Remembering with pride Michael O’Rahilly who was born in Ballylongford, Co Kerry, on April 22nd 1875.

Born on this day 

Michael O’Rahilly who was born on this day Ballylongford, Co Kerry, on April 22nd 1875.

Michael ORahilly Michael ORahilly was born in Ballylongford, Co. Kerry on 22nd April 1875 the unique distinction of being an Irish Volunteer leader who opposed the idea of a Rising in 1916 and initially tried to stop it but who then played his part once the fight began and, at the end of Easter Week, gave his life for Irish freedom
Known as ‘The O’Rahilly’ after he adopted this name to emphasise his ancestry in the Ó Raithile clann of Kerry, he played a central role in the establishment of the Irish Volunteers. He was untypical of most Volunteer leaders in that he was a wealthy man and there was no nationalist or republican background in his family. However, O’Rahilly brought an energy and enthusiasm to the many Irish nationalist activities in which he became involved. 

Michael Joseph Rahilly (he restored the ‘O’ later) was born to a prosperous merchant family in Ballylongford, Co. Kerry in 1875. He attended the local national school, where he was taught Irish after school hours by the principal, who was a native speaker from An Daingean. He was then sent to the Jesuit-run Clongowes Wood College, the private boarding school for wealthy Catholics. 

In 1899 he married Nancy Browne of Philadelphia and they settled near Dublin. They moved to Philadelphia in 1905. By this time O’Rahilly had developed strong nationalist politics and was a contributor to Arthur Griffith’s newspaper the United Irishman. In 1909 he returned to Ireland with his wife and children and became more deeply involved in politics. He worked on Griffith’s Sinn Féin newspaper when it became a daily in 1909, a short-lived venture which failed commercially and ceased in 1910. In the Sinn Féin organisation O’Rahilly did much to promote Irish industries. 

O’Rahilly was centrally involved in the opposition to the visit of King George V to Dublin in 1911. In the following year he was elected to the Coiste Gnó (Executive) of Conradh na Gaeilge. He became editor of its journal An Claidheamh Soluis and in November 1913 it was O’Rahilly who asked Eoin Mac Néill to write for that paper his article ‘The North Began’. This was the spark which led to the founding of the Irish Volunteers. O’Rahilly wrote and issued the invitation to nationalists in Dublin to the meeting in Wynn’s Hotel which founded the Volunteers. 

For the next two and half years O’Rahilly threw himself into the work of the Volunteers, of which he was Treasurer and Director of Munitions. He was one of the small group that organised the purchase of guns for the Volunteers and their landing at Howth and Kilcoole in July 1914. John Redmond’s machinations in trying to take over and suppress the Volunteers were exposed in O’Rahilly’s pamphlet The Secret History of the Irish Volunteers. 

In the days prior to the Easter Rising O’Rahilly worked with Mac Néill in attempting to prevent the insurrection. When he realised on Easter Monday that the mobilisation in Dublin was going ahead he reported for duty and fought in the GPO during Easter Week.  On Easter Friday evening he led a small detachment of Volunteers up Moore Street in an effort to clear the British barricade at the Parnell Street end. Four Volunteers – Henry Coyle, Francis Macken, Michael Mulvihill and Patrick Shortis – were killed in their charge up Moore Street and O’Rahilly was fatally wounded.

O’Rahilly managed to drag himself into Sackville Lane (now O’Rahilly Parade) where he lay dying for many hours. Volunteers and civilians were unable to come to his aid because of the British firing. He died on Easter Saturday and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery as the prison executions of his comrades were beginning.

With  many thanks to: Easter Rising War of Independence and Irish Civil war History.

Michael Collins told Hayden Talbot that the only person he ever told his personal story to in his own words:


IT was typical of the man that he should have postponed answering those of my questions dealing with his biography until the last. Whilst, like Theodore Roosevelt and other truly great men whom I have known, Collins was an egoist, there was a side of his character that made him as modest and almost diffident as a schoolboy.
One of the last subjects we discussed together was the matter of a proper portrait to be used as a frontispiece in this book. I asked him if there were any especial photograph which he liked.
” Not one,” he replied. ” It may be that my opinion is biassed, but I have never yet seen a camera’s handiwork when I have been in front of the lens that I have not been disappointed with. But so long as a man’s alive, I do not see the use of photographs of him. It’s surely not what he looks like but what he does that matters.”
Arguing from my publisher’s viewpoint, I ventured as delicately as possible to hint that perhaps even he might fail to achieve eternal life on earth, and in the event of his failure to do so the condition which he insisted alone warranted the use of his portrait would come into being.
” In other words,” he said, with a characteristic smile, ” you mean I may be done in at any moment and you want me preserved. Is that it ? ”
” Well,” I replied, ” that may not be it, but if it is, I have your word for it that there’ll be several headaches spread around.”
” You may be easy about that,” said Collins, slipping into his army greatcoat and extending a hand for a farewell shake. ” If they get me I’ll have no complaints to make : or, if that is too much of a ‘ bull,’ at least you can be sure that if I could speak, I’d blame nobody but myself.”
And so I left the man who, in the time I had had the privilege of knowing him, had already proved himself the finest character, the most astoundingly efficient worker and the greatest natural leader of men I have ever known.
Earlier that evening I had finally wrung from Collins the story of his early life. I have his word for it that I am the only person to whom he ever confided these details. Here is the story in his own words :
” I was born in 1890 on a farm in Woodfield, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. The Irish name of the place and the name it is still known by is pronounced Paulveug. I was the youngest of eight children with two brothers and five sisters in the home.
” My father was Michael Collins, a farmer. He was born in 1815 and lived the life of a bachelor until he was in his sixty-third year. Then, at sixty-two years of age, he married my mother and she was forty years younger than he. When I was born my father was seventy-five years of age. My mother’s maiden name was Mary O’Brien. Her native town was Tullineasky, Clonakilty. She outlived my father by ten years. He died in 1897.
” All my early life I lived in childish wonder of my father. Although I was a lad of seven when he died, he had already inspired me with implicit faith in his goodness, his strength, his infallibility. I remember as if it were yesterday an instance of my faith. It proved that I could not conceive anything of his doing that was not altogether right.
” I was out in the fields with him one day, watching him at work a rare privilege in my kid’s eyes. He was on top of a wall of bog stones, and I was on the turf below him. One of the stones, a good sized one, was dislodged under his feet and came rolling down straight at me. There was plenty of time for me to dodge it, but it never occurred to me to move. ‘Twas my father’s foot had done the business. Surely the stone could do me no harm. To this day I carry the mark on my instep where it crushed my foot. It was not for many a year afterwards that I was ever able to understand my father’s great laughter as he told and retold the tale.
” ‘ Would you believe it ? ‘ he would say. ‘ There he was, barefooted, the stone rolling down on him, and him never so much as looking at it ! And when I got the thing off his foot and asked him why he had stood there and let it hit him, what do you think he replied ? He told me ’twas I who sent it down ! ‘
” And after his great laughter had subsided he would grow serious, and the pride of family that was in him would show itself. For he always finished by saying, ‘ It’s a true Collins he is ! ‘
” On my father’s side there are records of ancestors back 450 years, when they were chieftains of the tribes of Munster. Part of their slogan runs like this :
‘ ‘ Multitudinous is their gathering a great host with whom it is not fortunate to contend the battle trooped host of the O’Coileain.’
” I was a reverential kid. Reverence was not only instilled into me by my father ; it seemed a natural trait. Great age held something for me that was awesome. I was much fonder of the old people in the darkness than I was of young people in the daytime. It’s at night you’re able to get the value of old people. And it was listening to the old people that I got my ideas of Irish nationality.
” In the matter of schooling I had the education of the ordinary farmer’s son in Ireland a kind of teaching im- possible to compare with American or English systems. But at least I had the advantage of having good tutors and of a tremendous appetite for knowledge. But it was not even a secondary-school education, as that term is understood in England. It was about as much and about as good as Irish boys generally got in those days.
“A far more valuable education was at hand in the never-ceasing talk of Ireland’s destiny, the injustices from which she had suffered in the past, and was still suffering. As I grew up to young manhood the Parnell speech was the one great topic of discussion. Those were the days when every person in Ireland was thinking in terms of Home Rule. Home Rule at the early morning breakfast-table, Home Rule all the day, Home Rule by every hearth side in the evening on such fare did the young Ireland of my generation feed and grow to manhood. It was this sort of thing that made one part of the atmosphere of nationalism.
” In our own home forgathered of an evening the people who were leaders of thought in the community. Others might have dismissed them as ‘ local politicians ‘ for one reason or another a contemptuous term but, as a matter of fact, they were very intelligent as regards the doctrine of nationalism. And as for localism, in the sense that it is narrow and petty, one must regard the circumstances of an Irish family in that time. What was local to us in Clonakilty was in nowise different from the immediate environment of a Galway or a Connaught village.
” The early settlers of America, from New England to Virginia, thought along identical lines, even though they did so unwittingly and without realisation of their common purpose. From what I hear today it would seem that then there was in America more of common purpose, and in that sense of a distinctively national spirit, than there is today. But then their motive was a simple one self-preservation. So with us in Ireland at the beginning of the century. A cause, an inheritance, and a need common to us all inspired us. It wasn’t a thing that any man or set of men could govern. It was different from that.
” When an Irish boy in those days feasted on real bacon to the accompaniment of his father’s reminiscent comments the spirit of nationalism was breathed into him. For the father was saying that in his youth the pigs were raised exclusively for the landlords !
” With my sixteenth birthday behind me I took the Civil Service examinations like thousands of other Irish lads of my station. For many years the British Civil Service had appeared to be the only worthwhile alternative to independent emigration. Both meant emigration, of course. Successful candidates were seldom, if ever, put in Irish posts. Theoretically, the candidate might be sent to any part of the British Empire. But experience had taught us that almost invariably our berth would be in England. Whether to keep an eye on us or to take advantage of our native ability, the powers that be staffed their London posts almost entirely with Irishmen. And I at seventeen wanted to live in the world’s biggest city.
” Quickly, however, I discovered I was in a blind alley in the Civil Service. To be sure, it was to London I went with a clerkship in the Post Office a junior position that paid 70 a year. At the end of two years I resigned.
” Followed several years of other jobs, none of which satisfied my ideas of opportunity. First I took a minor post in a stockbroker’s office, then a clerkship in the Guarantee Trust Company of New York at its branch in the city. But with each passing year I felt more and more convinced that London for me held as little real opportunity as did Ireland.
” Of course, I had Irish friends in London before I arrived, and in the intervening years I had made many more friends among Irishmen resident in London. For the most part we lived lives apart. We chose to consider our-
selves outposts of our nation. We were a distinct community a tiny eddy, if you like, in the great metropolis. But we were proud of our isolation, and we maintained it to the end.
” When wonder is expressed, as it often is, that I could have lived eight years in London and still have been so little known that 120,000 British troops and Black and Tans could not find me in four years of hunting me in Ireland, I can only attribute it to that policy of voluntary isolation we all observed in London. And, after all, Michael Collins, junior clerk, could hardly be expected to have attracted any notice especially in an English business house. It was just that fact that had convinced me there was every chance, if I remained in England, to continue to be a clerk the rest of my life.
” And then came a real opportunity !
” Queerly enough, it was preceded by another an offer to go to America.
” It was in 1914, just before the declaration of war, that the chance came to take passage to New York. I could have gone under the most advantageous conditions, and with the one thing I had been looking for a fair chance to get ahead. But when I laid the scheme before Tom Clarke
(the Thomas J. Clarke of Easter Week) he advised me not to go. His reason satisfied me. He said there was going to be something doing in Ireland within a year. That was good enough for me. I changed my mind about going to America, and plodded along in my uncongenial job.
” It was in May 1915 after Sean McDermott had been arrested and lodged in prison to serve a four months’ sentence for making a seditious speech that I realised the climax was swiftly approaching. The British Secret Service was turning in reports from Ireland that must have been disquieting to a Government then at death-grips with the German military machine. With all the impetuosity of twenty-five I went to Tom Clarke and told him I was ready to go home and do whatever he wanted me to do. But he was not ready for me to go. The time was close at hand, he told me, but for the present I was to remain in London. I obeyed. I had good reason to obey.
” I had not forgotten what he had said to me almost a year earlier, when he had led me to turn down the offer from America. ‘ You should wait/ he had said then, ‘ for the time when we are going to do something to bring the Irish case to international notice.’
” Before the summer of 1915 was ended, however, I got the summons and hurried to Dublin. With me went fifteen of my pals all of us with years of London living behind us. Out of that little group six were killed in the rising of Easter Week, 1916. One of these was my brother-in-law.
” It may be worth the telling at this time to point out a somewhat unusual fact of a purely personal nature. It is unusual, certainly, when one stops to consider that in forty years Ireland has lost almost half her population through emigration. Out of my family of eight, only one, my brother Patrick, voluntarily left Ireland. My sister Helen, now forty years of age, became a nun and is in a convent in Yorkshire. And there is my stay in London. But otherwise we have all elected to remain in our own country. I recall how interested Richard Croker was in this. He, himself an emigrant who eventually came back to his native land, believed the day would come when Ireland would attract immigrants. However that may be, at least I think it is just as well for the world to know that all Irishmen are not eager for the opportunity of leaving their own shores.
” As for my brother Patrick, all I know about him and this information reached me indirectly is that he is a member of the police-force in Chicago. Whether he is a policeman or not I have no idea. In all the years since he went to America he has never let us hear from him.”
Several months prior to this my last meeting with Collins he had urged me to interview Eoin MacNeill, then Speaker of Dail Eireann and Professor of Ancient Gaelic History in the National University.
” You will find Professor MacNeill one of the most learned men in Ireland,” Collins told me. ” Also, there is no doubt that he is a fine patriot. As Kincola (the Gaelic name for Speaker of the House) MacNeill has held the respect of every member of the Dail ; and yet his order countermanding the 1916 rising issued by him as President of the Irish Volunteers less than twenty-four hours before the time set for the rebellion to begin undoubtedly had a great deal to do with its speedy failure.
” So far as I know, Professor MacNeill has never explained the reason for his action. I think most of us are so sure of his staunch patriotism that we could not bring ourselves to cast the slightest aspersion on him by asking for an explanation. I for one, at any rate, however, should like very much to have it and I suggest that for the purposes of making this tale of yours as complete as possible, you put the question to him.”
And so it was a few days later that I took a jaunting- car and set out from my hotel in Dublin on a six-mile drive to the MacNeill home in Blackrock, through the lovely Irish countryside.

With  many thanks to: Gillean Robertson Miller- Life And Times of The “big Fella”.

Michael Collins’s story of Easter Week as told to Hayden Talbot:


“SiR ROGER CASEMENT was absolutely opposed to the 

Easter Week rising. Of this I have abundant proof. I 

know that he made the trip from Germany to Ireland for the 

sole purpose of stopping the rebellion. I have his own 

statement to this effect.” 

So Michael Collins corroborated that part of Eoin Mac- 

NeilTs story in which the Speaker of Dail Eireann told of 

Casement’s having advised against the use of armed force 

at that time. This unequivocal declaration is of peculiar 

significance in that it is a fiat contradiction of an official 

statement issued by the British Government following Case- 

ment’s execution. Part of that statement was as follows : 

” . . He was convicted and punished for treachery 

of the worst kind to the Empire he had served, and 

as a willing agent of Germany. … In addition, 

though himself for many years a British official, 

he undertook the task of trying to induce soldiers of 

the British Army, prisoners in the hands of Germany, 

to forswear their oaths of allegiance and join their 

country’s enemies. . . . The suggestion that Case- 

ment left Germany for the purpose of trying to stop 

the Irish rising was not raised at the trial, and is 

conclusively disproved, not only by the facts there 

disclosed, but by further evidence which has since 

become available.” 

Obviously a matter of fact of this nature cannot be a 

matter of opinion. The record shows that it was Casement 

who was responsible for the attempted landing by a disguised 

German merchantman of 20,000 rifles and 1,000,000 rounds 

of ammunition in Tralee Bay. It is not denied by any 

Irish leaders that Casement did his utmost to persuade 

German officers to lead the rebellion. But listen to Collins’ 


” Casement’s opposition to the rising meant nothing to 

the leaders in Dublin,” Collins continued. ” They looked 

upon it and in a sense rightly that this was simply one 

man’s biassed view, formed as a consequence of his experi- 

ences in Germany. His outlook on the rising, or indeed 

on any rising, was naturally different from the outlook of 

men like Sean McDermott and Tom Clarke. My own opinion 

is that Casement had acquired a world outlook, and his mind 

was consequently influenced by world conditions. 
” German assistance appealed to him as vital for a suc- 

cessful issue of Ireland’s rebellion against the might of the 

British Empire. It is a fact’ to be told now without harm 

to anyone that his disappointment over his failure to in- 

duce Germany to send men to aid in Ireland’s fight brought on 

a serious illness that kept him many weeks in bed in Munich. 

And let it be remembered that in this opinion he was by no 

means alone. I can quite understand Professor MacNeill’s 

having shared this view. He knew as, indeed, did most of 

us that we were literally a corporal’s guard planning to 

attack the armed forces of an Empire.

” But Sean McDermott and Tom Clarke were not wait- 

ing for German aid in the shape of MEN. Lacking them meant 

little or nothing to these inspired leaders. Irishmen were 

good enough for them. They were content to rely upon the 

strength of the forces at home, and their calculations were 

based practically entirely on home considerations. Of 

course, they wanted German arms and ammunition, but 

lacking them, they still were prepared to fight. 
” If Professor MacNeill’s theory that these leaders had 

resolved upon launching a forlorn hope to awaken the 

Irish people is correct, no further explanation is necessary. 

On the other hand, it must be obvious that to men like 
Casement, the adventure appeared to be sheer madness. 

I am convinced that Casement’s opposition would have been 

no less strenuous had the German arms been successfully 

landed at Tralee. He was under the spell of the super- 

emciency of the German military machine, and could not 

imagine our under-trained, inexperienced amateur army 

being able to stand up for a moment against the English 

professional soldier. A few of us felt differently about it 

but I think I understate it when I say that a vast majority 

of the Irish people at that time would have agreed with 


” It is, therefore, not at all difficult for me to accept 

Professor MacNeill’s explanation of his issuing the order 

countermanding the rising. Far from Casement and Mac- 

Neill being in a minority in this matter, it was we who were 

in the minority. With the German arms at the bottom of 

Tralee Bay, it must indeed have seemed an act of madness. 
” The actual number of Irishmen employed in the 

fighting was very small. In only three places Dublin, 

Galway and Enniscorthy was there what could be called 

a conflict. I have always put the entire number engaged on 

our side at about 2,000. Of course, the countermanding 

order and the non-arrival of the German arms had a great 

deal to do with deciding the number actually engaged. It 

must be understood also that when I say 2,000, I refer to 

the number definitely under arms. There were men stand- 

ing by awaiting orders in many parts of the country who 

would have leaped into action if the circumstances had been 

favourable instead of the reverse. In County Cork, for 

instance, if they had had arms, 2,000 men would probably 

have turned out. 

” The British had an ordinary strength in Ireland at 

the time of some 30,000 to 40,000 regular troops, and, of 

course, they had 10,000 Royal Irish Constabulary scattered 

all over the country. It is difficult to say how many British 

troops came into action during Easter week. 
” In Dublin, the British garrison numbered about 10,000. 

Probably all of these were actively engaged. So far as I 
know, we have never definitely ascertained the numbers on 

our side actually mobilised in Dublin on Easter Monday 

morning. It could not have exceeded 700, and at no time 

during the week through which the fighting continued could 

the number have exceeded 900. 

“As for heroism I saw many instances. All of our 

men were full of pluck and daring. Only that breed of men 

would have engaged in a contest where the odds were worse 

than ten to one against ! But the incident that touched me 

most was an effort made to rescue a wounded comrade. 

Everything considered, I think it was the finest example of 

pure heroism I ever saw. 
” There were two of them snipers posted under the 

lee of the Nelson pillar, out in the middle of O’Connell 

Street. The rescuer had been mortally wounded himself 

unable to stand on his legs but in spite of it, when his 

comrade was slightly wounded he managed to drag him 

across the cobblestones and into the safety of the Post 

Office. It was evident that the rescuer had but a short 

time to live, and he must have known it, for he waved the 

doctor aside and told him to look after his comrade. To 

everyone’s surprise, he did not die immediately, but for 

several days suffered the most awful agony. Never once 

did he complain, and at all times he was deeply grateful for 

any little service rendered him. He turned out to have 

been a waiter in a Dublin hotel. He was not an Irishman ; 

his nationality seemed to be Franco-Italian. 

” I cannot say that I myself saw any case of specific 

brutality on the part of the British. I did, however, see 

many cases of what may be called ill-usage. For instance, 

a British officer abused and jostled Sean McDermott after 

Sean had submitted quietly to capture. Sean was a cripple. 

I also saw an English officer prevent one of his private 

soldiers from supplying water to a few of our men who had 

been standing some hours in the sun. But for the most 

part instances of physical brutality indulged in by the British 

were conspicuous by their absence. 
” There is a form of wounding, however, that is worse 

than mere physical brutality. Following our surrender 

and being taken prisoners we made our acquaintance with 

English contempt. Our captors made no effort to disguise 

their feeling that we were wretched inferiors, not worthy 

of being accorded treatment given a respected enemy. That 

was a pitiful thing. They honestly felt us to be almost 

beneath their contempt, and let us thoroughly understand 

it. In the batch of several hundred prisoners in which I 

found myself were some of our finest and bravest. The 

English officer in charge of us was especially abusive and 

insulting. He told us we were Irish swine whose place was 

in the pig-sty and more of a like kind. A year of so 

aftenvards this officer met his death in a distant part of 

Ireland under mysterious circumstances. The mystery was 

never solved. 

” Not unnaturally considering how few we were, how 

hopeless the contest, and how pitiful our lack of equipment 

and experience there was much of a distinctly humorous 

nature in the incidents of Easter Week. 
” Desmond Fitzgerald, for instance, was living out in 

Bray, to which the British had sent him the better to keep 

him under surveillance. His wife had gone to England on an 

urgent mission, leaving him and a young girl of the village, 

employed as a nurse, to take care of their two children. 

In due course Fitzgerald got word that the rising was to 

take place on Easter Sunday. He was in honour bound to 

do his bit. But there were his babies and a mother 

he had no way of communicating with. The nurse, hardly 

more than a child herself, was no safe person to whom to 

entrust his children. But just the same, he risked the for- 

bidden journey into Dublin on the Saturday night and 

managed to reach The O’Rahilly and explain his predicament. 

He wanted to do his duty, but he found himself mother as 

well as father to two infants ! From his viewpoint, anyway, 

the time set for the rebellion was distinctly inopportune. 

” To his credit, be it said, he managed to overcome the 

difficulty, and he was in the Post Office throughout the week. 
” One of the most laughable things that happened was 
typical of a certain order of Irish mentality that type 

which through the centuries has been responsible for our 

world reputation as makers of ‘ bulls.’ 
” On the Tuesday two Irish lads who had been caught 

red-handed by one of our patrols in the act of looting a shop 

were brought into the Post Office and before Tom Clarke. 

The old man was furious. 
” ‘ Shame on you both ! ‘ he thundered. ‘ To desecrate 

the name of Ireland in this fashion ! You should be shot 

where you stand ! Sure, shooting is too good for a looter ! ‘ 

” And while the two wretched prisoners trembled under 

his tongue-lashing, our leader seemed to be on the point 

of ordering their instant execution. A minute went by and 

then, disgustedly and scornfully, he ordered them to be led 

away to the kitchen to peel potatoes. 
” When Friday came, and our surrender was only a matter 

of hours, Clarke suddenly remembered the two looters and 

ordered them to be brought before him. By this time high 

explosive shells had smashed our stronghold into a shapeless 

ruin. Outside, from every quarter, machine-guns were 

sweeping the streets with a constant rain of fire. The 

looters were in a pitiable state. 

” ‘ Now then, you two/ Clarke began. ‘ To-morrow, 

maybe sooner, we’re going to surrender. We’re going out 

and give ourselves up. Every one of us may be shot. 

You can wait and go out with us or you can go now. 

Choose ! ‘ 

” Both of them spoke at the same instant. They would 

go then and there ! And so we swung open a door and let 

them go. We watched them as they ran across O’Connell 

Street, the bullets striking all about them. To our amaze- 

ment, they escaped without being hit, finally reaching the 

comparative safety of Abbey Street. It seemed to us that 

we had been witnessing a double miracle. And then one 

of them turned round and came dashing straight towards 

us ! Again a thousand guns were trained on him, and again 

he managed to come through unscathed. We opened the 

door for him and he dived through it. 
” ‘ Don’t you know your own mind ? ‘ demanded Clarke. 

‘ Is it inside or outside you want to be ? ‘ 
” ‘ Oh, sir,’ came the deadly serious reply, ‘ I had to come 

back, sir. I left my insurance card in the kitchen ! ‘ 
” Important as the rising finally proved and history 

will certainly give it place as being the determining factor 

in Ireland’s fight for freedom its importance was not 

immediately recognised even by those of us to whom it 

meant most. In many ways the experiences of that week, 

as well as of the preceding years of preparation, were in- 

valuable. As a testing measure of men, it could not have 

been more conclusive. 
” Among other lessons that I learned during this period 

was one it would be well if more Irishmen would take to 

heart. I discovered that personal bravery alone is of hardly 

any more use than its opposite. I hesitate to inflict hurt 

on any man, especially one whose only fault is one for which 

he cannot properly be blamed. Lack of judgment is not a 

thing to blame a man for. And yet it must be said that 

one man’s lack of judgment was responsible for the hanging 

of Sir Roger Casement, the execution of the seven signers of 

the declaration of the Irish Republic, and the ingloriously 

speedy termination of the rebellion. The whole story must 

be told, but I must not tell it now. Perhaps, later on, the 

facts can be made known without undue emphasis on their 


There was only one man in Ireland that I knew of who 

might merit this description. I had long had my doubts 

about him, and, thus prejudiced, leaped to the conclusion 

that it must be to him that Collins was referring. I asked 

Collins if this were the man. He assured me he was not. 
Several months later Collins named the man and told 

me the whole story. The man was Austin Stack. The story 

in which he figured as a stupid blunderer will be told in a 

later chapter. But at the interview with Collins which I 

have just described he made it plain that he did not wish 

to pursue the subject then, and patently by way of changing 

the subject, he suggested that I next interview Arthur 
Griffith, at that time the newly elected President of Dail 

” There are a few men you must know, if you are to 

write the whole story of Ireland’s fight for freedom,” said 

Collins. ” And Griffith is one of these. I know you have 

talked with him, and I know you think you have sized him 

up but I can assure you that you don’t know him nor his 

measure. He is the kind that takes a lot of knowing. And 

if he will talk you will learn things about Ireland that no 

other man could tell you. It may be that Irish people and 

the world in general may never appreciate Arthur Griffith 

until he is dead and gone, but mark my words, it will come.” 
An odd prediction, surely. For as I write from notes 

made months ago all Ireland is paying respectful homage 

to Griffith lying in state in Dublin’s City Hall, and a world 

Press is extolling his greatness in eulogistic editorials. It 

took his death to earn Irish appreciation and a world’s 

encomiums. He was not the kind of man who wins applause. 

A thick-set, grave, monosyllabic, unapproachable type he 

was not of the stuff of which popular heroes are made. 

But his tenacity of purpose, his indomitable will, his 

absolute honesty, and his love of the land to which he had 

dedicated himself heart and soul these qualities at the 

same time enabled him to do more for Ireland than any 

other one man ever accomplished ; they also killed him. 

There was nothing to suggest, however, that he was not 

in the very pink of condition the night I came upon him in 

a private dining-room in Bailey’s chop-house in Dublin, 

just before the new rebellion against the Free State Government began.

With  many thanks to: Gillean Robertson Miller – Life And Times Of The “big Fella”.

The seven signatories of the Irish Proclamation, Padraig Pearse, James Connolly, Thomas Clarke, Thomas Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh, Sean MacDermott, Joseph Plunkett & Eamonn Ceannt.

All of the above men were executed by the British Government for their efforts in trying to secure a free Ireland! 

At four minutes past noon on Easter Monday, April 24th, 1916, from the steps of the General Post Office Patrick Pearse read the Proclamation of the Republic:




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,




With many thanks to: Brònzy Hegarty.

A question for you ? The IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood) this is one organisation that I would love to know more about and even though there is plenty about them on the Internet, they still seem to me very hard to figure out.

What were they, ? Who were they ?and how big of a role did the play in the Easter Rising ? Could people tell me as much as they can in their own words about them. I know they are still in existence today in regard to turning of the Seal in the Mansion House etc. But I do not know if they are the same organisation back then in 1916 and before that. Thanks

With many thanks to: Irish History discussion and debate group

Sir Neville Francis Fitzgerald Chamberlain was Inspector General of the R.I.C. from 1900 to 1901.

He ignored intelligence reports warning of the 1916 Rising and was retired a couple of months later. He lived in Oatlands House Diswellstown he previously lived in Hermitage Rathfarnham where coincidentally the man who caused him to lose his job Patrick Pearse moved in to after he moved out. When Chamberlain was living in India as a young man he invented the game of Snooker. At the time he was a junior officer in the British Army and was posted to a quite area where there was little to do and got fed up playing Billiards and thought up the alternative game to relieve boredom.He was a distant cousin to Prime Minister Chamberlain who similarly ignored intelligence advice and was codded by the late and unlamented Adolf Hitler. photo and information credit Jim Lacey
With many thanks to: Easter Rising War of Independence and Irish Civil war History.

Remembering with pride Loretta Clarke, who passed away 11th April 2017.

Loretta Clarke who passed away on 11th April 2017. Loretta along with her late brother Jackie amassed the largest collection of republican ephemera in the world. The Jackie Clarke Collection is open to the public in Ballina.
Loretta was very many years a member of the NGA in Mayo and she can be heard in an audio documentary produced by them Dying for the Cause: The Story of the Mayo Hunger Strikers.

With many thanks to: James Connolly, Irish Republican Education Forum.