"I Didn't Know Any Of Them Had Been Killed"

Richard Humphreys was the nephew of Michael 'The' O'Rahilly, one of the founding members of the Irish Volunteers. He was born in Limerick but after his father's death, his mother Nell, sister of 'The' O'Rahilly moved to Dublin with her young family. Richard attended St Enda's, the school set up by Patrick Pearse from 1910 until 1912. As he recalls St Enda's 'was a completely different sensation to anything I'd ever experienced in school before.'

The boys were treated as individuals and were taught fencing and boxing. Con Colbert, Captain, Na Fianna Éireann and later 4th Battalion, Irish Volunteers instructed the boys in rifle practice and was greatly admired by the students as was Thomas MacDonagh. He recalls many of their activities in St Enda's including the plays and pageants that were held regularly.

Describing what Pearse was like as a teacher Richards states that

He was absolutely outstanding. He had a magnetic quality. You couldn't deny everything he said was what you should do and what you're aim in life should be.

Looking back Richard says that he was preparing the students for what was to come, they didn't realise it at the time.  

On Easter Monday Richard joined his uncle 'The' O'Rahilly in the GPO and served under Desmond Fitzgerald in the Commissariat. On Friday he helped to remove the wounded from the building and did not return. 'The' O'Rahilly led the charge out of the GPO later that day and was fatally wounded by British soldiers who had a machine gun at a barricade covering Moore Street.

Richard was arrested but only heard of his uncle's death two days later. He was deported to England but on his release he rejoined the Republican movement and during the War of Independence he was a member of 'B' Company, 3rd Battalion, IRA. He was imprisoned during the War of Independence. Richard Humphreys however did not take part in the Irish Civil War.

Richard Humphreys was interviewed for the RTÉ Television project 'Portraits 1916' on 2 January 1966.