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More raucous scenes as returned prisoners parade across Ireland
Scenes of jubilation on Westland Row as the prisoners return home Photo: National Library of Ireland

More raucous scenes as returned prisoners parade across Ireland

Dublin, 22 June 1917 - Celebrations for the returned prisoners continue with a parades and performances in Dublin city centre, including outside the ruins of the GPO on Sackville Street.

The procession of Countess Markievicz to a reception at Liberty Hall was an emotional occasion and brought an outpouring of jubilation. The marchers waved tricolours and sand the ’Soldier’s Song’.

Countess Markievicz being welcomed home by a large crowd (Image: Courtesy of the Irish Capuchin Provincial Archives)

In Kerry, Austin Stack from Tralee, Thomas Ashe from Dingle and Timothy Brosnan from Castlegregory, arrived back to Killarney, where a procession marched them through the town.

Heading the procession was a republican banner inscribed with the message: ‘We have your felons, but not our martyred dead.’

When Thomas Ashe addressed cheering crowds from a window in Gleeson’s Hotel in Killarney, he said: ‘English prisons have not damped our aims, nor lowered our spirits, and today we stand more firmly for Ireland’s independence, an Ireland whole indivisible, than we ever stood’.

College Street, Killarney, Co. Kerry, where the procession through the town took the released prisoners until they addressed the crowd outside Gleesons Hotel. (Image: National Library of Ireland, OCO 239)

The released prisoners were then taken by car to Tralee.

The other released prisoners began arriving in their hometowns by train all around the country, welcomed by similar crowds and celebrations.

At Ballinagh in County Cavan, a huge crowd cheered to arrival home of Paul Galligan and Seamus O’Sullivan who were released from Lewes Jail. The Drumcrow War Pipers and the Ballinagh Brass and Reed Band headed a procession through the town under green-white-and-orange arches that spanned the street.

Mr Galligan said that before the Rising their flag was called a rag and the Irish Volunteers were sneered at as tin-pike men, but today their cause was resurgent and soon their tricolour would fly over every town in Ireland.

The Irish Times described the celebrations around the return of the released prisoners as a triumph of violence over law.

Meanwhile the Irish Party claimed credit for the prisoner releases, with John Dillon writing that it was entirely down to their representations. This claim is absolutely rejected by Sinn Féin.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.