Remembering IRA Volunteer Raymond McCreesh who died in Long Kesh after 61 days on Hunger Strike on 21st May 1981.

The third of the resolutely determined IRA Volunteers to join the H-Block hunger strike for political status was twenty-four-year-old Raymond McCreesh, from Camlough in South Armagh: a quiet, shy and good-humoured republican, who although captured at the early age of nineteen, along with two other Volunteers in a British army ambush, had already almost three years active republican involvement behind him.
During those years he had established himself as one of the most dedicated and invaluable republican activists in that part of the six counties to which the Brits themselves have – half-fearfully, half-respectfully – given the name ‘bandit country’ and which has become a living legend in republican circles, during the present war, for the courage and resourcefulness of its Volunteers: the border land of South Armagh.

Raymond’s resolve to hunger strike to the death, to secure the prisoners’ five demands was indicated in a smuggled-out letter written by Paddy Quinn, an H-Block blanket man – who was later to embark on hunger strike himself – who was captured along with Raymond and who received the same fourteen year sentence: “I wrote Raymie a couple of letters before he went to the prison hospital. He wrote back and according to the letter he was in great spirits and very determined. A sign of that determination was the way he finished off by saying: Ta seans ann go mbeidh me abhaile rombat a chara’ which means: There is a chance that I’ll be home before you, my friend!”

Captured in June 1976, and sentenced in March 1977, when he refused to recognise the court, Raymond would have been due for release in about two years’ time had he not embarked on his principled protest for political status, which led him, ultimately, to hunger strike.

Raymond Peter McCreesh, the seventh in a family of eight children, was born in a small semi-detached house at St. Malachy’s Park, Camlough – where the family still live – on February 25th, 1957.

The McCreeshes, a nationalist family in a staunchly nationalist area, have been rooted in South Armagh for seven generations, and both Raymond’s parents – James aged 65, a retired local council worker, and Susan (whose maiden name is Quigley), aged 60 – come from the nearby townland of Dorsey.

Raymond was a quiet but very lively person, very good-natured and – like other members of his family – extremely witty. Not the sort of person who would push himself forward if he was in a crowd, and indeed often rather a shy person in his personal relationships until he got to know a person well. Nevertheless, in his republican capacity he was known as a capable, dedicated and totally committed Volunteer who could show leadership and aggression where necessary.

Among both his family and his republican associates, Raymond was renowned for his laughter and for “always having a wee smile on him”. His sense of humour remained even during his four-year incarceration in the H-Blocks, as well as during his hunger strike where he continued to insist that he was “just fine.”

Raymond went first to Camlough primary school, and then to St. Coleman’s college in Newry. It was at St. Coleman’s that Raymond met Danny McGuinness, also from Camlough, and the two became steadfast friends. They later became republican comrades, and Danny too then a nineteen-year-old student who had just completed his ‘A’ levels was captured along with Raymond and Paddy Quinn, and is now in the H-Blocks.

At school, Raymond’s strongest interest was in Irish language and Irish history, and he read widely in those subjects. His understanding of Irish history led him to a fervently nationalist outlook, and he was regarded as a ‘hothead’ in his history classes, and as being generally “very conscious of his Irishness”.

He was also a sportsman, and played under-sixteen and Minor football for Carrickcruppin Gaelic football club as well as taking a keen interest in the local youth club where he played basketball and pool, and was regarded a good snooker player.

When he was fourteen years old, Raymond got a weekend job working on a milk round through the South Armagh border area, around Mullaghbawn and Dromintee. Later on, after leaving his job in Lisburn, he worked full-time on the milk round, where he would always stop and chat to customers. He became a great favourite amongst them and many enquired about him long after he left the round.

During the early ‘seventies, the South Armagh border area was the stamping ground of the British army’s Parachute regiment, operating out of Bessbrook camp less than two miles from Raymond’s home. Stories of their widespread brutality and harassment of local people abound, and built-up then a degree of resentment and resistance amongst most of the nationalist population that is seen to this day.

The SAS terror regiment began operating in this area in large numbers too, in a vain attempt to counter republican successes, and the high level of assassinations of local people on both sides of the South Armagh border, notably three members of the Reavey family in 1975, was believed locally to have been the work both of the SAS, and of UDR and RUC members holding dual membership with ‘illegal’ loyalist paramilitary organisations.

Given this scenario and Raymond’s understanding of Irish history, it is small wonder that he became involved in the republican struggle.

He first of all joined na Fianna Eireann early in 1973 and towards the end of that year joined the Irish Republican Army’s 1st Battalion, South Armagh.

Even before joining the IRA, and despite his very young age, Raymond – with remarkable awareness and maturity – became one of the first Volunteers in the South Armagh area to adopt a very low, security conscious, republican profile.

He rarely drank, but if occasionally in a pub he would not discuss either politics or his own activities, and he rarely attended demonstrations or indeed anything which would have brought him to the attention of the enemy.

It was because of this remarkable self-discipline and discretion that during his years of intense republican involvement Raymond was never once arrested or even held for screening in the North, and only twice held briefly in the South.

Consequently, Raymond was never obliged to go ‘on the run’, continuing to live at home until the evening of his capture, and always careful not to cause his family any concern or alarm.

Fitted in with his republican activities Raymond would relax by going to dances or by going to watch football matches at weekends.

After leaving school he spent a year at Newry technical college studying fabrication engineering, and afterwards got a job at Gambler Simms (Steel) Ltd. in Lisburn. He had a conscientious approach to his craft but was obliged to leave after a year because of a fear of assassination.

Each day he travelled to work from Newry, in a bus along with four or five mates who had got jobs there too from the technical college, but the prevailing high level of sectarian assassinations, and the suspicion justifiably felt of the predominantly loyalist work-force at Gambler Simms, made Raymond, and many other nationalist workers, decide that travelling such a regular route through loyalist country side was simply too risky.

So, after leaving the Lisburn factory, Raymond began to work full-time as a milk roundsman, an occupation which would greatly have increased his knowledge of the surrounding countryside, as well as enabling him to observe the movements of British army patrols and any other untoward activity in the area.

Republican activity in that area during those years consisted largely of landmine attacks and ambushes on enemy patrols.

Raymond had the reputation of a republican who was very keen to suggest and take part in operations, almost invariably working in his own, extremely tight, active service unit, though occasionally, when requested – as he frequently was – assisting other units in neighbouring areas with specific operations. He would always carefully consider the pros and cons of any operation, and would never panic or lose his nerve.

In undertaking the hunger strike, Raymond gave the matter the same careful consideration he would have expended on a military operation, he undertook nothing either a rush, or for bluff.

The operation which led to the capture of Raymond, his boyhood friend, Danny McGuiness, and Patrick Quinn, took place on June 25th, 1976.

An active service unit comprising these three and a fourth Volunteer arrived in a commandeered car at a farmyard in the town land of Sturgan a mile from Camlough – at about 9.25 p.m.

Their objective was to ambush a covert Brit observation post which they had located opposite the Mountain House Inn, on the main Newry – Newtonhamilton Road, half-a-mile away. They were not aware, however, that another covert British observation post, on a steep hillside half-a-mile away, had already spotted the four masked, uniformed and armed Volunteers, clearly visible below them, and that radioed helicopter reinforcements were already closing in.

As the fourth Volunteer drove the commandeered car down the road to the agreed ambush point, to act as a lure for the Brits, the other three moved down the hedgeline of the fields, into position. The fourth Volunteer, however, as he returned, as arranged, to rejoin his comrades, spotted the British Paratroopers on the hillside closing in on his unsuspecting friends and, although armed only with a short range Stengun, opened fire to warn the others.

Immediately, the Brits opened fire with SLRs and light machine-guns, churning up the ground around the Volunteers with hundreds of rounds, firing indiscriminately into the nearby farmhouse and two vehicles parked outside, and killing a grazing cow!

The fourth Volunteer was struck by three bullets, in the leg, arm and chest, but managed to crawl away and to elude the massive follow up search, escaping safely – though seriously injured – the following day.

Raymond and Paddy Quinn ran zig-zag across open fields to a nearby house, under fire all this time, intending to commandeer a car. Unfortunately, the car belonging to the occupants of the house was parked at a neighbour’s house several hundred yards away. Even then the pair might have escaped but that they delayed several minutes waiting for their comrade, Danny McGuinness, who however had got separated from them and had taken cover in a disused quarry outhouse (where he was captured in a follow-up operation the next day).

The house in which Raymond and Paddy took cover was immediately besieged by berserk Paratroopers who riddled the house with bullets. Even when the two Volunteers surrendered, after the arrival of a local priest, and came out through the front door with their hands up, the Paras opened fire again and the Pair were forced to retreat back into the house.

On the arrival of the RUC, the two Volunteers again surrendered and were taken to Bessbrook barracks where they were questioned and beaten for three days before being charged.

One remarkable aspect of the British ambush concerns the role of Lance-Corporal David Jones, a member of the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute regiment. According to Brit statements at the trial it was he who first opened up on the IRA active service unit from the hillside.

Nine months later, on March 16th, 1977 two IRA Volunteers encountered two Paratroopers (at the time seconded to the SAS) in a field outside Maghera in South Derry. In the ensuing gun battle, one SAS man was shot dead, and one IRA Volunteer was captured. The Volunteer’s name was Francis Hughes, the dead Brit was Lance-Corporal David Jones of the Parachute regiment.

In the eighteen months before going on hunger strike together neither Raymond McCreesh or Francis Hughes were aware of what would seem to have been an ironic but supremely fitting example of republican solidarity!

After nine months remand in Crumlin Road jail, Raymond was tried and convicted in March 1977, of attempting to kill Brits, possession of a Garand rifle and ammunition, and IRA membership. He received a fourteen-year sentence, and lesser concurrent sentences, after refusing to recognise the court.

In the H-Blocks he immediately joined the blanket protest, and so determined was his resistance to criminalisation that he refused to take his monthly visits for four years, right up until he informed his family of his decision to go on hunger strike on February 15th, this year. He also refused to send out monthly letters, writing only smuggled ‘communications’ to his family and friends.

The only member of his family to see him at all during those four years in Long Kesh two or three times – was his brother, Fr. Brian McCreesh, who occasionally says Mass in the H-Blocks.

Like Francis Hughes, Raymond volunteered for the earlier hunger strike, and, when he was not chosen among the first seven, took part in the four-day hunger strike by thirty republicans until the hunger strike ended on December 18th, last year.

Speaking to his brother, Malachy, shortly after Bobby Sands death, Raymond said what a great loss had been felt by the other hunger strikers, but it had made them more determined than ever.

And still managing to keep his spirits up, when told of his brother, Fr. Brian, campaigning for him on rally platforms, Raymond joked: “He’ll probably get excommunicated for it.”

To Britain’s eternal shame, the sombre half-prediction made by Raymond to his friend Paddy Quinn – Ta seans ann go mbeid me abhaile rombat – became a grim reality. Bhi se. Raymond died at 2.11 a.m. on Thursday May 21st, 1981, after 61 days on hunger strike.

With many thanks to: Clan na Gael

Remembering my beautiful sister Martha who’s anniversary occurs today.

No Enquiry 

No investigation 

And still no justice 

Thinking about u always Martha love millions 😇😇😇

#RIP

With many thanks to: Teresa Campbell.

Remembering Volunteers Eugene Martin and Sean McKearney, 1st Battalion, East Tyrone Brigade, Irish Republican Army (IRA), who were killed on active service on this day 13th May 1974.

Remembering Volunteers Eugene Martin and Sean McKearney, 1st Battalion, East Tyrone Brigade, Irish Republican Army, who were killed when the bomb they were transporting detonated prematurely at Doneydale near Dungannon, on the 13th May 1974.

Morning  bhoys & ghirls today we remember  with pride 2 brave volunteers who died this day 43 years ago

With many thanks to: Clan na Gael, Andy Mullen – Remember Irish Patriots Dead.

101 years ago on 12th May 1916, the final 2 Irish Republican Martyrs were murdered by the British Crown.

They were the last of the Irish rebels to be executed on Irish soil. The final rebel to be executed was Roger Casement, three months later, in England.

When Ireland has her freedom – May they Rest in Peace.
C xx
Seán MacDiarmada: 

Born in 1884 in Leitrim, MacDiarmada emigrated to Glasgow in 1900, and from there to Belfast in 1902. A member of the Gaelic League, he was acquainted with Bulmer Hobson. He joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1906 while still in Belfast, later transferring to Dublin in 1908 where he assumed managerial responsibility for the I. R. B. newspaper Irish Freedom in 1910. Although MacDiarmada was afflicted with polio in 1912, he was appointed as a member of the provisional committee of Irish Volunteers from 1913, and was subsequently drafted onto the military committee of the I. R. B. in 1915. During the Rising MacDiarmada served in the G. P. O. He was executed on 12th May 1916. 

James Connolly: 

Born in Edinburgh in 1868, Connolly was first introduced to Ireland as a member of the British Army. Despite returning to Scotland, the strong Irish presence in Edinburgh stimulated Connolly’s growing interest in Irish politics in the mid 1890s, leading to his emigration to Dublin in 1896 where he founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party. He spent much of the first decade of the twentieth century in America, he returned to Ireland to campaign for worker’s rights with James Larkin. A firm believer in the perils of sectarian division, Connolly campaigned tirelessly against religious bigotry. In 1913, Connolly was one of the founders of the Irish Citizen Army. During the Easter Rising he was appointed Commandant-General of the Dublin forces, leading the group that occupied the General Post Office. Unable to stand to during his execution due to wounds received during the Rising, Connolly was executed while sitting down on 12th May 1916. He was the last of the leaders to be executed on Irish soil
With many thanks to: Ireland-One Island, One Nation.

SEÁN MAC DIARMADA Executed on this day May 12th 1916 in Kilmainham Gaol (1883-1916)

(1883-1916)

Born in Leitrim, he emigrated to Glasgow in 1900 where he worked as a tram conductor, and from there came back to Belfast in 1902. A member of the Gaelic League, Mac Diarmada was sworn into the IRB by Denis McCullough, and transferred to Dublin in 1908 where he managed the IRB newspaper Irish Freedom in 1910.
Although afflicted with polio in 1911 and needing a walking stick, together with Tom Clarke, McCullough and Bulmer Hobson, Mac Diarmada is credited with revitalising the IRB and becoming a popular leader.
After the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, he campaigned against Irishmen joining the British army, and was jailed under the Defence of the Realm Act.
In a speech at Tralee, Co Kerry he claimed: “The Irish patriotic spirit will die forever unless a blood sacrifice is made in the next few years.”
Mac Diarmada was said to be obsessively secretive in his planning, excluding many of his fellow IRB men from the Rising conspiracy.
A signatory of the Proclamation and a member of the Provisional Government, he spent

the Rising in the GPO.
Before his execution, Mac Diarmada wrote: “I feel happiness the like of which I have never experienced. I die that the Irish nation might live!”
He was executed by firing squad at Kilmainham on May 12. Mac Diarmada was unmarried.
Sean McDermott Street in Dublin is named in his honour as is Mac Diarmada rail station in Sligo, and Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, the GAA ground in Carrick-on-Shannon. Sean MacDermott tower in Ballymun, which was demolished in 2005, was also named after him.

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

Today in Irish History 6th May 1882.

The Invincibles and the Phoenix Park killings Shane Kenna (rip) tells the story of the militant underground Fenian group – The Invincibles of the 1880s.
Arriving in Dublin on 6 May 1882, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Frederick Cavendish, attended to some formal business in Dublin Castle, the seat of the British government, before walking home to his residence in the Phoenix Park.
He was met by permanent Undersecretary Thomas Henry Burke in a cab on Chesterfield Avenue, just inside the park’s entrance. Joining Cavendish in his walk, the two men were approached by a group of seven men, three in front, two in the middle and two behind.
Passing through the first three, who turned around, they approached the middle two – Joe Brady and Tim Kelly, Brady stabbed Burke while Kelly made for Cavendish – both using surgical knives – killing the two British officials in what was regarded as a brutal assassination. Afterwards the killers made their way from the park at a hurried pace on two cabs, the first driven by Myles Kavanagh, the second cab driven by James Fitzharris, known better as ‘Skin the goat’. In Dublin they would leave a card into all the major newspapers identifying themselves as the Irish National Invincibles.
On May 6 1882, Frederick Cavendish, the Chief Secretary for Ireland and his Under Secretary, Burke, were brutally stabbed to death by group calling themselves the Irish National Invincibles
Mass roundups of suspected Fenian ‘terrorists’ followed. One, James Carey, told his interrogators that the Invincibles had been formed in the fall of 1881 to ‘make history’ and to establish a grouping within the Fenian network to assassinate government administrators in Ireland.
But who were, the Invincibles really? And how did they come to adopt such ruthless methods in the cause of Irish independence?
Context; Coercion of the Land League
The Invincibles were a militant group within the Irish Republican (or Fenian) Brotherhood, who emerged in response the coercion of the Land League tenant farmer movement.
Traditionally there had been much poverty in Ireland. In the late nineteenth Century this was graphically represented in the existence of a large tenant farming class. The place of the tenant farmer, moreover, had been made quite insecure by the system of Landlordism in Ireland, in which tenants had few rights of tenure or rent security against the still largely Anglo-Irish landlord class. Against this background for the tenant farmer, 1878 had seen a bad harvest and the return of potato blight – the disease which had triggered the Great Famine of the 1840s. The problem only increased after another bad winter the following year.
the Land League was a movement of tenant farmers led by Irish nationalists. It was seen as a challenge to British rule in Ireland
This disaster in the harvest was combined with the unpredictability of capitalism, as the value of Irish agricultural produce in the British market fell against cheaper imports from South America and New Zealand. Many tenant farmers, particularly in the west, could not now afford to pay rent, resulting in an increasing number of evictions – rising from 406 in 1877, to 1098 in one year, and levels of emigration not witnessed since the famine. With the famine less than a generation beforehand, tenant farmers were not prepared to allow tragedy to strike for a second time, many determining to organise as a social movement seeking fairer rights on their farms and lands led by an effective tenant leadership.
These events culminated in the formation of the Irish National Land League in October 1879 and the beginning of a social revolution on the island of Ireland between 1879 to 1882, known as the Land War. The Land War, a movement of both violent and non-violent agitation, was fought between opposing forces of power and privilege on one side against the poor and marginalised on the other, the outcome of which would ultimately be a shift in the ownership of the land in Ireland from landlord to tenant.
The Coercion Act allowed for internment without trial and the suspension of Habeus Corpus. Under it over 900 Land League members were imprisoned, including thier leader, Parnell.
In this social revolution tenant farmers were organised as a mass movement under an effective leadership of Irish nationalists such as former Fenian Michael Davitt and later the constitutionalist Charles Stuart Parnell. This social conflict was heightened by an understanding on both sides that Landlordism was a key pillar of British rule in Ireland, and if Landlordism collapsed, as envisaged by the Land League, it would be a significant blow to the British interest in Ireland, In this regard much of the Land League philosophy on Landlordism would portray it as a foreign system imposed upon the people, facilitating the conquest of Ireland. In this confrontation Landlordism would have the powerful backing of the British political elites using the resources of the state to defeat a serious threat to its authority in Ireland.
As a means of defeating the agitation of tenant farmers the British government on 1 January 1881 made clear its intention to introduce a Coercion Act to pacify Ireland, becoming law in March. It was exceptionally draconian, suspending habeas corpus, trial by jury and facilitating the proclamation of entire districts as ‘disturbed’. This act was endorsed by the British governments most important administrator in Ireland, the Chief Secretary in Dublin Castle, William Forster MP.
Forster vigorously championed and applied coercion in Ireland, which was administered by his permanent Undersecretary, Thomas Henry Burke. Once put into operation, some nine hundred members of the Land league were arrested and interned in various prisons across Ireland, culminating in the arrest of Charles Stewart Parnell in October 1881 and his imprisonment in Kilmainham Gaol Dublin.
The carrot accompanying this stick of coercion was British Prime Minister Gladstone’s second Land Act, establishing a land court, but not applicable to tenant farmers in arrears or in debt.
Parnell was released in 2 May 1882 under the terms of the so-called ‘Kilmainham Treaty’, whereby he would agree to use his influence to calm violent land agitation in return for significant amendments in Gladstone’s second Land Act and a lapse in coercion. It was also understood that he would co-operate with the British Liberal Party in Parliament.
 
The RIC fired on a crowd in Ballina in 1882, killing several people. The Invincibles’ attack on Cavendish the following was their reprisal
Outraged by Parnell’s release, the hardline Chief Secretary Forster resigned in protest, to be replaced by Frederick Cavendish, the husband of Gladstone’s niece, who arrived in the country on 6 May 1882. The day before his arrival Ireland had been thrown into a significant crisis. At Ballina the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) had opened fire and charged a peaceful crowd, killing several children under the age of fourteen.

Frederick Cavendish
The Phoenix Park killings and their aftermath
The next day was 6 May 1882, when Frederick Cavendish, the new chief secretary arrived in Dublin to take on his new job. He and Burke met seven Invincibles in the Phoenix Park, who were set on revenge for the police shootings in Mayo the previous day, and were brutally stabbed to death – the highest ranking British officials ever assassinated in Ireland.
The hitherto unknown group left a card into all the major newspapers identifying themselves as the Irish National Invincibles. For the first time in Irish history there would be Sunday editions of the major newspapers.
In the aftermath of the Phoenix Park assassinations Coercion was again introduced in Ireland, a provision of which, Section 16 allowed for what became known as the Star Chamber inquiry, allowing the state summon a suspect for interrogation under oath, and without legal representation, each witness compelled to give evidence in any subsequent trial facing imprisonment if he refused to do so.
There was also a major police investigation, headed by John Mallon of the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP). Within a week, Mallon knew from informers the names of those who had assassinated the Cavendish and Burke in the Phoenix Park, but had no evidence to prosecute them.
Under interrogation, James Carey, a leading Fenian, told the authorities all he knew ofthe movement, resulting in the hanging of six of his former comrades
Following another attack by the Invincibles, this time on two jurors in Dublin, the state implemented Section 16 under John Adye Curran and summoned suspects to extensive interrogations in Dublin Castle.
By January 1883 25 Invincibles would be arrested by Crown Forces including:
James Carey Timothy Kelly Joseph Hanlon Peter Carey
Joseph Mullet William Moroney Daniel Curley Patrick Whelan
Joseph Brady Edward McCafferty John Dwyer George Smith
Thomas Martin Henry Rowles Laurence Hanlon Edward O’Brien
Robert Farrell James Mullet Peter Doyle Michael Fagan
Joseph Smith James Fitzharris Myles Kavanagh Thomas Caffery
Taken to Kilmainham Gaol, they were extensively interrogated by John Mallon and Adye Curran, who would ‘turn’ several into informers, including Kavanagh (who had driven four Invincibles from the Phoenix Park after the assassination), Joseph Smith and most importantly, James Carey.
James Carey was one of the leading figures of the Dublin Invincible leadership. In Kilmainham he underwent extensive psychological manipulation; Mallon telling him that Daniel Curley had revealed all about Carey’s involvement in the Invincibles, and meeting his wife outside of the Gaol, he told a similar story. He also allowed Carey’s wife to send letters to Carey, repeating what Mallon had said of Curley’s treachery. This was all a lie, Curley had not talked and had refused to speak about his role or anyone else’s role in the Invincible conspiracy.

Joseph Brady, hanged and decapitated for his role in the killing of Chief Secretary Cavendish.
Ultimately Carey cracked and begged Mallon to save his life, unburdening himself of the details of the Invincibles, Mallon feigning disinterest, left Carey, returning the next day to take his statement.
Trial and execution of the Invincibles
The prisoners, with the obvious exception of the informers, were first tried in Kilmainham Courthouse and then in Green Street Courthouse Dublin. The extensive interrogation in Kilmainham Gaol had produced several more crucial informers – Robert Farrell, Myles Kavanagh, Joseph Smith, and later Joseph Hanlon – all of whom played their part in securing the convictions and executions of Invincibles. On 19 February Carey was unveiled as the prosecution’s star witness detailing the Invincible movement and the occurrences of 6 May 1882 in the Phoenix Park.
Carey testified that the Invincibles were formed in 1881 wiht the intention of assassinating high ranking British administrators in Ireland
In Carey’s narrative the Invincibles had been formed in the fall of 1881 by a Middlesbrough Fenian, John Walsh whose declared aim was to ‘make history’ and to establish a grouping within the Fenian network to assassinate government administrators in Ireland. Walsh had been sent to Dublin by Frank Byrne, secretary of the Land League of Great Britain, whose wife would later deliver the knives to Dublin smuggled on her person.
A directory was set up of leading Fenians including James Mullet (Publican), Daniel Curley (Carpenter) and Joseph Mullet (van driver), all Dublin Centres (or cell leaders) of the Fenian movement. Mullet, later arrested in connection with the assassination of an informant, Bernard Bailey, would be replaced by Joseph Brady (Stone cutter), secretary of Daniel Curley’s circle.
According to Carey, the Invincibles had attempted to assassinate William Forster, the former Chief Secretary for Ireland and the man most associated with Coercion, on nineteen occasions, failing due to a combination of bad luck and a desire not to harm innocents. He also identified a mysterious directing figure the movement – referred to as number 1 – later identified as Patrick Tynan, a go-between for Byrne in London with Dublin. Tynan, it seems, however, was simply a self publicist and not as important as he led history to believe.
As a result of these trials and the information secured in Kilmainham Gaol, five of the Invincibles were executed by the famous hangman William Marwood. Marwood, the state executioner, had been specially transported from Britain to Dublin to carry out the executions in Kilmainham. The five executed men were:
Joseph Brady
Daniel Curley
Michael Fagan
Thomas Caffery
Timothy Kelly.
 
Epilogue
Today in Kilmainham Gaol the spot where the gallows came out to hang the Invincibles can still be seen. The black iron bars surrounding it were placed specially around the gaol to prevent the public from coming near the prison entrance or helping the prisoners mount an escape. To the right of Kilmainham Courthouse, there is a small gate in the perimeter wall of the Gaol known as the Invincibles’ gate, which built specially to ferry the Invincibles to and from the prison without having to risk taking them outside due to the crowds swelling in their support.
 
Joseph Brady’s head was cut off after his hanging and kept for medical purposes. John Mallon Dublin Mtropolitan Police chief, kept part of his spine as a souvenir
Following Joseph Brady’s execution, Dublin Metropolitan Police Commissioner, John Mallon, left Kilmainham Gaol holding a parcel in his arm and was approached by a French Journalist, Frederick Moir Bussy. Stopping Mallon, Bussy asked him the details of Brady’s execution, Mallon dismissed him and left quickly in a waiting cab.
In 1910 Bussy recalled in a biography of Mallon that he later asked the policeman why he was in such a rush to leave the prison. Mallon told him that the parcel he held was Joseph Brady’s head. The Invincible had been beheaded on the orders of Kilmainham doctor William Carte, so his head could be taken for examination in the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin. According to Bussy, John Mallon himself kept the top of Brady’s spine as a souvenir of the Invincible conspiracy and his role in undermining it.
Daniel Curley, referred to by James Carey as the Prime Minister of the Invincibles, while led from the Dock in Green Street Courthouse made a rousing speech deserving of a place within the pantheon of Irish Republican speeches:
You will have to be very cautious my lord, about the informers. I don’t seek redress. Of course I expect no mercy. I don’t pray for pardon. I expect none from the British government; they are my avowed enemies… I know the position in which I am standing here. I am standing on the brink of the grave. I will speak the truth… I admit I was sworn into the Fenian organisation twelve years ago; when I was only twenty-two years of age, and from that time to the present I worked openly in the organisation. I was let into a number of their secrets, and I will say here today that I will bring them to my grave faithfully and truly; and as to my own life, if I had a thousand lives to lose, I would rather lose them sooner then bring to my grave the name of informer and that I should save my life by betraying my fellow man… I am a member of the Invincible society – undoubtedly, unhesitatingly.
 
‘If I had a thousand lives to lose, I would rather lose them sooner then bring to my grave the name of informer’, Daniel Curley. 
The five Invincibles were buried in a lonely graveyard in Kilmainham Gaol, intended to be forgotten for all eternity.
Today the five still remain in that lonely yard in Kilmainham, largely forgotten by the majority of the Irish people and unknown to the visitors to the building. Just as other Republican groups did in their wake, the Invincibles were seeking the establishment of the Irish Republic. They were Fenians and working class republicans, aware that the Fenians, involved in the Land War were shooting landlords and landlords agents, and with no great landowners in Dublin, as in the country, they assassinated the two most important British government administrators in Ireland and were eventually executed for it in one of the most famous events of nineteenth century Ireland.
Sealing the chapter of the Invincibles, the informer James Carey would be assassinated in revenge for his testimony against the Invincibles by the Irishman Patrick O’Donnell at the Cape of Good Hope on 27 June 1883. O’Donnell was in turn executed at New Gate Prison in London, his remains lying in the grounds of the former prison and later reinterred into the London City Cemetery.
There has never been a movement more misunderstood than and as controversial as the Invincibles in Irish history. From a purely historical viewpoint it is important that the Invincibles should be remembered, debated, studied and forensically examined in Irish history, and as the 130 anniversary of their executions draws near, perhaps it is the time for historians to readdress the Invincibles and their relevance within Irish history.
It is my hope that I could work with Irish historians to seek to address the importance of the Invincibles to Victorian Ireland as we approach the 130th anniversary of the execution of the five Invincibles in Kilmainham Gaol. Now is the time for an objective discussion on what they were, who they represented, and essentially what their legacy was in the evolution of Victorian Ireland.
By Shane Kenna. Shane is a PHD student, working on the history of the Fenian movement at Trinity College Dublin.

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

Today we remember and honour Robert Sands who died on this day May 5th 1981

An Inspiration and a Higher Power to me

No words can Describe soldiers such as Bobby

and his 9 comrades….  A hero he lived a hero he died.  Gael Fíor hÉireann
Dear Mum,

 I know you’re always there

To help and guide me with all your care,

You nursed and fed me and made me strong

To face the world and all its wrong.

What can I write to you this day

For a line or two would never pay

For care and time you gave to me

Through long hard years unceasingly.

How you found strength I do not know

How you managed I’ll never know,

Struggling and striving without a break

Always there and never late.

You prayed for me and loved me more

How could I ask for anymore

And reared me up to be like you

But I haven’t a heart as kind as you.

A guide to me in times of plight

A princess like a star so bright

For life would never have been the same

If I hadn’t of learned what small things came.

So forgive me Mum just a little more

For not loving you so much before,

For life and love you gave to me

I give my thanks for eternity.

With many thanks to: Dermot Ryan.