"I Happened To Be Sentenced To Be Shot, Which Was A Great Surprise To Me"

Maurice Brennan was a member of 'B' Company, 1st Battalion, Irish Volunteers and fought in Cabra during the Rising. He was arrested during the week near Mountjoy Gaol and was brought to Richmond Barracks after the surrender.

He was held in the same room as Éamonn Ceannt, Commanding Officer of the 4th Battalion in Richmond Barracks. Brennan says that although he had seen Ceannt many times before this was the first time he actually spoke to him. 

He tried to cheer us up by saying 'Whatever happens you I'll be executed, but I think that they won't go that far with you'.

The men were tried by court martial and taken to Kilmainham Gaol to await their sentence. Brennan talks about the last time he saw Ceannt. It was on the morning of Sunday 7 May while attending mass in the chapel in Kilmainham Gaol. Also there were Michael Mallin, Seán Heuston and Con Colbert. Later that day their sentences were delivered,

The officers came along and your sentence was read out to you. I  happened to be sentenced to be shot, which was a great surprise to me.

Unlike Ceannt, Brennan's sentence was commuted. He was transported to England and was imprisoned in Portland, Lewes, Parkhurst and Pentonville Prisons. Éamonn Ceannt, Michael Mallin, Seán Heuston and Con Colbert were all executed on Monday 8 May 1916.

Maurice Brennan was released from prison in June 1917 and rejoined his company. He took the anti-Treaty side during the Irish Civil War. He died in 1972. He was seventy-nine years old.

Maurice Brennan was interviewed for the RTÉ  Television project 'Portraits 1916' on 16 January 1966.