Easter 1916 Widow Kathleen Clarke

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 three  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.

Tom before going to prison

Kathleen 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 three boys were subject to constant harassment 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 eleven 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.

 

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