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The Men & Women of 1916: The Rebels Part 1

Thomas Ashe
Thomas Ashe was born in 1885 at Kinard, Lispole, Co. Kerry. He trained to become a teacher at De La Salle College, Waterford, and was appointed as principal of Corduff national school in Co. Dublin in 1908. A native Irish speaker, he sat on the national governing body of the Gaelic League and was also heavily involved in radical nationalism as a member of both the Irish Volunteers and the IRB. He was served as commandant of the 5th (Fingal) Battalion of the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers, whom he led during the Easter Rising. Initially engaging in small ambushes and acts of sabotage, the battalion later launched an attack on the RIC barracks in Ashbourne, forcing the local police forces into surrender. Ashe was arrested and sentenced to death for his role in the Rising, though this sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. As one of the most senior figures to survive the Rising, Ashe’s influence grew exponentially amongst his fellow prisoners. Following his release in June 1917, he became president of the Supreme Council of the IRB and set about trying to reorganise the Irish Volunteers, but was arrested in August under the Defence of the Realm Act. While in Mountjoy Prison, he organised a hunger strike in an attempt to obtain 'prisoner of war' status for himself and fellow republican prisoners. On 25 September, five days into the hunger strike, he died after being force-fed. His death at the age of 33 became a focal point in nationalist propaganda for years to come.

Piaras Béaslaí
Born to Irish parents in Liverpool, Piaras Béaslaí moved to Dublin in 1906 to pursue a career in journalism. He wrote columns, articles and reviews for the Evening Telegraph and the Freeman’s Journal, amongst other publications. A committed Irish language activist, he founded the Fáinne movement in February 1916. By that stage, he was also an active member of the IRB and Irish Volunteers. He was on the Executive of the latter organisation, also holding the position of deputy commanding officer of the 1st Battalion of the Dublin Brigade. During Easter week, he was based at 'Reilly’s Fort', on the corner of North King Street and Church Street and was also involved in transporting bombs and ammunition to the Four Courts. Following the Rising, he served time in Portland and Lewes prisons, and was subsequently elected as a Sinn Féin MP for Kerry East in 1918. He worked as publicity officer for the Dáil and as editor of An tÓglach during the War of Independence, twice escaping prison over the course of the conflict. He supported the implementation of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and served as the chief press censor for the Free State Army during the Civil War. Béaslaí left politics in 1923, turning his attention to writing. In addition to articles, poems, plays and short stories, he completed the official biography of Michael Collins in 1926. He remained active in the Irish language movement for the rest of his life.

Gerald Boland
Born in Manchester, Gerald Boland moved to Dublin with his family as a child in the 1880s. Along with his younger brothers Harry and Edmund, and surviving sister Kathleen, Gerald inherited a strong interest in Irish nationalism from his parents, and was sworn in to the IRB in 1904. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913, becoming first lieutenant of B Company in the 2nd Battalion of the Dublin Brigade. Despite missing the initial mobilisation order on Easter Monday, Boland joined his battalion at Jacob’s Factory, where he helped to tunnel through the walls into Kelly’s pub to gain a broader view of their surroundings. He was interned in Knutsford and Frongoch prison camps, before being released in December 1916. He held a variety of commanding positions in the War of Independence and also participated in the Civil War, opposing the Treaty in the latter conflict. Following the death of Harry in 1923, Gerald took his Roscommon South seat in the Dáil. Whilst interned in Kilmainham Gaol, he took part in the forty day hunger strike staged by republican prisoners between October and November 1923, insisting that he was helped through the experience by his yoga regime. A critic of abstentionism, Gerald was a founding member of Fianna Fáil and held a number of different portfolios during the party’s various periods in office. He was twice appointed to the position of Minister for Justice and was noted for taking a harsh line against the IRA. He lost his seat to Brian Lenihan in 1961 and retired from politics in 1969 after a brief period in the Seanad.

Harry Boland
Henry James ('Harry') Boland was born in Dublin in 1887, following his parents’ relocation to the city from Manchester earlier in the decade. Harry was a keen participant in the GAA and represented Dublin in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final of 1909. Boland, along with his brothers Gerald and Edmund, was also a member of the IRB and was a founding member of the Irish Volunteers. During Easter week he was stationed at Goulding’s Manure Works and later Gibney’s Wine Merchants, before finally relocating to the GPO on Wednesday. He was one of the last people to leave the rebels’ headquarters, having assisted Diarmuid Lynch in disabling explosives in the basement. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, serving time in Mountjoy, Dartmoor, Lewes, and Maidstone prisons. He rose to prominence during his imprisonment and, following his release, became a central figure in the republican movement. He sat on the Sinn Féin executive and became president of the IRB in 1918. He was a key strategist in Sinn Féin’s successful election campaign in of 1918, himself winning the Roscommon South seat for the party. He was firm friends with Michael Collins, with whom he collaborated to help Éamon de Valera escape from Lincoln Jail in February 1919. He later accompanied de Valera during his trip to America and became a leading figure of the anti-Treaty side during the Civil War. He was shot during an ambush by government forces on the Grand Hotel in Skerries, Co. Dublin, and died from his wounds a day later on 1 August 1922.

Robert Brennan
A journalist and employee of Wexford County Council, Robert Brennan was involved in the Gaelic League, Sinn Féin and the IRB prior to the Easter Rising. After receiving a message from James Connolly on the Wednesday of Easter week, 1916, Brennan mobilised the local Volunteers, along with members of Fianna Éireann and Cumann na mBan, and seized Enniscorthy. The railway line and surrounding roads were blocked, the intention being to obstruct possible British Army reinforcements arriving from Rosslare. Brennan narrowly avoided the death penalty, and was instead imprisoned in England. Despite being released in June 1917, he spent a large portion of the subsequent years in prison. When not in detainment, he was involved in the reorganisation of the Irish Volunteers and Sinn Féin during these years, taking charge of the latter’s publicity bureau. He served as under-secretary for foreign affairs for Dáil Eireann from 1921 until January 1922, when he left the post after the acceptance of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. A supporter of Fianna Fáil, he was the first general manager of the Irish Press and later reentered diplomatic service when Éamon de Valera dispatched him to Washington D.C. in 1934. He was appointed as the Irish Minister to the United States of America four years later, playing an important role during the strained relations between the two countries over the course of the Second World War. Outside of his military and diplomatic careers, Brennan is probably best known for his writings, which include novels, memoirs, and columns in the Irish Press.

W.J. Brennan-Whitmore
A former sergeant with the Royal Irish Regiment, William James Brennan-Whitmore left the British Army in 1907 and became involved in Irish nationalism, joining the Gaelic League, Sinn Féin and, later, the Irish Volunteers. He was made adjutant of the North Wexford Brigade in 1914 and, just weeks before the Rising, was appointed as a general staff officer. Along with Michael Collins, he acted as an aide to Joseph Plunkett at the beginning of Easter week, and was later stationed at North Earl St. Using the Pillar Cafe as his base, he established a 'string and can' communication system across Sackville Street from the Imperial Hotel to the GPO. He was wounded, captured and later interned at Frongoch prison camp, where he counted Collins, Richard Mulcahy and J.J. O’Connell amongst his acquaintances. He fought both the War of Independence and the Civil War in Wexford, a supporter of the Treaty on the latter occasion. He also performed intelligence work during these years, and became editor of An tÓglach in 1923. He left the army in 1927, retiring to his native Wexford, where he established a farm, a newspaper, and a printing business. His memoirs, including With the Irish in Frongoch (1917) and Dublin burning: the Easter rising from behind the barricades (1961), recount his experiences during the revolutionary years.

Cathal Brugha
Born into a strongly nationalist family, Cathal Brugha displayed a passion for Gaelic culture and sport in his early years. He joined the IRB in 1908 and later became adjutant of the 4th Dublin Battalion of the Irish Volunteers shortly after its formation, participating in the Howth Gun Running in July 1914. He was vice-commandant under Éamonn Ceannt at the South Dublin Union during Easter week. On Thursday 27 April, he was isolated and severely injured by a grenade blast, yet continued to repel advancing British soldiers. In the aftermath of the Rising, he set about reorganising the Volunteers, serving as the organisation’s chief of staff between October 1917 and April 1919. He was elected as TD for Waterford and, with Éamon de Valera and Arthur Griffith imprisoned, was chosen as acting president for the First Dáil in January 1919. Upon de Valera’s return, he took up the position of Minister for Defence, yet struggled to match Michael Collins' influence over the IRA during the War of Independence. He spent much of the period on the run, whilst still maintaining his position as a travelling salesman for Lalor’s candle-making firm. A staunch republican, he opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and joined fellow anty-Treatyites in Upper O’Connell Street during the opening days of the Civil War. With the hotel he was based in coming under heavy fire, Brugha charged out onto the street and was shot. He died from his wounds two days later, and is buried at Glasnevin cemetery.

Frank Burke
One of the first pupils at St. Enda’s College, Rathfarnham, Frank Burke was a favourite of Patrick Pearse, who remarked that he had 'the daring of Cúchulainn'. Burke followed Pearse into the IRB and was a co-founding member of the Irish Volunteers in 1913. Along with other past pupils of St. Enda’s, he enrolled in E Company of the 4th Dublin Battalion, and helped to manufacture explosives and munitions in advance of the Easter Rising. During Easter week, he was stationed in the GPO, taking up a position 'beneath the tri-colour at the Prince’s Street corner', as he later recalled. After internment at Stafford Jail, he returned to Dublin to assume a teaching post at St. Enda’s, where he later became principal. He enjoyed remarkable success on the sporting field, winning three All-Ireland Football Championships and two All-Ireland Hurling Championships with Dublin, as well as four Dublin County Championships with his club, the Collegians. He was also present in Croke Park on Bloody Sunday, 21 November 1921, as part of the Dublin team which played Tipperary. He took part in a number of operations during the War of Independence, including arms raids and attacks on police barracks, and rose to the position of second lieutenant of E Company.

Áine Ceannt
Frances Mary O’Brennan first adopted the name Proinseas, and later Áine Ní Bhraonáin after joining the Gaelic League, which she described as a 'Mecca' for young Irish people. It was in this organisation that she met Éamonn Ceannt, who she married in June 1905. Along with her sister Elizabeth O’Brennan, Áine was a founding member of Cumann na mBan in April 1914. Her and Éamonn’s house on Dolphin’s Terrace hosted Military Council meetings in advance of the Rising, and she herself was involved in writing and sending dispatches, as well as helping to hide Liam Mellows upon his return to Ireland. After spending Easter week at Cathal Brugha’s house with her son Ronan, she visited her husband in Kilmainham Gaol on 5 May. She later recalled the experience, describing a 'cell with no seating accommodation and no bedding, not even a bed of straw... A sergeant stood at the door while we spoke, and we could say very little...' She saw Éamonn once more before his execution on 8 May. Ceannt continued to be prominent in Cumann na mBan and Sinn Féin circles after the Rising, and her house was raided 11 times during the War of Independence. She took the anti-Treaty side during the Civil War, but was most active in the Sinn Féin peace committee which attempted to resolve the conflict. Despite this, her house was once again a frequent target for raids, this time by the Free State Army. She was committed to humanitarian causes, and served on the executive committees of both the Irish White Cross and Irish Red Cross.

Michael Collins
Michael Collins was born at Woodfield in West Cork in 1890, the youngest child in a family of eight children. He moved to London after leaving school, where he became involved in the GAA and the Gaelic League. He was sworn into the IRB in 1909 and joined the Irish Volunteers in 1914. He returned to Ireland in 1916 and acted as Joseph Plunkett’s aide-de-camp, following him into the GPO during the Easter Rising. Despite his lack of official standing, his charisma and strength of personality enhanced his stature in Frongoch prison camp, and he emerged as a leader in the years to come. Elected as a representative of Cork South in 1918, he served as Minister for Finance in the First Dáil, replacing Eoin MacNeill in April 1919, and briefly acted as President of the Dáil in 1920 before Éamon de Valera’s return from America. He also assumed a leading role in the IRB, especially when it came to the intelligence operations of the IRA during the War of Independence. He recruited a number of agents from the civil service and assembled the notorious Squad, a group of IRB gunmen who set about assassinating British intelligence officers. Highly sought after by the authorities, his popularity amongst the public and influence within the IRA grew exponentially as the conflict progressed. Upon the declaration of a truce, he formed part of the Irish delegation to negotiate the Anglo-Irish Treaty in London, which he supported as a means to establishing greater independence. He was made Chairman of the Provisional Government in 1922 and took command of the Army during the Civil War. He was killed during an ambush at Béal na mBlath in Co. Cork on 22 August, 1923. He was buried at Glasnevin cemetery after a State funeral.

Seán Connolly
Connolly was born in Dublin in 1883. He worked for Eason’s and was a regular actor at the Abbey Theatre, appearing in plays throughout the first few months of 1916. Connolly was a member of the Gaelic League and had joined the Irish Citizen Army where he held the rank of captain. On Easter Monday Connolly led the 2nd Company of the ICA. Initially he led them in an attempt to take Dublin Castle but this failed, and they took control of City Hall instead. On entering the building Connolly and his company moved to the roof of the building. Once there Connolly went to raise a flag but was shot by a sniper and died. He was initially buried in the grounds of Dublin Castle, but on 19 May was formally buried at Glasnevin Cemetery.

Philip Cosgrave
The younger brother of W.T. Cosgrave, Philip Cosgrave was born in Dublin in 1884. He attended the first meeting of Sinn Féin at the Rotunda in 1905, along with his brother and uncle P.J. He joined the 4th Dublin Battalion of the Irish Volunteers in 1914 and was stationed at the Marrowbone Lane distillery and the South Dublin Union during the Easter Rising. Following the surrender, he was arrested and placed in the cell beside his brother in Kilmainham Gaol. He was sentenced to death, but this was reduced to five years of penal servitude and he was imprisoned at Dartmoor and Lewes jails before being released in 1917. During the War of Independence, he acted as quartermaster of the IRA’s 4th Dublin Battalion, and was elected as a Sinn Féin MP for Dublin North West in 1921. He won a Dublin South seat for Cumann na nGaedheal in the 1923 election, but died suddenly in October of that year.

William Thomas Cosgrave
Born in 1880, by the time W.T. Cosgrave signed up to the Irish Volunteers in 1913, he was already an elected member of the Dublin Corporation, representing Sinn Féin. Cosgrave rose to the position of lieutenant in the 4th Dublin Battalion of the Volunteers and participated in the Howth gun running in July 1914. He was stationed in the South Dublin Union during the Easter Rising, an area he knew well having grown up nearby. His knowledge was utilised by Éamonn Ceannt and Cathal Brugha, who redeployed men according to his advice. He was court-martialled following the surrender and placed in Kilmainham Gaol to await execution. He later recalled seeing Major John MacBride being removed from an adjacent cell: 'Through a chink in the door I could barely discern the receding figures; silence for a time; then the sharp crack of rifle fire and silence again. I thought my turn would come next and waited for a rap on the door.' His death sentence was, however, reduced to life imprisonment, and he was released in 1917. He reentered politics as a Sinn Féin MP for Kilkenny and was made the Minister for Local Government in the Dáil. As the holder of the casting vote in the Dáil cabinet, his support of the Anglo-Irish Treaty was critical, and following the sudden deaths of Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins in August 1923, he became the Chairman of the Provisional Government and leader of Cumann na nGaedheal. Cosgrave became President of the Irish Free State upon its establishment in December 1923, leading the newly established dominion in its first decade of existence until Fianna Fáil came to power in 1932.

Éamon de Valera
Born in New York to a Spanish father and an Irish mother, Éamon de Valera moved to his mother’s ancestral home of Bruree in Co. Clare while still a child. He joined the Gaelic League and later the Irish Volunteers in Dublin, meeting his wife Sinéad in the former organisation. After the Volunteers’ split in September 1914, de Valera rose to the position of Commandant of the 3rd Dublin Battalion. The Battalion commandeered Boland’s Mill in the Easter Rising, and while they saw little action, their attack on the Sherwood Forresters at Mount Street Bridge was one of the rebels’ most successful operations of the week. Court-martialled and narrowly avoiding the fulfilment of his death penalty, de Valera was interned in a number of English prisons. By the time of his release in 1917, he had become the leading figure in the reemerging republican movement. He won the East Clare by-election for Sinn Féin and, despite being imprisoned once again, he was elected as President of the First Dáil in 1919. After escaping from Lincoln Jail, he journeyed to America to raise funds and support for Sinn Féin, and upon returning to Ireland, he negotiated a truce with British Prime Minister David Lloyd George in July 1921, but did not form part of the delegation that negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty at the end of the year. His opposition to the eventual Treaty was a key factor in splitting Sinn Féin and creating an atmosphere for Civil War. As the republican’s position became untenable in April 1923, de Valera issued a peace proclamation to end the conflict. He founded Fianna Fáil in 1926 and led the party into government in 1932. His drafting of the Irish Constitution in 1937 and the signing of the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement in 1938 were the culmination of his efforts to create an Irish republic out of the Free State. He remained as Taoiseach until 1948 and, after two further terms in office, was elected President of Ireland, holding the position from 1959 until 1973, two years before his death at the age of 92.

Eamonn Duggan
A native of Longwood, Co. Meath, Eamonn Duggan worked as a solicitor in Dublin, where he joined A Company of the 1st Dublin Battalion of the Irish Volunteers. He was stationed at the North Dublin Union and the Father Mathew Hall during the Easter Rising, and afterwards was interned in Portland, Lewes, and Maidstone jails. He resumed his law career upon his release in 1917, and was elected as a Sinn Féin MP for Meath South in 1918. He also participated in the War of Independence, acting as the IRA’s Director of Intelligence until his imprisonment in November 1920. He was a key figure in organising a truce, liaising with British civil servants whilst in prison and later accompanying Éamon de Valera during his meetings with David Lloyd George. He also formed part of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations in 1921, where he again played an important role in liaising British officials. He held a number of ministerial posts in the Cumann na nGaedhal government, before transferring to the Seanad in 1933, where he held a seat until his death in June 1936.

Frank Fahy
Born in Loughrea, Co. Galway in 1879, Frank Fahy trained as a teacher was heavily involved in the Gaelic League and the GAA as a young man. He was also a founding member of the Irish Volunteers, and served as Captain of C Company in the 1st Dublin Battalion, which occupied the Four Courts during the Easter Rising. He was imprisoned for his part in the Rising, and later again in connection with the 'German Plot'. He was elected in the Galway South constituency during the 1918 general election, also maintaining a teaching position and participating in the War of Independence during these years. An opponent of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, he joined Fianna Fáil in 1926 and held on to his Dáil seat for a total of thirty-five years- serving as Ceann Comhairle between 1932 and 1951- until his death in 1953.

Madeleine Ffrench-Mullen
The daughter of a Royal Navy surgeon, Madeleine Ffrench-Mullen was born in Malta and raised in Dundrum, Co. Dublin. A member of the feminist group Inghinidhe na hÉireann, she oversaw the children’s column in the organisation’s Bean na hÉireann journal. She later became involved in the labour movement, working in a soup kitchen and raising funds during the 1913 Lockout. Ffrench-Mullen was an officer with the Irish Citizen Army and participated in the Easter Rising, stationed St Stephen’s Green and the Royal College of Surgeons. She took charge of the first aid tent, amongst other duties, and was promoted to sergeant over the course of the fighting. Following the surrender, she was briefly imprisoned in Richmond Barracks and Kilmainham Gaol. She renewed her position as a prominent advocate of social causes in the years following the Rising and, along with her close friend Kathleen Lynn, established St Ultan’s Children’s Hospital, also known as Teach Ultain, on Charlemont St. in 1919. Although she became active within Sinn Féin, Teach Ultain took over most of her time. She died the day after the celebration of its 25th anniversary, on 26 May 1944.

Desmond Fitzgerald
Thomas Joseph (better known as Desmond) Fitzgerald was born and raised in London, where he became involved in the Imagist poetry movement as a young man, associating with Ezra Pound, amongst others. In 1913, along with his wife Mabel, a staunch republican from a unionist family, he moved to Kerry where he helped to organise the local branch of the Irish Volunteers. He was arrested numerous times under the Defence of the Realm Act during these years, but was released in time to enter the GPO on Easter Monday 1916, where he took charge of the food supply. Interned after the Rising in Dartmoor and Maidstone prisons, and later imprisoned again in relation to the 'German plot', Fitzgerald was elected as a Sinn Féin MP for the Pembroke constituency in Dublin in 1918. He was appointed as director of publicity for Dáil Éireann, overseeing much of the republican propaganda produced during the War of Independence, including the publication of the Irish Bulletin. He assisted the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations and supported the resulting Treaty, despite Mabel’s opposition. He continued his publicity duties for the Cumann na nGaedheal government, and later served as Minister for External affairs and Minister for Defence. He held his seat until 1937, and died 10 years later at his home in Airfield, Co. Dublin. His son Garret also entered politics, becoming leader of Fine Gael and enjoying two terms of office as Taoiseach in the 1980s.

Peter Galligan
Galligan was a member of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He cycled from Dublin to Enniscorthy in Easter week with a message from James Connolly telling the Volunteers of the town to rise. He was active throughout the week in Enniscorthy, and was arrested shortly after the garrison had disbanded. He was imprisoned and was later elected Sinn Féin MP for Cavan West in the 1918 election. As he was in prison he did not sit in the first Dáil. He was elected for Cavan at the 1921 elections and supported the Treaty. At the 1922 election he retired from politics.

Richard Hayes
A classmate of Éamon de Valera in Bruree national school, Richard Hayes qualified as a doctor in 1905. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913, becoming Commandant of the 5th Battalion. He stepped down from his position in 1916, allowing Thomas Ashe to lead the battalion during the Easter Rising. He was involved in attacks on RIC barracks during Easter week, and also treated the wounded on both sides during the attack in Ashbourne. After serving time in various English prisons, he was elected in the Limerick East constituency as a Sinn Féin representative in the 1918 general election. He supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty, but ultimately retired from politics in 1923. He continued to work as a doctor, but also served as a film censor and as Director of the Abbey Theatre.

Bulmer Hobson
Hobson was born in Belfast in 1883. He joined the IRB in 1904 in Belfast, and in 1907 moved to Dublin. He founded Fianna Éireann in 1909, and in 1911 became editor of Irish Freedom. He joined the IRB Supreme Council in 1911 and was a prime mover in the foundation of the Irish Volunteers. Hobson reluctantly supported John Redmond’s leadership of the Volunteers in 1914, and this caused a schism between him and the radicals in the IRB. As a result Hobson resigned from the Supreme Council of the IRB. Hobson was excluded from the planning for the Easter Rising, and during Easter weekend he was kidnapped by the IRB in order to prevent him spreading news of MacNeill’s countermanding order. Hobson took no part in the Rising and effectively ceased political activity in 1916. After independence he worked as a civil servant and died in 1969.

Garrett Holohan
Along with his younger brother Patrick, Garry Holohan joined the Fianna in 1910. Both were inducted into the IRB in 1912 and took part in the Howth and Kilcoole gun runnings two years later. The brothers were part of the group of Fianna and Irish Volunteers who attacked the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park at the beginning of the Easter Rising, stealing arms and ammunition, as well as setting off fires and minor explosions. They later joined up with the Volunteers under Ned Daly’s command and Garry was largely based in the Church Street and Richmond Hospital area for the rest of the Rising. Interned in Knutsford barracks and Frongoch prison camp, Garry took the role of Quartermaster General of the Fianna following his release. He also served as an officer in the 5th Battalion of the IRA’s Dublin Brigade during the War of Independence, taking part in the destruction on the Irish Independent’s newspaper plant in December 1920. An opponent of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Holohan also participated in the republican attack on the Freeman’s Journal in March 1922 and later fought in the Gresham Hotel at the beginning of the Civil War. He was wounded, captured, and interned by the Government until December 1923.

Tom Kenny
Kenny was a blacksmith in Craughwell, County Galway. He was the head of Sinn Féin in the area and also a member of the IRB. He was active in the area on the land issue and believed in the radical redistribution of land holdings to Irish farmers. Kenny was active throughout East Galway during Easter week. Throughout the week he is said to have argued with Liam Mellows over tactics, with Kenny demanding further attacks on the buildings and animals of major landowners. On 29 April the Galway garrison decided to disband. Kenny made his way to Boston and evaded arrest. He returned to Ireland in 1923.

Noel Lemass
Noel Lemass was born in Capel Street Dublin, in 1897, the eldest of seven children. A member of the 3rd Dublin Battalion of the Irish Volunteers, he and his brother Seán were on their way to join their battalion in Boland’s Mill on Easter Monday 1916 when they were called into the rebels’ headquarters at the General Post Office. Noel was stationed to the Imperial Hotel and was wounded whilst returning from a dispatch to the GPO. After three months of imprisonment, he rejoined the Volunteers, becoming captain of E company in his old battalion. He spent a large part of the War of Independence in prison, serving time in Mountjoy, Kilmainham Gaol, and the Rath camp. He worked as an intelligence officer for the anti-Treaty IRA during the Civil War, though again was detained for a great deal of the conflict before managing to escape to England. Returning to Ireland after the ceasefire, he was abducted on 3 July 1923 and his body was found, badly beaten and with three bullet wounds, four months later. No one was ever charged for his murder. His brother Seán later served as Taoiseach between 1959 and 1966.

Diarmuid Lynch
Born in Cork in 1878, Diarmuid Lynch emigrated to New York in 1896, where he joined a variety of Irish associations, including the Philo-Celtic Society and Gaelic League. He played leading roles in both organisations before returning to Ireland and joining the IRB in 1908. He served as Munster representative on the Supreme Council and helped to raise funds in America and organise gun smuggling activities. Lynch was stationed at the GPO during the Easter Rising, serving as aide-de-camp for James Connolly and undertaking a number of other tasks. He was detained in Kilmainham Gaol, where, as he later recalled, 'a warder unceremoniously cuffed and pushed a couple of our men through the doorway. My protest against such treatment of 'prisoners of War' was answered by a baton on the jaw'. Initially sentenced to death, his punishment was reduced to 10 years of penal servitude and he was placed in Pentonville and Lewes prisons. He resumed his position on the Supreme Council of the IRB upon his release, but was soon rearrested and deported to America. In the same year, and in spite of his absence, Lynch was elected as a Sinn Féin MP, although he resigned his post two years later as a result of a dispute between Éamon de Valera and the Friends of Irish Freedom, the American society of which he was secretary. He operated an insurance business in New York before returning to Ireland in 1932, eventually settling in his home place of Tracton, Co. Cork.

David Kent
David Kent first came to public attention as one of four brothers from a farm family in Castlelyons, Co. Cork who were arrested under charges of conspiring to evade payment of rent. He served a sentence of nine months and, after his involvement in the land movement ended with the Parnell split in 1891, he joined the local branch of the Irish Volunteers alongside his brothers when the organisation was formed in 1913. In the aftermath of the Easter Rising, the RIC arrived at the Kents’ home in order to arrest the brothers, who refused to cooperate, resulting in a shoot-out in which David was wounded. His brother Richard and Constable William Rowe of the RIC were killed. Thomas Kent, another brother of David, was later executed for Rowe’s murder. After a trial that had been delayed by his injuries, David was also sentenced to death, but this was commuted to five years imprisonment, and he served time in Dartmoor, Lewes, and Pentonville. In December 1918 he was elected to the Dáil as a representative of the Cork East constituency. He participated in both the War of Independence and the Civil War, fighting on the anti-Treaty side on the latter occasion. He did not join Fianna Fáil upon its establishment in 1926 and won a seat for Sinn Féin in the June 1927 general election. He was elected again in September, but did not take his seat.

Fionán Lynch
A native of Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry, Fionán Lynch worked as a teacher in Dublin, where he was sworn in to the IRB and co-founded Na hAisteoirí, a theatre group dedicated to producing plays in Irish. He later joined the Irish Volunteers, becoming Captain of F Company in the 1st Dublin Battalion. After briefly leaving the Volunteers in order to maintain his teaching job, he rejoined before Easter 1916 and was put in charge of keeping Bulmer Hobson under armed guard over the Easter weekend, something which he later described as a 'most unpleasant duty'. He participated in the Rising itself, setting up a barricade on Upper Church Street and later took part in intense fighting in the North King Street area. Imprisoned a number of times over the following years, he was elected as a Sinn Féin TD for Kerry South in December 1918. He aided the Irish delegation as an assistant secretary during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations of 1921 and held the position of Minister for Education in the subsequent provisional government. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Lynch served as a vice-commandant of the south-western division, operating in his native Kerry. He continued as a TD until 1944, when he was appointed as a circuit court judge, a position he held until his retirement in 1959.


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