"I Seen Men Crying With The Surrender"

Tom Kearney joined the Irish Volunteers on their formation in 1913. He was a member of 'E' Company, 4th Battalion. 

Kearney describes the Howth gun running in July 1914. Although Na Fianna and the 1st and 2nd Battalions, Irish Volunteers removed the guns, the 3rd and 4th Battalions were ordered to go to the countryside and engage in a mock battle as a diversion. Éamonn Ceannt was present on that day.

In the lead up to the Easter Rising Kearney recalls that he and his comrades were engaged in bringing weapons and supplies from St Enda's in to Liberty Hall. 

Patrick Pearse was originally the Commanding Officer of 'E' Company and would regularly inspect the men while drilling out at the the Old Mill on Whitechurch Road, Rathfarnham.

On Easter Monday morning, 'E' Company made their way from Rathfarnham into the city centre by tram. There was commotion near Jacob's and the tram driver refused to go any further so Eamon Bulfin, also a member of 'E' Company drove the tram full of his comrades as far as College Green and they walked from there to Liberty Hall. A short time later they set out for the General Post Office.

Kearney saw Pearse read the Proclamation outside the GPO

He stood in front of the GPO and read the Proclamation...There wasn't a big crowd there. 

Kearney was one a party of Volunteers sent to Annesley Bridge on Monday. They came under attack from the British forces arriving into the city and returned to the GPO Tuesday night where Kearney fought for the rest of the week. As he recalls most of 'E' Company were sent to defend the roof of the building

I suppose the worst position you could be in...The first place you'd be hit would be the roof. 

Kearney describes the reaction of the men when Pearse delivered the surrender on Saturday 29 April. Many wanted to fight on. Eventually they obeyed Pearse's order and were marched from Moore Street to O'Connell Street where they had to dump their arms outside the Gresham Hotel. Then they marched to the Rotunda Hospital where they spent the night outside on the grass in front of the building. The following day they were marched to Richmond Barracks, and from there Tom Kearney was sent to Stafford Prison and Frongoch.

On his release Kearney rejoined 'E' Company and during the War of Independence he was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He took the pro-Treaty side during the Irish Civil War and was a member of the National Army. 

Tom Kearney died in 1969, he was seventy-three years old. 

Tom Kearney was interviewed for the RTÉ Television project 'Portraits 1916' on 12 December 1965.