"A Succession of Events"


About this Item

Growing up in Navan, memories of Pádraig Pearse, joining the IRB, and the Rising.

  • Title
    The Survivors Desmond Ryan
  • Production Year
  • Contributor
    Brian Farrell (Presenter)
  • Clip Duration
  • Material Type
  • Series title
    The Survivors
  • Clip title
    "A Succession of Events"
  • Extended description

    Desmond Ryan attended Pádraig Pearse's St Enda's school in Dublin. Having completed his education there Ryan went on to study at UCD but stayed living at St Enda's where he taught and acted as a secretary to Pearse. As a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood Desmond Ryan took part in the Easter Rising serving under Pearse's command at the GPO in Dublin.

    In this interview with Brian Farrell, Desmond Ryan describes his childhood in Navan and the influence of his teachers at Westland Row and St Enda's schools. Much of the interview is taken up with Ryan's memories of Pádraig Pearse who he says had a great enthusiasm for the Irish and English languages and his particular interest in the works of Shakespeare. Ryan says Pearse never directly encouraged puplis at St Enda's to become involved in an armed struggle.  

    Desmond Ryan and others joined the IRB while at St Enda's he talks of how younger people were more attracted to this group than the Irish Parliamentary Party. Surprisingly Pearse was not aware that so many at St Enda's had joined the IRB.

    Of the Rising itself Desmond Ryan says he remembers it as, "a succession of events". On Easter Monday he recalls heading to the GPO and seeing British soldiers out strolling with girls and army recruiting posters on the walls.He also describes taking over the GPO and the Lancers on O'Connell Street. His lasting impression is of the fire that grew in the post office as the week went on.        

  • Information

    In the early 1960s Telefís Éireann (RTÉ Television) began to record interviews with individuals who had taken part in the Easter Rising and the War of Independence. These interviews were recorded under the working title of 'The Survivors' under 'a special projects' label. 

    Early in 1965 a group was established to plan how RTÉ would commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. A decision was taken not to broadcast the Survivors interviews as a series.

    Around 14 individuals were interviewed under the Survivors title. The first Survivors interviews were organised by Jack White and recorded at the television studios in Donnybrook on 31 August 1964. Desmond Ryan, Cathal O'Shannon and M.W. O'Reilly were interviewed by Brian Farrell. The studio director was Burt Budin.       

  • Local keywords
    1916, Easter 1916, Easter Rising, Easter 1916, Desmond Ryan, War, Conflict
  • Geographical coverage
  • Topic
    Wars and Conflict
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • Country of production
  • Original identifier
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
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  • Item type
  • Item colour
    Black and White
  • Item sound
  • Aspect ratio
  • Language used
    English (eng)