James Ryan describes his journey to Cork on 22 April 1916 when he brought confirmation of the date for the Rising to the Volunteers in Cork.
At around 4 o'clock on the morning of Saturday 22 April James Ryan set off from Dublin to Cork. He had been asked by Seán MacDiarmada to deliver a message to Tomás MacCurtain, Commanding Officer of the Volunteers in Cork, with details of the Rising which was going to begin the next day. Although he did not know the exact details of the message Ryan knew it was important.
I was to defend the message with my life.
This was Ryan's first time in Cork and when he arrived he had not got the correct address. In his efforts to find MacCurtain he noticed some RIC men. In order not to draw attention to himself he asked for directions to a hotel. They escorted him to the nearby Windsor Hotel and he bought them a drink. Over the course of their conversation they told Ryan of Roger Casement's arrest. The RIC left Ryan and he again set out to find MacCurtain.
Eventually after going through various channels Ryan finally delivered the message to MacCurtain who told Ryan that the date was set for the Rising. MacCurtain's response to Ryan was,
Tell MacDiarmada that we haven't very much ammunition but we'll blaze away as long as it lasts.
Ryan returned to Dublin that evening but he still had work to do. Later that night Eoin MacNeill sent for him and asked Ryan to go back down to Cork with the countermanding order. Obeying the orders of his Chief of Staff Ryan left Dublin almost immediately. Arriving in Cork at 12 o'clock the next day Ryan delivered MacNeill's order which was accepted without question by MacCurtain.
Dr James Ryan was a member of ‘B’ Company, 1st Battalion, Dublin Brigade, Irish Volunteers.
Dr James Ryan was interviewed for the RTÉ Television project 'The Survivors' on 29 March 1965.
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