"Take The Post Office"

Fergus O'Kelly first came into contact with the Plunkett family while he was studying engineering in the National University. At the same time, George Plunkett was studying architecture and through their mutual friend Colm O'Lochlainn they struck up a friendship. O'Kelly soon met Joseph Plunkett who shared his interest in wireless telegraphy and radio and he remembered that Joseph had

A very good appreciation of the importance of radio work in anything that might happen by way of rebellion.

O'Kelly had joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913 but became a member of the IRB by accident. While on a visit to St Enda's school, Rathfarnham he discovered a chest full of home made bombs. This was relayed to Joseph Plunkett who asked O'Kelly to come see him. There was the possibility that O'Kelly would be taken into custody by the IRB, but instead Plunkett invited him to join the IRB and two months before the Rising he was sworn into the organisation in the Plunkett home in Larkfield, Kimmage.  

Describing Plunkett O'Kelly recalls that

He liked to show off a bit...He always struck me as being dedicated to the work he was doing for the coming rebellion in Ireland.  

At the time of the Rising O'Kelly was a member of the Signalling Company, 2nd Battalion, Irish Volunteers attached to Joseph Plunkett's staff. Describing the events of Easter Monday he states that he arrived at Liberty Hall where he saw George Plunkett who was in charge of the Kimmage garrison. The company marched off to O'Connell Street, followed by O'Kelly and Jack Plunkett who were on motorcycles at the time. On reaching the GPO

George gave the order 'Halt' The company left turned and stood to attention and George shouted 'Charge' The men seemed to hesitate and George shouted 'Take the Post Office.'

O'Kelly was ordered by Joseph Plunkett to take six men and occupy the Wireless School opposite the GPO and get the wireless set working so they could broadcast that the Rising had begun. Not only had they to try to get the machine working, they also had to erect the aerial on the roof. While doing this they came under attack from British snipers.

They managed to complete their task and on Tuesday evening they began transmitting and continued to do this until they were forced to evacuate the building on Thursday. 

O'Kelly recalls the bombardment of the GPO on Friday and how they were forced to evacuate. Describing the evacuation he remembers that they had to leave the building under cover of darkness.

Fergus O'Kelly was from Dublin. He joined the Irish Volunteers on their formation in 1913 and was a member of the Signalling Company, 2nd Battalion, Irish Volunteers. He was a member of the IRB and was sworn into the organisation by Joseph Plunkett in February 1916. At the time of the Rising he was appointed to the staff of Joseph Plunkett holding the rank of Lieutenant.

He was arrested after the surrender and was imprisoned in Richmond Barracks, Stafford Prison, England and finally Frongoch Internment Camp in Wales.

Fergus O'Kelly was interviewed for the RTÉ Television project 'Portraits 1916' on 12 December 1965.