned in Mountjoy Jail for over four months. On his release, he went on the run but was again arrested in early 1916 and deported to England where he served time in Reading Jail. With the help of Nora Connolly and his brother, Barney, who changed places with him during a visit to the jail, he effected his escape and returned to Dublin, via Glasgow and Belfast, disguised as a priest. He stayed at St. Enda’s school in Rathfarnham where he received his orders from Pearse and Connolly before travelling west to Galway on Good Friday proceeding the planned Easter Rising .
During the week of the Rising he led approximately 700 IRA Volunteers in abortive attacks on Royal Irish Constabulary stations at Oranmore, and Clarinbridge in Co. Galway and took over the town of Athenry. However, his men were very badly armed and supplied and they dispersed after a week, when British troops and the cruiser Gloucester were sent west to attack them.
After the collapse of the Rising in Co. Galway, Mellows made his way to New York to escape execution the fate that befell many of leaders of the Rising. .In New York he worked in the office of the Gaelic American as an organizer for the Friends of Irish Freedom (FOIF) an Irish-American Republican organization founded at the third Irish Race Convention held in New York in March of 1916. FOIF was generally recognized as a front for Clan na Gael.
As a political exile from Ireland Mellows was under constant surveillance. When he spoke at meetings of the Irish Progressive League – the only Irish American group to stand out boldly for Ireland during this period – Secret Service men would sit in the audience.
In the fall of 1917, together with Dr. Patrick McCartan, Mellows was arrested while attempting to return to Ireland using false seaman’s papers procured by Joseph McGarrity. He was detained in the “Tombs” on charges that he participated in an “Irish-German” conspiracy to sabotage the Allied war effort in the ongoing World War. Pending trial bail was set at $7,500, a sum he was unable to raise. Clan na Gael could have easily come up with the money if it so willed. For what ever reason the Clan did not see fit to help Mellows and as a consequence his stay in the Tombs was unnecessarily prolonged. Eventually, others raised the bail money and he was released pending trial in the fall of 1918. The case was eventually disposed of in May of 1919 when Mellows and McCartan were each fined 250 dollars for using false seaman’s papers.
The “Tombs” incident left Mellows with a festering resentment towards John Devoy, the titular head of the New York branch of Clan na Gael. Many feel that the person responsible for the Clan’s abandonment of Mellows was none other than Justice Daniel F. Cohalan a New York politician and second to Devoy in the New York branch of the Clan hierarchy.
Mellows was elected for two constituencies, North Meath and East Galway, in the December, 1918, general election in Ireland. When the First Dail met they entered his name on the roll in Irish, Liam 0 Maoiliosa. Meanwhile, Mellows was without a job in America. He left the’ Gaelic American in December 1918. He went to work on the docks as a laborer before getting a teaching job at the school run by the Irish Carmelites in Manhattan. The Carmelites took care of Mellows in his time of need when others turned their backs on him.
In May of 1919 with his law case settled, Mellows planned to return to Ireland. These plans were set aside when Harry Boland, who had just arrived in U.S. to organize De Valera’s fundraising tour, got sick. Mellows was assigned to take Boland’s place. The 18-month assignment as De Valera’s advance man afforded Mellows the opportunity to see much of the United States — an enjoyable experience he described in his correspondences to friends and acquaintances.
On Mellows return to Ireland at the end of 1920, he joined the general headquarters staff of the I.R.A. as Director of Purchases, with responsibility for procuring arms and equipment for the fighting forces. He was returned to the Dail as deputy for Galway at the general election of May, 1921.
He considered the Anglo-Irish Treaty as signed to be a betrayal of the Irish Republic, saying, in the Treaty Debates of 1921–22:
“We do not seek to make this country a materially great country at the expense of its honour in any way whatsoever. We would rather have this country poor and indigent, we would rather have the people of Ireland eking out a poor existence on the soil; as long as they possessed their souls, their minds, and their honour. This fight has been for something more than the fleshpots of Empire.”
Mellows was one of the more strident TDs on the approach to the Irish Civil War. On 28 April 1922 he told the Dáil:
”There would no question of civil war here now were it not for the undermining of the Republic. The Republic has been deserted by those who state they still intend to work for a Republic. The Volunteers can have very little faith at this moment in the Government that assembles here, because all they can see in it is a chameleon Government. One moment, when they look at it, it is the green, white and orange of the Republic, and at another moment, when they look at it, it is the red, white and blue of the British Empire. We in the Army, who have taken this step, have been termed “mutineers,” “irregulars,” and so forth. We are not mutineers, because we have remained loyal to our trust. We are not mutineers except against the British Government in this country. We may be “irregular” in the sense that funds are not forthcoming to maintain us, but we were always like that and it is no disgrace to be called “irregulars” in that sense. We are not wild people.”
On June 25, 1922, he and fellow Republicans Rory O’Connor, Joseph McKelvey and Dick Barrett, among others, took over the Dublin Four Courts. They were bombarded from a gunboat on the Liffey which the Free State borrowed from the British army. They surrendered after two days and were imprisoned in Mountjoy. Mellows had a chance to escape along with Ernie O’Malley, but did not take it.
Imprisoned in Mountjoy Jail, Mellows, O’Connor, McKelvey and Barrett were summarily executed by firing squad on December 8, 1922 .
- 1916 Signatories – 1916-2016 – 100 Years of Resistance (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- THOMAS CLARKE EXECUTED BY FIRING SQUAD 3rd MAY 1916 – R.I.P (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Eva Gore-Booth, The Great Forgotten Woman Of Irish History (parallelevision.wordpress.com)
- Online Exhibition Marks Jfk Visit to Ireland 50 Years Ago (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
Éirígí Cill Dara
Nora Connolly O’Brien was born in 1893 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the second daughter of James Connolly and his wife Lillie. From an early age Nora was involved in labour and Irish republican activism, and in 1916 she acted as a messenger between the leadership of the Rising and the volunteers in the North.
Nora died in 1981, having spent her life committed to the promotion of socialist republican politics. In the excerpt below from her memoirs, Nora talks about her father’s final days and the courage and inspiration that James Connolly gave to her and continues to give to socialist republicans today.
During the rising, my father had not been content to sit in an office and give orders. He used to go and see that the orders were being carried out. That was how he got wounded. His ankles were shattered, and he had been shot in the arm. After the surrender, he had been brought to Dublin Castle. There he was placed in the officers’ ward, with a room to himself. He was given the full credit of his rank, and the British soldiers never forgot to call him the General, or the Commandant-General. The ordinary soldiers called him the General, and made it plain that the hope of the ordinary police and soldiers was that he would not be executed. Many of the soldiers knew something about my father. This was because Redmond has got a lot of Irishmen into the army during the war.
By the time he was placed in this hospital ward, he had already lost so much health. There had been no doctors in the GPO building. There was one student who was in his last year at medical school, and he did the best he could after my father had been wounded. There was also an officer of the British Army Medical Corps in the GPO, whom we had arrested. The medical student, whose name was Ryan, went to this prisoner and asked him for help. At first the Medical Officer said he could not do anything, but Ryan said, ‘Even if you can’t do anything, just tell me what to do and I’ll do it all while you give me the orders,’ and he reminded him of the oath of Hippocrates that doctors take when they become doctors. So the officer went down and gave instructions, but nothing he said did any good.
By the time my father reached Dublin Castle, he was a dying man. Gangrene had set in, and he had little chance of living. He could not even sit up, and was unable to lift more than his head from the pillow, and his shoulders a little bit. The gangrene began affecting his whole body.
The surgeon who was attending my father sent over to London for some medicine he had heard of which he hoped would stop the spreading of the gangrene. The surgeon took a strong liking to my father. It was the same with everyone who met him – they all loved him. The surgeon and my father discussed poetry, and different writers – one would say a poem, and the other would quote a poem in opposition to it, and one would make a joke and they would laugh. And they would discuss different writers, and books they had read, and what their opinion of this writer was, and their opinion of that. And all this time my father was dying every minute, dying every minute.
There was a very young Royal Army Medical Corps officer whose job it was to sit all day long in my father’s room. I often wondered what this young RAMC officer must have been thinking. I can imagine that he must have been saying to himself, ‘But this man is dying! And look how he is going on – saying poems, making jokes, and laughing!’ It was mind over body, and I have a feeling that the poor young soldier must have been in a terrific tension – that he had never seen anything like it.
My mother and I and all our family had moved out of Belfast a few days before the rising. We were planning to move to Dublin. We did not want to attract attention, so we packed all our things in cases to pretend we were just going on holiday. During the fighting, my mother and the younger children stayed in a cottage belonging to Madame Markievicz just outside Dublin. When it was all over she received a note from Dublin Castle saying that she should come to visit James Connolly in the hospital there. She went down and visited him on her own, taking only Fiona, the youngest in our family.
When she reached Dublin Castle, my mother was searched to see that she was not bringing a knife or any drug or anything else for my father to commit suicide with.
‘That’s proof you don’t know James Connolly,’ said my mother. ‘Otherwise you wouldn’t dream of suggesting that in order to avoid a little pain –’
‘A lot of pain, Mrs Connolly,’ said the nurse who was searching her.
‘Well, it doesn’t matter how bad the pain is,’ said my mother. ‘He’d never commit suicide. He bears all he has to bear. As long as there is life in him, he’ll be fighting all the time’.
When the nurse had finished searching her, she said, ‘I’ll not do this again next time you come’.
‘Oh, I can come again?’ asked my mother.
The nurse thought she would probably be allowed to.
On her way out from this visit, a photographer took a picture of her and Fiona outside Dublin Castle, which was later printed in, I think, the ‘Daily Sketch’. They were both angry when they saw it, as they were looking very unkempt, and the photographer had just called them out and taken the photo without their permission.
Next my father was court-martialled. I later had the story of what happened from the nurse. My father could not go and attend the court, so the members of the court all went to his hospital room. The whole lot just marched in.
The officer in charge of the court martial told my father, ‘Sit up! You know what this is’.
My father did not say a word.
‘I told you to sit up!’ the man said.
The young RAMC said to them, ‘But the man is dying!’ The young man must never before have dared to dream of standing up in front of all those high officers. When they kept yelling at my father to sit up, the young man had to tell them twice that he was dying.
‘Well, prop him up, then!’ the officer said.
In fact they knew of the gangrene and that my father had not many days to live, but they were going to court-martial him anyway, as he was the leader.
So then they called out for the nurse, who was standing outside the room. And they ordered the soldiers to bring pillows and mattresses so that my father could be propped up to hear his court martial there and then. When they had finished, they asked him if he had any requests to make, and he asked to see my mother and me.
By this time, I had come back to Dublin from the North. I was given two visits, both times together with my mother. Our last visit was only an hour or so before he was taken across from Dublin Castle to Kilmainham to be shot.
Dublin Castle has a double staircase in the main entrance hall, with a long landing between the two. On every step of the stairs when we went in there was a soldier with a rifle and a bayonet. There were soldiers on the landing also. Those on the landing had the little square cushions that used to be used in the army as mattresses – they were called ‘biscuits’. They had had their night’s rest on these ‘biscuits’ on the landing. My mother and I were taken to the top officer there – the Intelligence Officer, who wanted to make sure we were not part of a plot to steal James Connolly from them. All the soldiers were on duty as we went in, to prevent an abduction attempt, with their bayonets fixed all the time. The officer told us not to give my father any news. Apart from Surgeon Tobin, the surgeon who was looking after my father, and Father Aloysius, we were the only ones who were allowed to see him. In this way they hoped to keep him in ignorance of what was happening, so that he would not be able to have any influence outside.
The officers’ ward, where my father had been placed, consisted of a corridor with little rooms along it for when an officer fell ill. They would not let an officer go among the ‘common people’ at all! Each officer who was ill used to have a separate room to himself.
My mother and I sat in this room, one each side of the bed. The only other person in the room was the young RAMC officer, and he sat with his back to us during our visits, just reading a book or looking out of the window.
My father was lying in bed with a cage over his feet to keep the bedclothes off his shattered ankles. He told us about the court martial, and asked me for news from the North. I had to tell him that the men had gone home, and that there had been no fighting, and I began to cry. But he told me he was very proud of me.
‘But I’ve done nothing, nothing,’ I said. ‘I’ve just carried messages’.
‘Never mind, Nora,’ he said. He told me that if I had not come down with the message from the North that the Northerners were ready to fight, it would not have been possible to persuade the Dublin leaders to go ahead with the rising. ‘Only for you, Nora, we couldn’t have done anything,’ he told me.
Although we were not supposed to be giving him any news, I gave the news of the executions to him anyway. He gave me the opening that gave me the opportunity, by asking me to give a message to Skeffington.
I said, ‘Skeffington has been murdered by a drunken soldier’. And then I went on, ‘There’s only you and MacDermott left. They’re all gone’.
And that was the greatest shock he ever got in his life. He had not heard from anybody about the executions. He had heard the shooting, but had not realised what it was.
I said that surely they would never shoot a wounded man.
He said he had never believed that. ‘I remember what they did to Scheepers in South Africa,’ he said. He seemed to assume that I knew who Scheepers was, but I did not, and I never found out, though I asked many people. It was only this year that I was told that Scheepers was a hero of the Boers in their fight against the British. His commando unit blew up British railways and bridges, and his fearlessness made him the hero of his men. Falling ill, he was left behind at his own request at a farmhouse, where he was captured by the British. He was court-martialled before he had recovered, and shot while he sat in a chair.
My mother was crying, and my father begged her to stop. He said she would unman him if she continued to cry.
‘But your beautiful life, James,’ she said, ‘not your beautiful life!’
At one point my father patted my hand and drew it under the blanket. I felt him put a stiff bit of paper into my hand.
‘Take this out of here,’ he whispered. ‘It’s what I said to the court martial. I was asked what I had to say for myself, but I did not say it for myself, I said it for Ireland. Get it out, Nora, get it out!’
I had no trouble getting it out, because I cupped it in my hands when they searched us going out.
In the end we were told that our time was up to go, and we had to leave him for the last time. Mama was on the side of the bed nearest the door. She could not move. She was like a statue, and seemed rooted to the floor. The nurse and the officer came and helped her out of the door. I was on the other side from the door. I walked slowly round the bed, looking at the face I would never see again.
As I reached the door, my father called me back and I went back to the bed. He put his arm round me and pulled me down to him and hugged me, and whispered in my ear, ‘Don’t be too disappointed, Nora. We shall rise again’.
He did not want me to drop out of the fight. He knew it would go on after he had gone.
And then I had to go out. Those were the very last word that he said to me before I was taken away – ‘We shall rise again!
- Dublin Castle (britlitstudyabroad.wordpress.com)
- Atheist James Connolly turned to God hours before his death according to British Army chaplain (irishcentral.com)
- James Connolly’s last hours, to be published (politics.ie)
- 1916 Signatories – 1916-2016 – 100 Years of Resistance (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
Óglaigh Na HÉireann
Poblacht na h Éireann.
The Provisional Government
To the people of Ireland.
IRISHMEN 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 organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, 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 its exaltation among the nations.
The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to 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 from the majority 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 Provisional 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
Seán Mac Diarmada – Thomas MacDonagh
Pádraig H. Pearse – Éamonn Ceannt
1916 EASTER RISING TIMELINE…
Easter Sunday – 23rd April 1916…
Macneills countermand appeared that morning in the sunday independent. The Military Council met in Liberty Hall to discuss the implications of the countermand. They decided to go ahead with the Rising but to postpone it till the following day, Easter Monday, that gave them enough time to send couriers throughout the land to inform the Irish Volunteers that indeed the Rising was still taking place. On Sunday the Proclamation was printed in Liberty Hall witch was there for the use of the ITGWU. As there was not enough type of the required size to set the entire document, the type setting and the printing was done in two stages witch partly accounts for the different densities of ink on the upper and lower half of the Proclamation.
Easter Monday – 24th April 1916…
Most of those who took part in the Rising assembled at Liberty hall before proceeding from there to their allotted positions around the city, most of witch were occupied by the afternoon. Following the occupation of the GPO Pearse proclaimed the establishment of the Irish republic. As Commandant General of the Dublin Brigade of the Army of the Irish republic, in theory James Connolly directed the military operations of all the positions held in the name of the Irish Republic, in practice, however due to his inability to provide worthwile armaments or reinforcements, the Commandants of the outlying positions generally had to rely on their own devices. In the course of Monday afternoon and evening the british organised a hurried response and engaged most of the positions occupied by the Volunteers. City Hall came under intense attack and the officer in charge Captain Séan Connolly was shot dead. The few remaining members of the garrison surrendered later that night. Commandant Ceant`s position at the South Dublin Union also came under intense pressure but the garrison repulsed the attacks. An outpost set up by Commandant Mallin in J & T Davies ( now Portabello ) public house at the junction of South Richmond Street and Charlemont Street had to be abandoned within a matter of hours in the face of intense fire.
Easter Tuesday – 25th April 1916…
General W.H.M. Lowe was given command of operations in Dublin. Army reinforcements from Belfast, the Curragh, Templemore and Athlone enabled the british to begin the cordoning off of the positions held by the Volunteers. Machine gun fire from the Shelbourne Hotel forced Commandant Mallin to evacuate most of Saint Stephens Green and concentrate his forces in the Royal College of Surgeons. Looting became widespread in the City Centre. That evening the Viceroy, Lord Wimborne proclaimed martial law throughout Dublin City and County.
Easter wednesday – 26th April 1916…
Commandant Ned Daly`s Men in the area of the Four Courts burned the Lenenhall Barracks. At noon Commandant Séan Houston and the Garrison at the Mendicity institution were forced to surrender. The military cordon seperating the Volunteers to the North and South of the river Liffey were extended and strengthened as reinforcements became available. The british gunboat Helga on the Liffey and field guns to the south of the Liffey commenced shelling Liberty Hall and the area around the GPO. army reinforcements from england arrived at kingstown ( now Dun Laoghaire ) but wer held up at Mount Street Bridge ( an outpost of Commandant Eamon de Valera`s position at Bolands Bakery ) on their way into Dublin. The british suffered heavy losses before the few surviving Volunteers were forced to withdraw. General Maxwell was appointed to take command of the forces in Ireland. In the inner City there were great scarcity of essential foodstuffs such as bread and milk.
Easter Thursday – 27th April 1916…
Chief Secretary Birrell arrived in Dublin but had little function as the military were now in control. Artillery pounded the east side of Sackville Street setting Clearys and other buildings on fire. The Helga shelled Commandant de Vallera`s position at Bolands Bakery but its fire was mainly directed at the empty distillery. The british launched a major assault on Commandant Ceannt`s position at the South Dublin Union, while they captured and held some buildings within the Union complex, the engagement resulted in stalemate. While directing operations in Middle Abbey Street, James Connolly was seriously injured in the ankle but continued to direct military opperations. As the military cordon now effectively seperated the remaining Volunteers to the north and South of the river Liffey, Connolly`s lines of communication with most of the outlying positions were severed and there was no longer any form of centralised command structure.
Easter Friday – 28th april 1916…
General Maxwell arrived in Dublin early that morning. Also that morning Pearse issued a statement admitting that the Rising was almost over, but claiming that the Volunteers would win the fight “Aldough they might win it in death”. At Ashbourne, Co. Meath, Commandant Thomas Ashe and the 5th Dublin Bittalion had the greatest success of the Rising when they forced a large contingent of police to surrender. by evening the GPO was on fire, the garrison eveauated to houses in the Moore Street area. The O`Rahilly was mortally wounded while leading a charge to clear the way for the evacuation. That night there was intense fighting in the North King Street area held by Commandant Ned daly`s Men.
Easter Saturday – 29th April 1916…
On Saturday morning the five members of the Provisional Government, who had evacuated from the GPO the previous evening, decided to negotiate a surrender to prevent further loss of life. nurse elizabeth O`Farrell delivered a message from Pearse to the british General who would agree only to unconditional surrender. That afternoon Pearse surrendered unconditionally to general Lowe. connolly, Clarke, macdiarmada and Plunkett and their forces in the Sackville Street area surrendered later that day and were held in the grounds of the Rotunda hospital overnight. Commandant Daly and most of the Men in the Four Courts area also surrendered late on Saturday Evening.
Easter Sunday – 30th April 1916…
News of the surrender was conveyed that still held out, mainly the south Dublin Union, jacobs biscuit factory, the royal College of Surgeons and Bolands bakery, all of witch surrendered reluctantly. The police and military now turned their attention to rounding up those susespected of being directly or indirectly involved in the Rising. A total of approximately 3.500 were arrested throughout the county, of whom about 2.000 were interned.
The Rest is History…
The Struggle for Irelands Freedom Continues, I Sum Up With Some of Our Past Martyrs Speeches That Could`v Been Written With Todays Generation In Mind…
“Our freedom must be had at all hazards. If the men of property will not help us they must fall; We will free ourselves by the aid of that large and respectable class of the community – the men of no property.” – Theobald Wolfe Tone.
“As long as Ireland is unfree the only honourable attitude for Irish men and women to have is an attitude of rebellion.” – Pádraig Pearse.
“The ownership of Ireland, moral and material, is vested of right in the people of Ireland and to “sink all difference of birth property and creed under the common name of Irish people.”
“An Ireland Unfree shall never be at peace…An Ireland not merely free but Gaelic aswell.”
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
“As well might you leave the fairies to plough your land or the idle winds to sow it, as sit down and wait for freedom.” – Thomas Davis.
“Abject tears, and prayers submissive – Have they eyes, and cannot see? Never a country gained her freedom when she sued on bended knee.”
“Yes, ruling by fooling, is a great British art with great Irish fools to practice on.” – James Connolly From The Irish Worker – September 1914.
“You may kill the revolutionary but never the revolution.”
“A TRUE PEACE will come when Ireland is ONE.”
1916 Executions at Kilmainham Prison, Dublin.
13 of the Leaders of 1916 were executed at the spot marked by the Black Cross in the Stonebreakers’ Yard. May they Rest in Peace for the ultimate sacrifice which they made.
Patrick Pearse, Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers, May 3rd 1916, RIP.
Thomas Clarke, Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers, May 3rd 1916, RIP
Thomas MacDonagh, Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers, May 3rd 1916, RIP.
Joseph Plunkett, Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers, May 4th 1916, RIP.
Edward Daly Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers, May 4th 1916, RIP.
Michael O’Hanrahan Irish Volunteers, Irish Transvaal Brigade, May 4th 1916, RIP.
William Pearse, Irish Volunteers, May 4th 1916, RIP.
John MacBride, Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers, Irish Transvaal Brigade, May 5th 1916, RIP.
Con Colbert, Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers, May 8th 1916, RIP.
Eamonn Ceannt, Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers, May 8th 1916, RIP.
Michael Mallin, 2 I/C Irish Citizen Army, May 8th 1916, RIP.
Seán Heuston, Irish Volunteers, May 8th 1916, RIP.
Seán Mac Diarmada, Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers, May 12th 1916, RIP.
James Connolly, Commander, Irish Citizen Army, was executed at the other end of the Stonebreakers’ Yard he could not walk due to a shattered ankle from a bullet during the Rising. He was tied to a chair and shot by firing squad. May 12th 1916, RIP.
Thomas Kent, Irish Volunteers, was executed by firing squad in Cork on May 9th 1916, RIP.
Roger Casement was hanged at Pentonville Prison London August 3rd 1916, RIP.
- Liam (William Joseph) Mellows ( 25 May 1895 – 8 December 1922 ) (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- The Easter Rising (smchisty.wordpress.com)
- Irsp Easter Statement 2013 (thefivedemands.org)
- Today in History ~ April 24 (todayincalgaryhistory.wordpress.com)