Maura O'Neill recalls how she ended up serving in the GPO during Easter Week and what it was like in the building during the bombardment and her subsequent arrest by the British military.

Maura O’Neill, née May Gibney, was not a member of Cumann na mBan at the time of the Easter Rising. Maura had a friend who was a member of the Volunteers. She was aware that something big was going to happen but like most people she did not know when or where. On Easter Monday she was strolling along Great Denmark Street, near her home when a party of Volunteers marched passed her. Sensing that 'this was it' Maura followed the Volunteers. As she simple says, 'I went where they were going'.

The Volunteers made their way to the GPO. Maura watched from across the street and saw the Volunteers inside the building barricading the windows. Maura recalls that after a while,

I just walked straight over to that side door and I knocked there and a Volunteer in uniform opened the door and I asked could I speak to Mr Pearse.

Maura knew her friend would be out and wanted to find out where he was posted. On telling Pearse he informed her that he was most likely in Jacob's Biscuit Factory with Thomas MacDonagh. Instead of leaving Maura asked Pearse could she stay and help in the GPO.

He asked me what could I do, I said "I'd do anything".

Maura was allowed to stay. One of her main duties was to feed the prisoners who were held in the basement of the building. Despite the fact that as the week wore on the GPO was being bombarded by the British military, Maura recalls that the atmosphere in the GPO was one of excitement, 'There was no fear'. 

Maura became close friends with Kathleen Murphy. Murphy was a member of the Liverpool Branch, Cumann na mBan. She and a number of women had come over from Liverpool shortly before the Rising pretending they were on holiday. Despite the fact that the building was being targeted very heavily Maura and Kathleen, exhausted, managed to fall asleep.

 J.J. Walsh came over later on and he put coats over us.

Maura O’Neill remained in the GPO until Friday when the women were ordered by Patrick Pearse to evacuate the wounded to the nearby Jervis Street Hospital. However when they reached the hospital the women were refused shelter and were forced to try to make their way home through the gun battles that were raging all around the city. When the got to Capel Street they met the military and were taken prisoner. The women were marched to Broadstone Railway Station and questioned. The authorities, unsure of what to with the women released them after a few hours. 

Maura O'Neill joined the Central Branch, Cumann na mBan in September 1916. During the War of Independence she carried out intelligence work for Michael Collins and Dick McKee, O/C Dublin Brigade, IRA. Her home in Temple Street was used as an arms dump for the IRA and she carried out any other duties that were asked of her. Maura fought with the anti-Treaty forces during the Civil War and was imprisoned for her activities. Maura O'Neill died in 1984, she was ninety years old.

Maura O'Neill was interviewed for the television series 'Ireland A Television History' in 1979.