• 26cm x 33cm  Ferns Co Wexford An anxious looking Wexford defence prepare as Christy Ring takes a in the 1956 All Ireland Hurling Final.The result would be forever known simply as " The Save ". Art Foley, who died on Monday last in New York, will be remembered for a save he made in the closing stages of the 1956 All-Ireland hurling final that had seismic and far-reaching consequences. It formed an instrumental part of a metamorphic sequence of play in a terrific contest with Cork, leading to one of the game's most epic finales. With three minutes left the ever-threatening Christy Ring gained possession and made for the Wexford goal. The finer points of what happened next are still in dispute. The main thread of the narrative is not. Ring let fly and the diminutive Foley in Wexford's goal was equal to it. He needed to be. His side led by two points, and a goal, especially one by Ring, would surely have inspired a Cork victory. Ring would have had his ninth medal. Wexford hurling might not be the beguiling and romanticised entity it is today.
    In the game's pivotal moment, the ball quickly travelled down the other end where Tom Ryan sent a raking handpass to Nickey Rackard. In a piece of perfect casting, the greatest name in Wexford hurling landed the deathblow, netting with a low shot to the corner. Wexford were already champions, having defeated Galway in the final a year before to end a 45-year wait. But to beat Cork gave them a status they'd never attained before and wrote them into everlasting legend. The death of Foley at 90 ended a significant chapter for that storied era, he being the last surviving member of the team that won the final in '56 and which started the '55 decider, giving hope to all counties outside the traditional fold. In a decade often depicted as repressive and severe, with heavy emigration, Wexford brought an abundance of novelty and glamour and dauntless expression which made them huge crowd-pullers and popular all over the country. A jazzy addition to the traditional acts. The previous six All-Irelands before Wexford's breakthrough in '55 were shared between Cork and Tipperary. "Why are all these massive crowds following Wexford?" asks Liam Griffin. "The Wexford support base for hurling grew with the rise of the Wexford teams of the 1950s. There was a romantic connection between them and all hurling people. Why? Because they came up to challenge the dominant counties." At the time Wexford looked more likely to prosper in football than hurling. The 1950s, led by the Rackards, changed all that. Only a few survivors remain from the '56 panel: Ted Morrissey, Oliver Gough and Pat Nolan. Morrissey played in the Leinster final before losing his place and had also been on the squad in '51 when Wexford reached the All-Ireland final. Nolan was Art Foley's goalkeeping deputy in '56, later winning All-Ireland medals over a long career in '60 and '68. Gough came on in the '55 final. In a way the loop that began the most famous end-to-end move in Wexford hurling history, starting with Foley's save and concluding with Rackard's goal, was replicated in life itself. The first of that celebrated '56 team to die was Rackard, in April, 1976, at the age of 54 after succumbing to cancer. When the team was celebrating its silver jubilee in 1981, Foley came home from the US for the occasion, having emigrated with his wife Anne and their three young children at 27 in the late 1950s. By the time of the silver jubilee of the '56 win, only Rackard was missing. Gradually over the years the numbers diminished. Ned Wheeler went this year. Billy Rackard was the last of that famous band of brothers to die ten years ago. Now, Foley, literally the last one standing, has gone too. The deeds, though, remain timeless and immortal. The save which made Foley famous followed him around all his days. "The big story of Art Foley is that save because it is the seminal moment of that time," as Liam Griffin puts it. It is also probably the most enigmatic save in the history of the game - the Mona Lisa of hurling saves, such has been the variety of interpretations. Even Ring seems to have offered contradictory accounts. Raymond Smith has an account from John Keane, the former Waterford great, who was umpiring that day. He recalled Ring shooting from 25 yards and the ball moving "so fast that the thought flashed through my mind, this must be a goal . . . and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that he'd saved it." One newspaper referred to "a powerful close-in shot" and another to a "piledriver" which was one of "several miracle saves" made by Foley on the day. Val Dorgan, Ring's biographer, reported a "vicious strike" that was saved just under the cross bar and he also used the word "miraculous".
    It wasn't until the next decade that All-Ireland finals began to be televised, leaving iconic moments like this shrouded in some mystery. Speaking to the Irish Echo in 2011, Foley himself gave this account: "Well, he shot and I blocked it straight up in the air. This is where they always get it wrong. They always say I caught it and cleared it, straight to Nickey [Rackard] and he scored the goal. But I blocked it out and Pat Barry [Cork] doubled on it, and it hit the outside of the net. "I pucked it out to Jim English and he passed it to Tom Ryan, and he got it to Nickey and Nickey got the goal, and we went on to win." It was in keeping with Foley's personality to play down the save's merits. In an interview in 2014, Ned Wheeler referred to Foley as "a gentlemen of few words". They stayed in touch regularly on the phone up to shortly before Wheeler's death. Ted Morrissey was another in frequent contact, a player who moved to Enniscorthy to work and joined the St Aidan's club which Foley played for. "I used to ring him every couple of weeks until recently," says Morrissey, now 89. "I rang him recently and he had fallen, the wife told me he was in the nursing home. "He was very clear, he had a great memory, could tell me all the people who lived on the street where he was. He worked as a lorry driver, that's what he was doing before he left. I suppose he thought there was a better life over there." What did they talk about? "About hurling and old times and the people he knew and he'd be asking me about the people around Enniscorthy. Unfortunately, by the last few conversations there weren't many left that he knew." Foley was just 5'6" at a time when there were marauding full-forwards aplenty and the goalkeeper didn't have the protection in the rulebook he has now. He was dropped after conceding six goals in the 1951 National League final and didn't play in the All-Ireland final later that year against Tipperary when Wexford suffered a heavy loss. Wexford opted for a novice 'keeper, something Billy Rackard later said had been a mistake. When he made the save in '56 Foley was given an appreciative and sporting hand-shake from Ring. The Cloyne man was notoriously competitive but often commented on the sportsmanship of Wexford and specifically his marker Bobby Rackard. At the end of the '56 final Nick O'Donnell and Rackard chaired Ring off the field which is another lasting and remarkable feature of that final. Foley spoke of that moment to Ted Morrissey. "Nicko (O'Donnell) came to Arty and says, 'we'll shoulder him off the field'. And Arty says to him, 'how the hell will we do that, you are 6'2 and I am 5'6 . . . go and get Bobby with you'. So Nicko and Bobby shouldered him off and Arty was a back-up man, giving them a push from behind." Ring stated after the '54 final when Cork defeated Wexford that Cork had never defeated a cleaner team. Perhaps the very different experience he had against Galway in the previous year's final had something to do with that, but the relationship between the counties at the time was cordial and warm. Ring being chaired off the field was its Olympian moment. At a time when hurling was notoriously rough and macho, these displays of sportsmanship were notably different from the norm. It deepened Wexford's unique appeal. Tony Dempsey, the former Wexford county chairman, and former senior hurling manger, met Foley and his wife and some of the family over lunch in Long Island a few years ago, where they made a presentation to him for his services to the county. They spoke of that decision to carry off Ring. "He told me Bobby caught Ring like a doll and lifted him up," said Dempsey, noting the power for which he was renowned. Foley survived in spite of his height limitations, helped by having O'Donnell in front of him. He left school at 13, like many others who were obliged to at the time, and followed his father Tommy, a truck driver, into employment at Davis's Mills in Enniscorthy. He told Dempsey in New York how he routinely carried 12-stone bags of flour up and down ladders at 14. "He took out a photo album and showed a photo of himself jumping for the ball," says Dempsey, "and proportionate to his body he had massive muscles, massive quads and massive thighs." In New York he ended up in long-term employment for TWA, spending 34 years as a crew chief. He came home occasionally, sometimes for reunions. After winning the '56 final, and entering legend, Wexford's victorious players began the triumphant journey home on the Monday night, stopping off in the Market Square in Enniscorthy. A Mr Browne from the county board introduced the players individually. "The greatest ovation was reserved for the goalkeeper Arty Foley whose brilliance in the net contributed much to Wexford's victory," the Irish Independent reported. Forty three years after they laid Nickey Rackard to rest in Bunclody, the first of that special team, Art Foley has gone to his eternal resting place in New York. Their deaths took place decades and thousands of miles apart. But their spirits will remain inseparable.
  • 34cm x 22cm
    This Flying Column operated across the West Mayo area during the War of Independence. The photograph was taken shortly after the Carrowkennedy ambush on a RIC Barracks; the men are displaying the captured weapons. On the 2nd June 1921 the West Mayo Flying Column ambushed British soldiers on the Westport to Leenane road. After the ambush they went on the run. While near Laherdane in the vicinity of Neiphin Mountain they were visited by Jack Leonard. Leonard was a photographer and a cousin of Michael Kilroy, who was the Officer in Command of the brigade and took the only photograph of the Flying Column that exists.

  • 58cm x 67cm    Urlingford Co Kilkenny Unique,large photograph taken of a goalmouth scene during the 1903 hurling final between Cork(represented by Blackrock) and Kilkenny (Three Castles) at Dungarvan Co Waterford.The final result was an emphatic win for the Corkmen  8-9 to 0-8.The game was played with 17 players aside and it was not until 1913 that teams were reduced to the present day 15 a side.The goalposts which can be clearly seen in the photo were changed to the uprights format with crossbar in 1910 which are in use up to the present time.      
  • 45cm x 35cm  Thurles Co Tipperary Superb framed portrait taken in 1910 of three separate Thurles men when captained Tipperary in the early 20th century- Tom Semple of Fianna Road  ,Dinny Maher of Killinin  & Jim Stapleton of Cathedral Road. Thomas Semple (8 April 1879 – 11 April 1943) was an Irish hurler who played as a half-forward for the Tipperary senior team. Semple joined the panel during the 1897 championship and eventually became a regular member of the starting seventeen until his retirement after the 1909 championship. During that time he won three All-Ireland medals and four Munster medals. An All-Ireland runner-up on one occasion, Semple captained the team to the All-Ireland title in 1906 and in 1908. At club level Semple was a six-time county club championship medalist with Thurles.

    Playing career


    Semple played his club hurling with the local club in Thurles, the precursor to the famous Sarsfield's club. He rose through the club and served as captain of the team for almost a decade. In 1904 Semple won his first championship medal following a walkover from Lahorna De Wets. Thurles failed to retain their title, however, the team returned to the championship decider once again in 1906. A 4-11 to 3-6 defeat of Lahorna De Wets gave Semple his second championship medal as captain. It was the first of four successive championships for Thurles as subsequent defeats of Lahorna De Wets, Glengoole and Racecourse/Grangemockler brought Semple's medal tally to five. Five-in-a-row proved beyond Thurles, however, Semple's team reached the final for the sixth time in eight seasons in 1911. A 4-5 to 1-0 trouncing of Toomevara gave Semple his sixth and final championship medal as captain.


    Tipperary Hurling Team outside Clonmel railway station, August 26, 1910. Semple is in the centre of the middle row.
    Semple's skill quickly brought him to the attention of the Tipperary senior hurling selectors. After briefly joining the team in 1897, he had to wait until 1900 to become a regular member of the starting seventeen. That year a 6-11 to 1-9 trouncing of Kerry gave him his first Munster medal.Tipp later narrowly defeated Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final before trouncing Galway in the "home" All-Ireland final. This was not the end of the championship campaign because, for the first year ever, the "home" finalists had to take on London in the All-Ireland decider. The game was a close affair with both sides level at five points with eight minutes to go. London then took the lead; however, they later conceded a free. Tipp's Mikey Maher stepped up, took the free and a forward charge carried the sliotar over the line. Tipp scored another goal following a weak puck out and claimed a 2-5 to 0-6 victory. It was Semple's first All-Ireland medal. Cork dominated the provincial championship for the next five years; however, Tipp bounced back in 1906. That year Semple was captain for the first time as Tipp foiled Cork's bid for an unprecedented sixth Munster title in-a-row. The score line of 3-4 to 0-9 gave Semple a second Munster medal. Tipp trounced Galway by 7-14 to 0-2 on their next outing, setting up an All-Ireland final meeting with Dublin. Semple's side got off to a bad start with Dublin's Bill Leonardscoring a goal after just five seconds of play. Tipp fought back with Paddy Riordan giving an exceptional display of hurling and capturing most of his team's scores. Ironically, eleven members of the Dublin team hailed from Tipperary. The final score of 3-16 to 3-8 gave victory to Tipperary and gave Semple a second All-Ireland medal. Tipp lost their provincial crown in 1907, however, they reached the Munster final again in 1908. Semple was captain of the side again that year as his team received a walkover from Kerry in the provincial decider. Another defeat of Galway in the penultimate game set up another All-Ireland final meeting with Dublin. That game ended in a 2-5 to 1-8 draw and a replay was staged several months later in Athy. Semple's team were much sharper on that occasion. A first-half goal by Hugh Shelly put Tipp well on their way. Two more goals by Tony Carew after the interval gave Tipp a 3-15 to 1-5 victory.It was Semple's third All-Ireland medal. 1909 saw Tipp defeat arch rivals Cork in the Munster final once again. A 2-10 to 1-6 victory gave Semple his fourth Munster medal. The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Tipp take on Kilkenny. The omens looked good for a Tipperary win. It was the county's ninth appearance in the championship decider and they had won the previous eight. All did not go to plan as this Kilkenny side cemented their reputation as the team of the decade. A 4-6 to 0-12 defeat gave victory to "the Cats" and a first final defeat to Tipperary. Semple retired from inter-county hurling following this defeat.

    Personal life

    Semple was born in Drombane, County Tipperary in 1879. He received a limited education at his local national school and, like many of his contemporaries, finding work was a difficult prospect. At the age of 16 Semple left his native area and moved to Thurles. Here he worked as a guardsman with the Great Southern & Western Railway. In retirement from playing Semple maintained a keen interest in Gaelic games. In 1910 he and others organised a committee which purchased the showgrounds in Thurles in an effort to develop a hurling playing field there. This later became known as Thurles Sportsfield and is regarded as one of the best surfaces for hurling in Ireland. In 1971 it was renamed Semple Stadium in his honour. The stadium is also lovingly referred to as Tom Semple's field. Semple also held the post of chairman of the Tipperary County Board and represented the Tipperary on the Munster Council and Central Council. He also served as treasurer of the latter organization. During the War of Independence Semple played an important role for Republicans. He organized dispatches via his position with the Great Southern & Western Railway in Thurles. Tom Semple died on 11 April 1943.
  • 43cm x 33cm  Ringsend Dublin   A beautiful portrait of the 14 Rebel Leaders executed after the 1916 Easter Rising.

    14 men executed in Kilmainham Gaol

    A 15th man, Thomas Kent, has also been executed in Cork

    Dublin, 13 May 1916 - 14 men have been executed in Kilmainham Gaol for their involvement in the recent Dublin rebellion. The executions were carried out by firing squad at dawn. The men had earlier been tried in secrecy at Richmond Barracks in Dublin at a series of field general courts-martial where they were permitted no defence counsel. The executions began on the morning of 3 May with Patrick Pearse, Thomas Clarke and Thomas MacDonagh being shot by firing squad at the Stonebreaker’s Yard in Kilmainham Gaol. The following morning Joseph Plunkett, Edward Daly, Michael O'Hanrahan and Willie Pearse were shot, followed by John MacBride on the morning after. Éamonn Ceannt, Michael Mallin, Seán Heuston and Con Colbert were shot on 8 May, followed by Seán Mac Diarmadaand James Connolly on 12 May. There are reports that Connolly was already grievously ill and was unable to stand in front on the firing squad that shot him. Among the men who have been shot are all seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic that was posted on walls around Dublin during the rebellion and was read aloud outside the GPO on Sackville Street by Patrick Pearse on Easter Monday. A further execution in Co. Cork took place on 9 May where Thomas Kent was shot after his arrest 7 days earlier. Mr Kent had been heavily linked with land agitation in Cork, but it is not clear that he had any involvement in the Rising in Dublin.

    Cartoon from Issues and Events commenting on the freedom of Ireland. (Image: Villanova University)

    Other rebels Also executed were leaders of various garrisons of volunteers who took over key buildings around Dublin. The decisions to single out Willie Pearse and John MacBride for execution appear unrelated to any rank they held, however. Other rebel leaders – including Eamon de Valera and Constance Markievicz – remain in custody and it is not clear what their fate will be. In London, Roger Casement awaits trial for treason and is being held in the Tower of London, following his arrest in Co. Kerry on Good Friday. It appears that Casement was attempting to facilitate a shipment of arms from Germany for use in the rebellion. Meanwhile, the arrests of hundreds of people associated, or deemed by the authorities to be associated with the Rising, continues. Those arrested are being interned, with some being sent across the Irish Sea to England and Wales. [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.]
  • Beautiful and poignant collection of four of the 1916 Easter Rising Rebel Leaders who were executed by the British Crown Forces at Kilmainham Jail a few weeks later.Featured here are Padraig Pearse,Thomas Clarke,James Connolly,Thomas Kent. James Connolly (5 June 1868 – 12 May 1916) was an Irish republican and socialist leader. Connolly was born in the Cowgate area of Edinburgh, Scotland, to Irish parents. He left school for working life at the age of 11. He also took a role in Scottish and American politics. He was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World and founder of the Irish Socialist Republican Party. With James Larkin, he was centrally involved in the Dublin lock-out of 1913, as a result of which the two men formed the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) that year. He opposed British rule in Ireland, and was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916. He was executed by firing squad following the Rising.

    Early life

    Connolly was born in an Edinburgh slum in 1868, the third son of Irish parents John Connolly and Mary McGinn.His parents had moved to Scotland from County Monaghan, Ireland, and settled in the Cowgate, a ghetto where thousands of Irish people lived. He spoke with a Scottish accent throughout his life. He was born in St Patrick's Roman Catholic parish, in the Cowgate district of Edinburgh known as "Little Ireland". His father and grandfathers were labourers.He had an education up to the age of about ten in the local Catholic primary school. He left and worked in labouring jobs. Owing to the economic difficulties he was having, like his eldest brother John, he joined the British Army. He enlisted at age 14, falsifying his age and giving his name as Reid, as his brother John had done. He served in Ireland with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Scots Regiment for nearly seven years, during a turbulent period in rural areas known as the Land War.He would later become involved in the land issue. He developed a deep hatred for the British Army that lasted his entire life.When he heard that his regiment was being transferred to India, he deserted. Connolly had another reason for not wanting to go to India; a young woman by the name of Lillie Reynolds. Lillie moved to Scotland with James after he left the army and they married in April 1890.They settled in Edinburgh. There, Connolly began to get involved in the Scottish Socialist Federation,[17] but with a young family to support, he needed a way to provide for them. He briefly established a cobbler's shop in 1895, but this failed after a few monthsas his shoe-mending skills were insufficient.He was strongly active with the socialist movement at the time, and prioritized this over his cobbling.

    Socialist involvement

    After Ireland is free, says the patriot who won't touch Socialism, we will protect all classes, and if you won't pay your rent you will be evicted same as now. But the evicting party, under command of the sheriff, will wear green uniforms and the Harp without the Crown, and the warrant turning you out on the roadside will be stamped with the arms of the Irish Republic.
    James Connolly, in Workers' Republic, 1899
    In the 1880s, Connolly became influenced by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx and would later advocate a type of socialism that was based in Marxist theory.[21] Connolly described himself as a socialist, while acknowledging the influence of Marx. He became secretary of the Scottish Socialist Federation. At the time his brother John was secretary; after John spoke at a rally in favour of the eight-hour day, however, he was fired from his job with the Edinburgh Corporation, so while he looked for work, James took over as secretary. During this time, Connolly became involved with the Independent Labour Party which Keir Hardie had formed in 1893. At some time during this period, he took up the study of, and advocated the use of, the neutral international language, Esperanto. His interest in Esperanto is implicit in his 1898 article "The Language Movement", which primarily attempts to promote socialism to the nationalist revolutionaries involved in the Gaelic Revival. By 1892 he was involved in the Scottish Socialist Federation, acting as its secretary from 1895. Two months after the birth of his third daughter, word came to Connolly that the Dublin Socialist Club was looking for a full-time secretary, a job that offered a salary of a pound a week. Connolly and his family moved to Dublin,where he took up the position. At his instigation, the club quickly evolved into the Irish Socialist Republican Party (ISRP).The ISRP is regarded by many Irish historians as a party of pivotal importance in the early history of Irish socialism and republicanism. While active as a socialist in Great Britain, Connolly was the founding editor of The Socialist newspaper and was among the founders of the Socialist Labour Partywhich split from the Social Democratic Federation in 1903. Connolly joined Maud Gonne and Arthur Griffith in the Dublin protests against the Boer War. A combination of frustration with the progress of the ISRP and economic necessity caused him to emigrate to the United States in September 1903, with no plans as to what he would do there.While in America he was a member of the Socialist Labor Party of America (1906), the Socialist Party of America (1909) and the Industrial Workers of the World, and founded the Irish Socialist Federation in New York, 1907. He famously had a chapter of his 1910 book Labour in Irish History entitled "A chapter of horrors: Daniel O’Connell and the working class." critical of the achiever of Catholic Emancipation 60 years earlier. On Connolly's return to Ireland in 1910 he was right-hand man to James Larkin in the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. He stood twice for the Wood Quay ward of Dublin Corporation but was unsuccessful. His name, and those of his family, appears in the 1911 Census of Ireland - his occupation is listed as "National Organiser Socialist Party".In 1913, in response to the Lockout, he, along with an ex-British officer, Jack White, founded the Irish Citizen Army (ICA), an armed and well-trained body of labour men whose aim was to defend workers and strikers, particularly from the frequent brutality of the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Though they only numbered about 250 at most, their goal soon became the establishment of an independent and socialist Irish nation. He also founded the Irish Labour Party as the political wing of the Irish Trades Union Congress in 1912 and was a member of its National Executive. Around this time he met Winifred Carney in Belfast, who became his secretary and would later accompany him during the Easter Rising. Like Vladimir Lenin, Connolly opposed the First World War explicitly from a socialist perspective. Rejecting the Redmondite position, he declared "I know of no foreign enemy of this country except the British Government."

    Easter Rising

    Connolly and the ICA made plans for an armed uprising during the war, independently of the Irish Volunteers. In early 1916, believing the Volunteers were dithering, he attempted to goad them into action by threatening to send the ICA against the British Empire alone, if necessary. This alarmed the members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who had already infiltrated the Volunteers and had plans for an insurrection that very year. In order to talk Connolly out of any such rash action, the IRB leaders, including Tom Clarke and Patrick Pearse, met with Connolly to see if an agreement could be reached. During the meeting, the IRB and the ICA agreed to act together at Easter of that year. During the Easter Rising, beginning on 24 April 1916, Connolly was Commandant of the Dublin Brigade. As the Dublin Brigade had the most substantial role in the rising, he was de factocommander-in-chief. Connolly's leadership in the Easter rising was considered formidable. Michael Collins said of Connolly that he "would have followed him through hell." Following the surrender, he said to other prisoners: "Don't worry. Those of us that signed the proclamation will be shot. But the rest of you will be set free."


    Location of Connolly's execution at Kilmainham Gaolin Dublin
    Connolly was not actually held in gaol, but in a room (now called the "Connolly Room") at the State Apartments in Dublin Castle, which had been converted to a first-aid station for troops recovering from the war. Connolly was sentenced to death by firing squad for his part in the rising. On 12 May 1916 he was taken by military ambulance to Royal Hospital Kilmainham, across the road from Kilmainham Gaol, and from there taken to the gaol, where he was to be executed. While Connolly was still in hospital in Dublin Castle, during a visit from his wife and daughter, he said: "The Socialists will not understand why I am here; they forget I am an Irishman." Connolly had been so badly injured from the fighting (a doctor had already said he had no more than a day or two to live, but the execution order was still given) that he was unable to stand before the firing squad; he was carried to a prison courtyard on a stretcher. His absolution and last rites were administered by a Capuchin, Father Aloysius Travers. Asked to pray for the soldiers about to shoot him, he said: "I will say a prayer for all men who do their duty according to their lights."Instead of being marched to the same spot where the others had been executed, at the far end of the execution yard, he was tied to a chair and then shot. His body (along with those of the other leaders) was put in a mass grave without a coffin. The executions of the rebel leaders deeply angered the majority of the Irish population, most of whom had shown no support during the rebellion. It was Connolly's execution that caused the most controversy.Historians have pointed to the manner of execution of Connolly and similar rebels, along with their actions, as being factors that caused public awareness of their desires and goals and gathered support for the movements that they had died fighting for. The executions were not well received, even throughout Britain, and drew unwanted attention from the United States, which the British Government was seeking to bring into the war in Europe. H. H. Asquith, the Prime Minister, ordered that no more executions were to take place; an exception being that of Roger Casement, who was charged with high treasonand had not yet been tried.


    James Connolly and his wife Lillie had seven children. Nora became an influential writer and campaigner within the Irish-republican movement as an adult. Roddy continued his father's politics. In later years, both became members of the Oireachtas (Irish parliament). Moira became a doctor and married Richard Beech. One of Connolly's daughters Mona died in 1904 aged 13, when she burned herself while she did the washing for an aunt. Three months after James Connolly's execution his wife was received into the Catholic Church, at Church St. on 15 August.


    Statue of James Connolly in Dublin
    Connolly's legacy in Ireland is mainly due to his contribution to the republican cause; his legacy as a socialist has been claimed by a variety of left-wing and left-republican groups, and he is also associated with the Labour Party which he founded. Connolly was among the few European members of the Second International who opposed, outright, World War I. This put him at odds with most of the socialist leaders of Europe. He was influenced by and heavily involved with the radical Industrial Workers of the World labour union, and envisaged socialism as Industrial Union control of production. Also he envisioned the IWW forming their own political party that would bring together the feuding socialist groups such as the Socialist Labor Party of America and the Socialist Party of America.Likewise, he envisaged independent Ireland as a socialist republic. His connection and views on Revolutionary Unionism and Syndicalism have raised debate on if his image for a workers republic would be one of State or Grassroots socialism.For a time he was involved with De Leonism and the Second International until he later broke with both. In Scotland, Connolly's thinking influenced socialists such as John Maclean, who would, like him, combine his leftist thinking with nationalist ideas when he formed the Scottish Workers Republican Party.
    Statue of James Connolly in Belfast
    The Connolly Association, a British organisation campaigning for Irish unity and independence, is named after Connolly. In 1928, Follonsby miners' lodge in the Durham coalfield unfurled a newly designed banner that included a portrait of Connolly on it. The banner was burned in 1938, replaced but then painted over in 1940. A reproduction of the 1938 Connolly banner was commissioned in 2011 by the Follonsby Miners’ Lodge Banner Association and it is regularly paraded at various events in County Durham ('Old King Coal' at Beamish Open Air museum, 'The Seven men of Jarrow' commemoration every June, the Durham Miners' Gala every second Saturday in July, the Tommy Hepburn annual memorial every October), in the wider UK and Ireland. There is a statue of James Connolly in Dublin, outside Liberty Hall, the offices of the SIPTU trade union. Another statue of Connolly stands in Union Park, Chicago near the offices of the UE union. There is a bust of Connolly in Troy, New York, in the park behind the statue of Uncle Sam. In March 2016 a statue of Connolly was unveiled by Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure minister Carál Ní Chuilín, and Connolly's great grandson, James Connolly Heron, on Falls Road in Belfast. In a 1972 interview on The Dick Cavett Show, John Lennon stated that James Connolly was an inspiration for his song, "Woman Is the Nigger of the World". Lennon quoted Connolly's 'the female is the slave of the slave' in explaining the feminist inspiration for the song. Connolly Station, one of the two main railway stations in Dublin, and Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, are named in his honour. In a 2002, BBC television production, 100 Greatest Britons where the British public were asked to register their vote, Connolly was voted in 64th place. In 1968, Irish group The Wolfe Tones released a single named "James Connolly", which reached number 15 in the Irish charts. The band Black 47 wrote and performed a song about Connolly that appears on their album Fire of Freedom. Irish singer-songwriter Niall Connolly has a song "May 12th, 1916 - A Song for James Connolly" on his album Dream Your Way Out of This One(2017).  
  • Beautiful and poignant collection of four of the 1916 Easter Rising Rebel Leaders who were executed by the British Crown Forces at Kilmainham Jail a few weeks later.Featured here are Padraig Pearse,Thomas Clarke,James Connolly,Thomas Kent.   Patrick Pearse, in full Patrick Henry Pearse, Patrick also spelled in Irish Pádraic, (born November 10, 1879, Dublin, Ireland—died May 3, 1916, Dublin), Irish nationalist leader, poet, and educator. He was the first president of the provisional government of the Irish republic proclaimed in Dublin on April 24, 1916, and was commander in chief of the Irish forces in the anti-British Easter Rising that began on the same day.The son of an English sculptor and his Irish wife, Pearse became a director of the Gaelic League (founded 1893 for the preservation of the Irish language) and edited (1903–09) its weekly newspaper, An Claidheamh Soluis (“The Sword of Light”). To further promote the Irish language as a weapon against British domination, he published tales from old Irish manuscripts and a collection (1914) of his own poems in the modern Irish idiom. He founded St. Enda’s College (1908), near Dublin, as a bilingual institution with its teaching based on Irish traditions and culture. On the formation of the Irish Volunteers (November 1913) as a counterforce against the Ulster Volunteers (militant supporters of the Anglo-Irish union), Pearse became a member of their provisional committee, and he contributed poems and articles to their newspaper, The Irish Volunteer. In July 1914 he was made a member of the supreme council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). After the Irish Volunteers split (September 1914), he became a leader of the more extreme nationalist section, which opposed any support for Great Britain in World War I. He came to believe that the blood of martyrs would be required to liberate Ireland, and on that theme he delivered a famous oration in August 1915 at the burial of Jeremiah O’Donovan, known as O’Donovan Rossa, a veteran of Sinn Féin.
    As early as spring 1915 Pearse, as an IRB supreme council member, helped to plan the Easter Rising. On Easter Monday he proclaimed the provisional government of the Irish republic from the steps of Dublin General Post Office. On April 29, when the revolt was crushed, he surrendered to the British. After a court-martial, he was shot by a firing squad. More than any other man, Pearse was responsible for establishing the republican tradition in Ireland.
    Pearse’s Collected Works appeared in 1917–22 (3 vol.) and again in 1924 (5 vol.), and his Political Writings and Speeches appeared in 1952.
  • Beautiful and poignant collection of four of the 1916 Easter Rising Rebel Leaders who were executed by the British Crown Forces at Kilmainham Jail a few weeks later.Featured here are Padraig Pearse,Thomas Clarke,James Connolly,Thomas Kent Thomas Kent (Irish: Tomás Ceannt; 29 August 1865 – 9 May 1916) was an Irish nationalist who was court-martialled and executed following a gunfight with the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) on 9 May 1916, in the immediate aftermath of the Easter Rising.

    Easter Rising

    Kent was part of a prominent nationalist family who lived at Bawnard House, Castlelyons, County Cork. They were prepared to take part in the Easter Rising, but when the mobilisation order was countermanded, they stayed at home. The rising nevertheless went ahead in Dublin, and the RIC was sent to arrest well-known sympathizers throughout the country, including known members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Sinn Féin, and the Irish Volunteers. When the Kent residence was raided they were met with resistance from Thomas and his brothers Richard, David and William. A gunfight lasted for four hours, in which an RIC officer, Head Constable William Rowe, was killed and David Kent was seriously wounded. Eventually the Kents were forced to surrender, although Richard made a last minute dash for freedom and was fatally wounded.

    Trial and execution

    Thomas and William Kent were tried by court martial on the charge of armed rebellion. William was acquitted, but Thomas was sentenced to death. David Kent was brought to Dublin where he was charged with the same offence, found guilty and sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted and he was sentenced to five years penal servitude. Thomas Kent was executed by firing squad in Cork on 9 May 1916, the only person outside of Dublin to be shot for his role in the events surrounding Easter Week (Roger Casement was hanged for treason in London). Kent was buried in the grounds of Cork Prison, formerly the Military Detention Barracks at the rear Collins Barracks, Cork (formerly Victoria Barracks). The former army married quarters to the rear of Collins Barracks are named in his honour.

    State funeral

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny offered a state funeral to the Kent family early in 2015, which they accepted. Kent's remains were exhumed from Cork prison in June 2015 after being buried for 99 years. The analysis of Kent's remains, which had been found in a shallow, quicklime-filled grave, involved the State Pathologist's Office, the National Forensic Coordination Office at the Garda Technical Bureau, Forensic Science Ireland, and scientists from University College Dublin, and the scientific team was led by Dr. Jens Carlsson from the University of California-Davis. The State funeral was held on 18 September 2015 at St Nicholas' Church in Castlelyons. Kent lay in state at Collins Barracks in Cork the day before. The requiem mass was attended by President Michael D. Higgins, with Enda Kenny delivering the graveside oration.


    Bust of Kent at Cork Kent railway station by sculptor James MacCarthy.
    The main railway station in Cork, Kent Station was named after Thomas Kent in 1966. The bridge over the River Blackwater in Fermoy, Co. Cork, where Thomas Kent was detained following his arrest, was named after him and his brothers in 2016.    
  • Beautiful and poignant collection of four of the 1916 Easter Rising Rebel Leaders who were executed by the British Crown Forces at Kilmainham Jail a few weeks later.Featured here are Padraig Pearse,Thomas Clarke,James Connolly and The O'Rahilly(not executed but who was killed in action at the GPO). Thomas James Clarke ( 11 March 1858 – 3 May 1916) was an Irish republican and a leader of the Irish Republican Brotherhood from Dungannon, County Tyrone. Clarke was arguably the person most responsible for the 1916 Easter Rising. A proponent of armed struggle against British rule in Ireland for most of his life, Clarke spent 15 years in English prisons prior to his role in the Easter Rising, and was executed by firing squad after it was defeated.

    Early life

    Clarke was born at Hurst Castle, Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire, England, opposite the Isle of Wight, to Irish parents,Mary Palmer and James Clarke, who was a sergeant in the British Army. In 1865, after spending some years in South Africa, Sgt. Clarke was transferred to Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland, and it was there that Tom grew up.

    Irish Republican Brotherhood

    Wicklow granite memorial dedicated in 1987 in Manorville, New York at the site of his 60-acre farm.
    In 1878, at the age of 20, he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) following the visit to Dungannon by John Daly, and by 1880 he was centre (head) of the local IRB circle. In August that year, after a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) had shot and killed a man during riots between the Orange Order and the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Dungannon, Clarke and other IRB members attacked some RIC men in Irish Street. They were driven back, however, and Clarke, fearing arrest, fled to the United States. In 1883, Clarke was sent to London, under the alias of "Henry Wilson",[5] to take part in the Fenian dynamite campaign advocated by Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, one of the IRB leaders exiled in the United States. British authorities were already following those involved, aided by informants, and Clarke was arrested in possession of dynamite, along with three others. He was tried and sentenced to penal servitude for life on 28 May 1883 at London's Old Bailey.He subsequently served 15 years in Pentonville and other British prisons. In 1896, he was one of only five remaining Fenian prisoners in British jails and a series of public meetings in Ireland called for their release. At one meeting, John Redmond MP, leader of the ParnelliteIrish National League, said of him: "Wilson is a man of whom no words of praise could be too high. I have learned in my many visits to Portland for five years to love, honour and respect Henry Wilson. I have seen day after day how his brave spirit was keeping him alive ... I have seen year after year the fading away of his physical strength". Following his release in 1898 he moved to Brooklyn in the United States where he married Kathleen Daly, 21 years his junior, whose uncle, John Daly, he had met in prison. Clarke worked for the Clan na Gael under John Devoy. In 1906 the couple moved to a 30-acre (120,000 m2) farm in Manorville, New York, and bought another 30 acres (120,000 m2) there in 1907, shortly before returning to Ireland later that same year. In Ireland, Clarke opened a tobacconist shop in Dublin and immersed himself in the IRB which was undergoing a substantial rejuvenation under the guidance of younger men such as Bulmer Hobson and Denis McCullough. Clarke had a very close kinship with Hobson, who along with Seán MacDermott, became his protegé. Clarke supported the striking members of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union during the 1913 Dublin Lockout and refused to sell copies of the Irish Independent, a newspaper owned by union-busting industrialist and press baron William Martin Murphy, at his tobacco shop.

    Irish Volunteers

    When the Irish Volunteers were formed in 1913, Clarke took a keen interest, but took no part in the organisation, knowing that as a felon and well-known Irish nationalist he would lend discredit to the Volunteers. Nevertheless, with MacDermott, Hobson, and other IRB members such as Eamonn Ceannt taking important roles in the Volunteers, it was clear that the IRB would have substantial, if not total, control, (particularly after the co-option of Paidraig Pearse, already a leading member of the Volunteers, into the IRB at the end of 1913). This proved largely to be the case until leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, John Redmond, demanded the Provisional Committee accept 25 additional members of the Party's choosing, giving IPP loyalists a majority stake. Though most of the hard-liners stood against this, Redmond's decree was accepted, partially due to the support given by Hobson. Clarke never forgave him for what he considered a treasonous act.

    Planning the uprising

    Following Clarke's falling out with Hobson, MacDermott and Clarke became almost inseparable. The two of them, as secretary and treasurer, respectively, de facto ran the IRB, although it was still under the nominal head of other men: James Deakin, and later McCullough. In 1915 Clarke and MacDermott established the Military Committee of the IRB to plan what later became the Easter Rising. The members were Pearse, Ceannt and Joseph Plunkett, with Clarke and MacDermott adding themselves shortly thereafter. When the old Fenian Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa died in 1915 Clarke used his funeral (and Pearse's graveside oration) to mobilise the Volunteers and heighten expectation of imminent action. When an agreement was reached with leading Marxist James Connolly and his Irish Citizen Army in January 1916, Connolly was added to the committee, with Thomas MacDonagh added at the last minute in April. These seven men were the signatories of the Proclamation of the Republic, with Clarke as the first signatory. It has been said that Clarke indeed would have been the declared President and Commander-in-chief, but he refused any military rank and such honours; these were given to Pearse, who was more well-known and respected on a national level. Kathleen Clarke later claimed that her husband, and not Pearse, was first president of the Irish Republic.

    Easter Rising

    Death Certificate of Thomas Clarke
    Tom Clarke 1916 commemorative plaque at the junction of Parnell Street and O'Connell Street, Dublin
    Clarke was located at headquarters in the General Post Office (GPO) during the events of Easter Week, where rebel forces were largely composed of Irish Citizen Army members under the command of Connolly. Though he held no formal military rank, Clarke was recognised by the garrison as one of the commanders, and was active throughout the week. Late in the week, the GPO had to be evacuated due to fire. The leaders gathered in a house in Moore Street, from where Pearse ordered the surrender on 29 April. Clarke wrote on the wall of the house, "We had to evacuate the GPO. The boys put up a grand fight, and that fight will save the soul of Ireland."He was arrested after the surrender. He and the other commanders were taken to the Rotundawhere he was stripped of his clothing in front of the other prisoners. He was later held in Kilmainham Gaol. He was court-martialled and executed by firing squad, along with Pearse and MacDonagh on 3 May 1916. Before his execution, he asked his wife Kathleen to convey a message to the Irish people: "My comrades and I believe we have struck the first successful blow for freedom, and so sure as we are going out this morning so sure will freedom come as a direct result of our action...In this belief, we die happy."


    • Glimpses of an Irish Felon's Prison Life (1922: The National Publications Committee, Cork)


    After her husband's execution, Kathleen Clarke was elected a TD in the First and Second Dála, notably speaking against the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
  • 48cm x 43cm The Irish Volunteers (Irish: Óglaigh na hÉireann), sometimes called the Irish Volunteer Force[3][4][5] or Irish Volunteer Army,was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists and republicans. It was ostensibly formed in response to the formation of its Irish unionist/loyalist counterpart the Ulster Volunteers in 1912, and its declared primary aim was "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland". The Volunteers included members of the Gaelic League, Ancient Order of Hibernians and Sinn Féin,and, secretly, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). Increasing rapidly to a strength of nearly 200,000 by mid-1914, it split in September of that year over John Redmond's commitment to the British war effort, with the smaller group retaining the name of "Irish Volunteers".


    Home Rule for Ireland dominated political debate between the two countries since Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstoneintroduced the first Home Rule Bill in 1886, intended to grant a measure of self-government and national autonomy to Ireland, but which was rejected by the House of Commons. The second Home Rule Bill, seven years later having passed the House of Commons, was vetoed by the House of Lords. It would be the third Home Rule Bill, introduced in 1912, which would lead to the crisis in Ireland between the majority Nationalist population and the Unionists in Ulster. On 28 September 1912 at Belfast City Hall just over 450,000 Unionists signed the Ulster Covenant to resist the granting of Home Rule. This was followed in January 1913 with the formation of the Ulster Volunteers composed of adult male Unionists to oppose the passage and implementation of the bill by force of arms if necessary. The establishment of the Ulster Volunteers was (according to Eoin MacNeill) instigated, approved, and financed by English Tories with the other major British party, the Liberals, not finding "itself terribly distressed by that proceeding."


    The initiative for a series of meetings leading up to the public inauguration of the Irish Volunteers came from the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB).Bulmer Hobson, co-founder of the republican boy scouts, Fianna Éireann, and member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, believed the IRB should use the formation of the Ulster Volunteers as an "excuse to try to persuade the public to form an Irish volunteer force".The IRB could not move in the direction of a volunteer force themselves, as any such action by known proponents of physical force would be suppressed, despite the precedent established by the Ulster Volunteers. They therefore confined themselves to encouraging the view that nationalists also ought to organise a volunteer force for the defence of Ireland. A small committee then began to meet regularly in Dublin from July 1913, who watched the growth of this opinion. They refrained however from any action until the precedent of Ulster should have first been established while waiting for the lead to come from a "constitutional" quarter. The IRB began the preparations for the open organisation of the Irish Volunteers in January 1913. James Stritch, an IRB member, had the Irish National Foresters build a hall at the back of 41 Parnell Square in Dublin, which was the headquarters of the Wolfe Tone Clubs. Anticipating the formation of the Volunteers they began to learn foot-drill and military movements.The drilling was conducted by Stritch together with members of Fianna Éireann. They began by drilling a small number of IRB associated with the Dublin Gaelic Athletic Association, led by Harry Boland. Michael Collins along with several other IRB members claim that the formation of the Irish Volunteers was not merely a "knee-jerk reaction" to the Ulster Volunteers, which is often supposed, but was in fact the "old Irish Republican Brotherhood in fuller force."

    "The North Began"

    The IRB knew they would need a highly regarded figure as a public front that would conceal the reality of their control. The IRB found in Eoin MacNeill, Professor of Early and Medieval History at University College Dublin, the ideal candidate. McNeill's academic credentials and reputation for integrity and political moderation had widespread appeal. The O'Rahilly, assistant editor and circulation manager of the Gaelic League newspaper An Claidheamh Soluis, encouraged MacNeill to write an article for the first issue of a new series of articles for the paper. The O'Rahilly suggested to MacNeill that it should be on some wider subject than mere Gaelic pursuits. It was this suggestion which gave rise to the article entitled The North Began, giving the Irish Volunteers its public origins. On 1 November, MacNeill's article suggesting the formation of an Irish volunteer force was published.MacNeill wrote,
    There is nothing to prevent the other twenty-eight counties from calling into existence citizen forces to hold Ireland "for the Empire". It was precisely with this object that the Volunteers of 1782 were enrolled, and they became the instrument of establishing Irish self-government.
    After the article was published, Hobson asked The O'Rahilly to see MacNeill, to suggest to him that a conference should be called to make arrangements for publicly starting the new movement.The article "threw down the gauntlet to nationalists to follow the lead given by Ulster unionists."MacNeill was unaware of the detailed planning which was going on in the background, but was aware of Hobson's political leanings. He knew the purpose as to why he was chosen, but he was determined not to be a puppet.


    With MacNeill willing to take part, O'Rahilly and Hobson sent out invitations for the first meeting at Wynn's Hotel in Abbey Street, Dublin, on 11 November. Hobson himself did not attend this meeting, believing his standing as an "extreme nationalist" might prove problematical.The IRB, however, was well represented by, among others, Seán Mac Diarmada and Éamonn Ceannt, who would prove to be substantially more extreme than Hobson.Several others meetings were soon to follow, as prominent nationalists planned the formation of the Volunteers, under the leadership of MacNeill.Meanwhile, labour leaders in Dublin began calling for the establishment of a citizens' defence force in the aftermath of the lock out of 19 August 1913.Thus formed the Irish Citizen Army, led by James Larkin and James Connolly, which, though it had similar aims, at this point had no connection with the Irish Volunteers (were later allies in the Easter Rising. The Volunteer organisation was publicly launched on 25 November, with their first public meeting and enrolment rally at the Rotunda in Dublin.The IRB organised this meeting to which all parties were invited,and brought 5000 enlistment blanks for distribution and handed out in books of one hundred each to each of the stewards. Every one of the stewards and officials wore on their lapel a small silken bow the centre of which was white, while on one side was green and on the other side orange and had long been recognised as the colours which the Irish Republican Brotherhood had adopted as the Irish national banner. The hall was filled to its 4,000 person capacity, with a further 3,000 spilling onto the grounds outside. Speakers at the rally included MacNeill, Patrick Pearse, and Michael Davitt, son of the Land League founder of the same name. Over the course of the following months the movement spread throughout the country, with thousands more joining every week.

    Organisation and leadership

    The original members of the Provisional Committee were:
    Portfolio Name Organisation Political Party
    Honorary Secretaries Eoin Mac Néill Gaelic League
    Laurence Kettle Ancient Order of Hibernians Irish Parliamentary Party
    Honorary Treasurers The O'Rahilly Gaelic League Sinn Féin
    John Gore Ancient Order of Hibernians Irish Parliamentary Party
    The Manifesto of the Irish Volunteers was composed by MacNeill, with some minimal changes added by Tom Kettle and other members of the Provisional Committee. It stated that the organisation's objectives were "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland", and that membership was open to all Irishmen "without distinction of creed, politics or social grade."Though the "rights and liberties" were never defined, nor the means by which they would be obtained, the IRB in the Fenian tradition construed the term to mean the maintenance of the rights of Ireland to national independence and to secure that right in arms. The manifesto further stated that their duties were to be defensive, contemplating neither "aggression or domination". It said that the Tory policy in Ulster was deliberately adopted to make the display of military force with the threat of armed violence the decisive factor in relations between Ireland and Great Britain. If Irishmen accepted this new policy he said they would be surrendering their rights as men and citizens. If they did not attempt to defeat this policy "we become politically the most degraded population in Europe and no longer worthy of the name of nation." In this situation, it said,"the duty of safeguarding our own rights is our duty first and foremost. They have rights who dare maintain them."But rights, in the last resort, could only be maintained by arms. MacNeill himself would approve of armed resistance only if the British launched a campaign of repression against Irish nationalist movements, or if they attempted to impose conscription on Ireland following the outbreak of the First World War, in such a case he believed that they would have mass support.

    John Redmond and the Irish Parliamentary Party

    While the IRB was instrumental in the establishment of the Volunteers, they were never able to gain complete control of the organisation. This was compounded after John Redmond, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, took an active interest. Though some well known Redmond supporters had joined the Volunteers, the attitude of Redmond and the Party was largely one of opposition, though by the Summer of 1914, it was clear the IPP needed to control the Volunteers if they were not to be a threat to their authority.The majority of the IV members, like the nation as a whole, were supporters of Redmond (though this was not necessarily true of the organisation's leadership), and, armed with this knowledge, Redmond sought IPP influence, if not outright control of the Volunteers. Negotiations between MacNeil and Redmond over the latter's future role continued inconclusively for several weeks, until on 9 June Redmond issued an ultimatum, through the press, demanding the Provisional Committee co-opt twenty-five IPP nominees.With several IPP members and their supporters on the committee already, this would give them a majority of seats, and effective control. The more moderate members of the Volunteers' Provisional Committee did not like the idea, nor the way it was presented, but they were largely prepared to go along with it to prevent Redmond from forming a rival organisation, which would draw away most of their support. The IRB was completely opposed to Redmond's demands, as this would end any chance they had of controlling the Volunteers. Hobson, who simultaneously served in leadership roles in both the IRB and the Volunteers, was one of a few IRB members to reluctantly submit to Redmond's demands, leading to a falling out with the IRB leaders, notably Tom Clarke. In the end the Committee accepted Redmond's demands, by a vote of 18 to 9, most of the votes of dissent coming from members of the IRB. The new IPP members of the committee included MP Joseph Devlin and Redmond's son William, but were mostly composed of insignificant figures, believed to have been appointed as a reward for party loyalty.[46] Despite their numbers, they were never able to exert control over the organisation, which largely remained with its earlier officers. Finances remained fully in the hands of the treasurer, The O'Rahilly, his assistant, Éamonn Ceannt, and MacNeill himself, who retained his position as chairman, further diminishing the IPP's influence.

    Arming the Volunteers

    Shortly after the formation of the Volunteers, the British Parliament banned the importation of weapons into Ireland. The "Curragh incident" (also referred to as the "Curragh Mutiny") of March 1914, indicated that the government could not rely on its army to ensure a smooth transition to Home Rule.Then in April 1914 the Ulster Volunteerssuccessfully imported 24,000 rifles in the Larne Gun Running event. The Irish Volunteers realised that it too would have to follow suit if they were to be taken as a serious force. Indeed, many contemporary observers commented on the irony of "loyal" Ulstermen arming themselves and threatening to defy the British government by force. Patrick Pearsefamously replied that "the Orangeman with a gun is not as laughable as the nationalist without one." Thus O'Rahilly, Sir Roger Casement and Bulmer Hobson worked together to co-ordinate a daylight gun-running expedition to Howth, just north of Dublin. The plan worked, and Erskine Childers brought nearly 1,000 rifles, purchased from Germany, to the harbour on 26 July and distributed them to the waiting Volunteers, without interference from the authorities. The remainder of the guns smuggled from Germany for the Irish Volunteers were landed at Kilcoole a week later by Sir Thomas Myles. As the Volunteers marched from Howth back to Dublin, however, they were met by a large patrol of the Dublin Metropolitan Police and the King's Own Scottish Borderers. The Volunteers escaped largely unscathed, but when the Borderers returned to Dublin they clashed with a group of unarmed civilians who had been heckling them at Bachelors Walk. Though no order was given, the soldiers fired on the civilians, killing four and further wounding 37. This enraged the populace, and during the outcry enlistments in the Volunteers soared.

    The Split

    The outbreak of World War I in August 1914 provoked a serious split in the organisation. Redmond, in the interest of ensuring the enactment of the Home Rule Act 1914 then on the statute books, encouraged the Volunteers to support the British and Allied war commitment and join Irish regiments of the British New Army divisions, an action which angered the founding members. Given the wide expectation that the war was going to be a short one, the majority however supported the war effort and the call to restore the "freedom of small nations" on the European continent. They left to form the National Volunteers, some of whose members fought in the 10th and 16th (Irish) Division, side by side with their Ulster Volunteer counterparts from the 36th (Ulster) Division. A minority believed that the principles used to justify the Allied war cause were best applied in restoring the freedom to one small country in particular. They retained the name "Irish Volunteers", were led by MacNeill and called for Irish neutrality. The National Volunteers kept some 175,000 members, leaving the Irish Volunteers with an estimated 13,500. However, the National Volunteers declined rapidly, and the few remaining members reunited with the Irish Volunteers in October 1917.The split proved advantageous to the IRB, which was now back in a position to control the organisation. Following the split, the remnants of the Irish Volunteers were often, and erroneously, referred to as the "Sinn Féin Volunteers", or, by the British press, derisively as "Shinners", after Arthur Griffith's political organisation Sinn Féin. Although the two organisations had some overlapping membership, there was no official connection between Griffith's then moderate Sinn Féin and the Volunteers. The political stance of the remaining Volunteers was not always popular, and a 1,000-strong march led by Pearse through the garrison city of Limerick on Whit Sunday, 1915, was pelted with rubbish by a hostile crowd. Pearse explained the reason for the establishment of the new force when he said in May 1915:
    What if conscription be enforced on Ireland? What if a Unionist or a Coalition British Ministry repudiates the Home Rule Act? What if it be determined to dismember Ireland? The future is big with these and other possibilities.
    After the departure of Redmond and his followers, the Volunteers adopted a constitution, which had been drawn up by the earlier provisional committee, and was ratified by a convention of 160 delegates on 25 October 1914. It called for general council of fifty members to meet monthly, as well as an executive of the president and eight elected members. In December a headquarters staff was appointed, consisting of Eoin MacNeill as chief of staff, The O'Rahilly as director of arms, Thomas MacDonagh as director of training, Patrick Pearse as director of military organisation, Bulmer Hobson as quartermaster, and Joseph Plunkett as director of military operations. The following year they were joined by Éamonn Ceannt as director of communications and J.J. O'Connell as chief of inspection. This reorganisation put the IRB is a stronger position, as four important military positions (director of training, director of military organisation, director of military operations, and director of communications) were held by men who were, or would soon be, members of the IRB, and who later become four of the seven signatories of the Easter Proclamation. (Hobson was also an IRB member, but had a falling out with the leadership after he supported Redmond's appointees to the provisional council, and hence played little role in the IRB thereafter.)

    Easter Rising, 1916

    The official stance of the Irish Volunteers was that action would only be taken were the British authorities at Dublin Castle to attempt to disarm the Volunteers, arrest their leaders, or introduce conscription to Ireland.The IRB, however, was determined to use the Volunteers for offensive action while Britain was tied up in the First World War. Their plan was to circumvent MacNeill's command, instigating a Rising, and to get MacNeill on board once the rising was a fait accompli. Pearse issued orders for three days of parades and manoeuvres, a thinly disguised order for a general insurrection.MacNeill soon discovered the real intent behind the orders and attempted to stop all actions by the Volunteers. He succeeded only in putting the Rising off for a day, and limiting it to about 1,000 active participants within Dublin and a very limited action elsewhere. Almost all of the fighting was confined to Dublin - though the Volunteers were involved in engagements against RIC barracks in Ashbourne, County Meath, and there were actions in Enniscorthy, County Wexford and in County Galway.The Irish Citizen Army supplied slightly more than 200 personnel for the Dublin campaign.


    Steps towards reorganising the Irish Volunteers were taken during 1917, and on 27 October 1917 a convention was held in Dublin. This convention was called to coincide with the Sinn Féin party conference. Nearly 250 people attended the convention; internment prevented many more from attending. The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) estimated that 162 companies of volunteers were active in the country, although other sources suggest a figure of 390. The proceedings were presided over by Éamon de Valera, who had been elected President of Sinn Féin the previous day. Also on the platform were Cathal Brugha and many others who were prominent in the reorganising of the Volunteers in the previous few months, many of them ex-prisoners. De Valera was elected president. A national executive was also elected, composed of representatives of all parts of the country. In addition, a number of directors were elected to head the various IRA departments. Those elected were: Michael Collins (Director for Organisation); Richard Mulcahy (Director of Training); Diarmuid Lynch (Director for Communications); Michael Staines (Director for Supply); Rory O'Connor (Director of Engineering). Seán McGarry was voted general secretary, while Cathal Brugha was made Chairman of the Resident Executive, which in effect made him Chief of Staff. The other elected members were: M. W. O'Reilly (Dublin); Austin Stack (Kerry); Con Collins (Limerick); Seán MacEntee (Belfast); Joseph O'Doherty (Donegal); Paul Galligan(Cavan); Eoin O'Duffy (Monaghan); Séamus Doyle (Wexford); Peadar Bracken (Offaly); Larry Lardner (Galway); Richard Walsh (Mayo) and another member from Connacht. There were six co-options to make-up the full number when the directors were named from within their ranks. The six were all Dublin men: Eamonn Duggan; Gearóid O'Sullivan; Fintan Murphy; Diarmuid O'Hegarty; Dick McKee and Paddy Ryan. Of the 26 elected, six were also members of the Sinn Féin National Executive, with Éamon de Valera president of both. Eleven of the 26 were elected Teachta Dála (members of the Dáil) in the 1918 general election and 13 in the May 1921 election.

    Relationship with Dáil Éireann

    Sinn Féin MPs elected in 1918 fulfilled their election promise not to take their seats in Westminster but instead set up an independent "Assembly of Ireland", or Dáil Éireann, in the Irish language. In theory, the Volunteers were responsible to the Dáil and was the army of the Irish Republic. In practice, the Dáil had great difficulty controlling their actions; under their own constitution, the Volunteers were bound to obey their own executive and no other body. The fear was increased when, on the very day the new national parliament was meeting, 21 January 1919, members of the Third Tipperary Brigade led by Séumas Robinson, Seán Treacy, Dan Breen and Seán Hogan carried out the Soloheadbeg Ambush and seized a quantity of gelignite, killing two RIC constables and triggering the War of Independence. Technically, the men involved were considered to be in a serious breach of Volunteer discipline and were liable to be court-martialed, but it was considered more politically expedient to hold them up as examples of a rejuvenated militarism. The conflict soon escalated into guerrilla warfare by what were then known as the Flying Columns in remote areas. Attacks on remote RIC barracks continued throughout 1919 and 1920, forcing the police to consolidate defensively in the larger towns, effectively placing large areas of the countryside in the hands of the Republicans. Moves to make the Volunteers the army of the Dáil and not its rival had begun before the January attack, and were stepped up. On 31 January 1919 the Volunteer organ, An tÓglách ("The Volunteer") published a list of principles agreed between two representatives of the Aireacht, acting Príomh Aire Cathal Brugha and Richard Mulcahy and the Executive. It made first mention of the organisation treating "the armed forces of the enemy – whether soldiers or policemen – exactly as a national army would treat the members of an invading army". In the statement the new relationship between the Aireacht and the Volunteers – who increasingly became known as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) – was defined clearly.
    • The Government was defined as possessing the same power and authority as a normal government.
    • It, and not the IRA, sanctions the IRA campaign;
    • It explicitly spoke of a state of war.
    As part of the ongoing strategy to take control of the IRA, Brugha proposed to Dáil Éireann on 20 August 1919 that the Volunteers were to be asked, at this next convention, to swear allegiance to the Dáil. He further proposed that members of the Dáil themselves should swear the same oath.On 25 August Collins wrote to the First minister (Príomh Aire), Éamon de Valera, to inform him "the Volunteer affair is now fixed". Though it was "fixed" at one level, another year passed before the Volunteers took an oath of allegiance to the Irish Republic and its government, "throughout August 1920". On 11 March 1921 Dáil Éireann discussed its relationship with its army. De Valera commented that "..the Dáil was hardly acting fairly by the army in not publicly taking full responsibility for all its acts." The Dáil had not yet declared war, but was at war; it voted unanimously that "..they should agree to the acceptance of a state of war."


    All organisations calling themselves the IRA, as well as the Irish Defence Forces (IDF), have their origins in the Irish Volunteers. The Irish name of the Volunteers, Óglaigh na hÉireann, was retained when the English name changed, and is the official Irish name of the IDF, as well as the various IRAs. The name of the Bengal Volunteers, an Indian revolutionary organization founded in 1928 and active against British rule in India, may have been inspired by the Irish organization.
  • Out of stock
    Extremely rare photograph of the 1936 Limerick Hurlers as they embarked on a tour of the USA after winning the All Ireland. This photo was taken on board a transatlantic liner shows a very happy group setting sail for America where they would be feted as was customary for reigning All Ireland champions. 53cm x 65cm   Castleconnell Co Limerick
    In 1936, the Limerick GAA hurlers took on a New York team at Yankee Stadium.
    British Pathe has shared this amazing footage of the Limerick GAA hurling team taking on the New York-based hurling team on the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium in 1936. The historic footage, which unfortunately does not include sound, features the Limerick hurling team posing as a group on the pitch, as well as longshots of the match and the crowds in the grandstands.British Pathe noted that M. Mackey and T. Ryan scored for Limerick, and the final score was 16 points to 9 points, with Limerick as the victors.
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