I will be adding to this page over the next while
On this Page
- The Mallin Family after the Rising
- Thomas MacDonagh's Last Letter
- Roger Casement & The Black Diaries.
- Easter 1916 Widow Kathleen Clarke
- A little bit of a mystery
- Eamonn Crannt & Thomas Kent - The connection
- Nationalist Families (Plunketts, Giffords, Ryans)
- Padraig Pearse's speech at the grave of O Donovan Rossa
1916 Aftermath A Family’s Suffering
On May 7th 1916 a pregnant Agnes Mallin took her 4 children, Séamus (12), Séan (9) Úna (7) and Joseph (2) to say a last goodbye to their father Michael in his cell in Kilmainham Jail. We can only imagine what was going through her head, she had always supported Michael in his socialism, trade unionism and republicanism but was now faced with destitution. A passing priest who heard loud sobbing coming from the cell went in to try and comfort them, he said afterwards that even the guard was in tears. Michael was happy to give his life for Ireland but distraught at the thought of leaving his family destitute; a working class widow with 5 children under13, how would they survive. Michael was executed in the yard of Kilmainham jail the next morning - Monday May 8th. Three months later his youngest child Maura was born. Fundraising assisted the family but Agnes was forced to return to work to support her family, she worked first as a night nurse and later as a schools attendance officer. The eldest 4 children went to boarding school and Maura was educated at home. However work undermined Agnes’ health and in 1924 she was hospitalised for a year after an operation for TB of the spine (a bone from her leg was placed in her spine). 5 years later the TB returned and when it became clear that she was dying she was cared for at home by her family. Her youngest daughter Maura was just 14 years old when Agnes died. After Agnes’ death Maura went to boarding school in Bray. Maura spent some years in Spain and on her return to Ireland she spent several years working as a teacher with the Dublin Spanish Society. She married Robert Phillips and they had 2 children David and Michael. Úna Mallin became a nun joining the Loreto order and spending her life in Spain. Sean became a Jesuit priest and spent his life teaching in Galway. Joseph also became a Jesuit priest and has spent most of his life in Hong Kong where he still lives (as of November 2016). Seamus the eldest fought in the Civil War on the republican side after which he went to Venezuela returning to Ireland in 1932. He married Sophia Stockley and they had 5 children Michéal, Una, (O Callanáin) Séan, Germaine and Annette. Descendants of Agnes and Michael Mallin still live in Dublin.
After his arrest Roger Casement is sent to prison in Britain. The authorities wish to execute him but are afraid to, as calls for clemency are being made by influential people. They have extracts from his diaries circulated which show him to be a promiscuous homosexual.(The Black Diaries) In the climate of the time this causes a huge scandal and calls for clemency cease. Roger is tried for treason and condemned to death. He isn’t shot like the other leaders but hanged like a common criminal in Pentonville Prison.
The Black Diaries The Black Diaries are full of graphic sexual references including references to sex with teenage boys. For 100 years a debate has raged over whether they are genuine or forgeries. Those who say the diaries are genuine have always pointed to the huge volume of writing in the diaries, the fact that the diaries were offered to Casements defence team and the other evidence of Casement's being gay as proof that they were genuine. Then in 2002 a handwriting expert from Scotland Yard concluded that the writing was undoubtedly Casement’s. This was accepted by the majority. Case closed? A small group however still claim they may be forgeries citing inconsistencies between the Black Diaries and his other diaries and the fact that the examination was not a complete forensic investigation and would not meet the standards required by a court of law, being confined mostly to handwriting (they say handwriting experts have been wrong before). These people call for a full forensic investigation including chemical analysis by modern non invasive tests (e.g a Raman spectrometer & X-Ray fluorescence) to prove conclusively whether the diaries were written by Casement or not. This may never be done however as most academics believe the Black Diaries were written by Casement. Even if it were done and the diaries proved genuine there would still be people who wouldn't accept it because they don't want to believe it. Several books and articles have been written about this.
Like many people today I believe it doesn't matter whether Roger was gay or not, promiscuous or not being gay or promiscuous is a natural human thing, part of life for millions of years, Roger Casement was a great man who led a fascinating life, his sexuality was only one aspect of this. His humanitarian work is much more intriguing.
Roger Casement a great humanitarian and nationalist.
Kathleen Clarke's uncle a famous Fenian called John Daly was in prison for years with Tom Clarke. When John Daly was released from prison there was a huge celebration in Limerick, shortly afterwards Tom Clarke was released and came to stay with the Dalys in Limerick. Tom was a shadow of his former self due to the brutal treatment of Fenian prisoners and looked much older than his 40 years. Kathleen was only 20 at this time. She and Tom fell in love and in spite of some opposition from her family because of Tom's age and poverty they married in New York 3 years later, in 1901. They returned to Ireland in 1907 and opened a shop in Dublin. Tom was the driving force behind the rising and their shop was a constant hub of republican activity with Kathleen very much in the loop, she was one of the founders of Cumann na mBan. Kathleen was the only person outside of the IRB Military Council to know all the plans for the rising and the leaders entrusted her with rebuilding the organisation if the Rising failed and they all died. She was arrested after the Rising and taken to Dublin Castle, she was allowed a last visit with Tom and with her brother Ned Daly before they were executed; not surprisingly a few weeks later she lost the baby she was carrying . Kathleen and her 3 boys were subject to constant harrasment from the authorities in the years after the Rising. She worked with Michael Collins to re-build the IRB network and set up the Irish National Aid Fund to aid the families of those killed or imprisoned. She continued to work for Irish freedom and during the war of Independence was imprisoned in England for 11 months. She was an alderman of Dublin Corporation and a TD in the second Dail of 1921. She opposed the treaty in the civil war and was briefly imprisoned.After the Civil War Kathleen helped found Fianna Fail and served as a TD, senator and Lord Mayor of Dublin. She opposed de Valera's constitution of 1937 as it did not give women equality; she made her opinion known in the press which made her unpopular with many in Fianna Fail. She left Fianna Fail in 1941 but continued to work on hospital boards. In 1965 she went to live with her son in England and died there in 1972 aged 94. She was given a state funeral and is buried in Deans Grange Cemetery.
A Little bit of a Mystery
Kathleen Clarke said that one of the Proclamation signatories did not want to give women equality but would not say who it was. Assuming that this is true, she would hardly have said it, if it was her husband Tom. It was certainly not James Connolly, Thomas MacDonagh or Sean MacDiarmada. Eamonn Ceannt's wife Aine was very involved in Cumann na mBan, making him unlikely and Joseph Plunketts sisters were feminists. Padraig Pearse was certainly in favour of votes for women and has been mentioned by some of his women friends as being in favour of equality which leaves us with no-one. However Pearse did ask the women to leave when it became dangerous in the GPO, (Sean MacDiarmada objected) and I haven't found conclusive evidence that Eamonn Ceannt or Joseph Plunkett were in favour of full equality for women even though they were in favour of votes for women. If anyone finds evidence please let me know ???????
Eamonn Ceannt & Thomas Kent
Eamonn Ceannt's brother was in the British Army and was stationed in Cork during the Rising. He was caught bringing food to the condemned Thomas Kent (no relation). He was accused of stealing the food but swore he had bought it; he was found guilty and sent to the western front of World War I where he died.
The Plunkett Family
Joseph and Fiona Plunkett were a wealthy Dublin couple who had 7 children. Before the Rising they weren't active nationalists but did allow the IVF to train on their property and gave the use of a house to Cumann na mBan. They were imprisoned for a while after the Rising. Their 3 sons Joseph, George and Jack were sentenced to death. Joseph was executed but George and Jack had their sentences changed to Penal servitude. Their daughters Mimi , Geraldine and Fiona were active in Cumann na mBan and Mimi was active in the rising. After the Rising Count Plunkett became radical and was elected as a Sinn Fein TD. The family* were active in the war of Independence. The Plunketts were anti-treaty in the Civil War; George Jack and Mimi were imprisoned in the Civil War and again in later years for IRA activity.
*apart from Moya Plunkett who wasn't a Nationalist
The wealthy Giffords were unionists; Frederick was catholic and his wife Isabella a fiercly loyalist protestant. They had 12 children and Isabella a formidable and bossy woman brought them all up as Protestants. The 6 boys remained Protestant and unionist while the 6 girls (Sidney, Nellie, Grace, Kate, Muriel, and Ada) became nationalist, 5 of them converting to Catholicism. They were traitors in the eyes of their mother and their class.
The Gifford girls were bright, educated and independent. They helped in the 1913 lockout and were involved in the suffragette movement and with Cumann na mBan. Many of the young men they met were republican.
Muriel was a member of Maud Gonne's republican women's group, Inghinidhe na hÉireann, which later became Cumann na mBan. When her husband Thomas MacDonagh was executed she was left with 2 tiny children. In 1917 she died in a tragic drowning accident and for decades the 2 families fought over the children. Nellie ( a cookery teacher) became involved with Countess Markievicz, Jim Larkin and James Connolly. and joined the Irish Citizen Army, She took part in the Rising. Sidney (under the name John Brennan) worked as a journalist for republican newspapers and was active in social and political causes throughout her life. Ada went to the USA and became involved in the Gaelic movement. Grace, the youngest of the three, a talented artist who had studied in London wasn't involved in active nationalism before the Rising but contributed cartoons and drawings. She married Joseph Plunkett in Kilmainham Jail just hours before his execution. During the War of Independence and Civil War she used her artistic skills for propaganda. She was anti-treaty in the Civil War and was imprisoned. She spent decades in dispute with the Plunkett family over Joseph's estate finally getting money in 1935. Katherine Gifford wasn't in Ireland during 1916 but was active as a nationalist on her return in 1918. She was imprisoned during the Civil War.
The Ryan Family
The Ryans were a nationalist Wexford family. John and Eliza Ryan had a large farm and 12 children, 11 of whom went to university.
Kit, a language professor was arrested in the Rising, she married a fellow republican Sean T Kelly, in 1918 (he was active in the War of Independence) They were anti treaty in the Civil War. Kit died at 55 and 2 years later Sean T married her sister Phyllis who had also been active in 1916 in the GPO and in the War of Independence and Civil War.
Nelly a teacher took part in the Rising and was active in the War of Independence, She was anti treaty in the civil war, was imprisoned and went on hunger strike. She later became a Fianna Fail councillor.
Jim a medical student in 1916 was chief medical officer in the GPO. In 1919 he married Mairin Cregan a fellow republican, also active in 1916. They were both arrested in the War of Independence leaving a baby to be cared for by relatives. Jim was a member of the first Dail. They were anti treaty in the Civil War and Jim was imprisoned. Later he was a Fianna Fail minister and senator.
Min a language teacher was a courier in the Rising and the sweetheart of Sean MacDiarmada whom she visited before his execution. in 1919 she married Richard Mulcahy who was active in the war of independence and pro treaty in the Civil War, Her sister Kit urged her to leave Richard because of his pro treaty stance and her sister Phyllis cut all ties with her. The family tried to get her to intervene when her sister Nelly was imprisoned (She didn't). Agnes married IRB man Denis McCullogh who was arrested after the Rising and active in the War of Independence they were pro treaty.
Chris Ryan and her husband Michael were neutral in the civil war and acted as a bridge between the 2 sides. In 1929 one of the Ryan siblings Fr Martin died and this helped bring about a reconciliation in the family. There seems to have been agreement that the bitterness of the Civil War would not be passed on to the next generation and the families spent several summer holidays together in Wexford in the 1930s.
Excellent article by Olivia O Leary click http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/25/100-years-after-easter-rising-irish-women-still-fighting-gender-equality
Padraig Pearse's Speech at the Grave
of O' Donovan Rossa
"It has seemed right, before we turn away from this place in which we have laid the mortal remains of O' Donovan Rossa that one amongst us should, in the name of all, speak the praise of that valiant man, and endeavour to formulate the thought and the hope that are in us as we stand around his grave. And if there is anything that makes it fitting that I rather than some other--I, rather than one of the grey-haired men who were young with him, and shared in his labour and in his suffering, should speak here, it is, perhaps, that I may be taken as speaking on behalf of a new generation that has been re-baptised in the Fenian faith, and that has accepted the responsibility of carrying out the Fenian programme. I propose to you, then, that here by the grave of this unrepentant Fenian, we renew our baptismal vows; that here by the grave of this unconquered and unconquerable man, we ask of God, each one for himself, such unshakeable purpose, such high and gallant courage, such unbreakable strength of soul as belonged to O'Donovan Rossa.
"Deliberately here we avow ourselves, as he avowed himself in the dock, Irishmen of one allegiance only. We, of the Irish Volunteers, and you others who are associated with us in to-day's task and duty, are bound together, and must stand together henceforth in brotherly union for the achievement of the freedom of Ireland. And we know only one definition of freedom: It is Tone's definition; it is Mitchel's definition; it is Rossa's definition. Let no one blaspheme the cause that the dead generations of Ireland served by giving it any other name and definition than their name and definition.
"We stand at Rossa's grave, not in sadness, but rather in exaltation of spirit that it has been given us to come thus into so close a communion with that brave and splendid Gael. Splendid and holy causes are served by men who are themselves splendid and holy. O'Donovan Rossa was splendid in the proud manhood of him--splendid in the heroic grace of him, splendid in the Gaelic strength and clarity and truth of him. And all that splendour, and pride, and strength was compatible with a humility and a simplicity of devotion to Ireland, to all that was olden and beautiful and Gaelic in Ireland; the holiness and simplicity of patriotism of a Michael O'Clery or of an Eoghan O'Growney. The clear true eyes of this man almost alone in his day visioned Ireland as we to-day would surely have her--not free merely but Gaelic as well; not Gaelic merely, but free as well.
"In a closer spiritual communion with him now than ever before, or perhaps ever again, in spiritual communion with those of his day living and dead, who suffered with him in English prisons, in communion of spirit too with our own dear comrades who suffer in English prisons to-day, and speaking on their behalf as well as our own, we pledge to Ireland our love, and we pledge to English rule in Ireland our hate. This is a place of peace, sacred to the dead, where men should speak with all charity and with all restraint; but I hold it a Christian thing, as O'Donovan Rossa held it, to hate evil, to hate untruth, to hate oppression, and hating them, to strive to overthrow them. Our foes are strong, and wise, and wary; but strong and wise and wary as they are, they cannot undo the miracles of God, Who ripens in the hearts of young men the seeds sown by the young men of a former generation. And the seeds sown by the young men of '65 and '67 are coming to their miraculous ripening to-day. Rulers and Defenders of Realms had need to be wary it they would guard against such processes. Life springs from death, and from the graves of patriot men and women spring live nations. The defenders of this realm have worked well in secret and in the open. They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us, and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything. They think that they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools! they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace."*
Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa was a Fenian born in Skibbereen in 1831. In 1865, he was charged with plotting a Fenian rising and sentenced to penal servitude for life and served time in prisons in England. In 1869 the people of Tipperary voted him in as an MP but the election was declared invalid. In 1870 there was an amnesty for Fenian prisoners and he was released on condition that he never again live in Ireland (he was allowed to visit twice). He went to to America where he continued to work as a republican and helped organise the dynamite campaign of the 1880s when English cities were bombed. (this was when Tom Clarke was caught and imprisoned ). The British ordered his extradition but were refused. He had 3 wives and 18 children and died aged 83 in New York. Tom Clarke and the IRB immediately spotted the propaganda opportunity and his body was sent to Ireland. A huge funeral was organised at which Padraig Pearse urged on by Tom Clarke made the above famous speech.