One of the earliest Fianna Eireann branches or Sluagh (Slua) was based in Dolphins Barn. “Slua Patrick Sarsfield” was founded by Liam Mellows in 1912 and was based in the Dolphin’s Barn area. Recruits were accepted into this branch from the locality and even beyond. Liam was the head of the Sluagh and his 2nd in command was Alfie White. They were one of the best run branches in the Dublin and were often commended by headquarters. They held regular drill classes and Irish language classes from the end of 1912 (they even had their own teacher, Mr. N. MacNamee). They were also one of the most well equipped branches with all members having full uniforms by spring 1913. Bear in mind this was well before the Volunteers were formed later in the year so this is a tremendous achievement and most of it was put down to Mellows brilliant organisational and leadership qualities.
Shortly afterwards in 1913 another branch was formed in the area “Slua Brian Boru”, perhaps to replace “Slua Patrick Sarsfield” or as an extra branch as a result of the growing popularity of the nationalist boy scouts in the Dolphins Barn area.
Liam Mellows was also busy with organizing the national Fianna movement around the same time so this could explain the name change as he spent less and less time in Dolphin’s Barn. In any case Liam had left official Fianna duties later in the year as he devoted more of his time to the Irish Volunteers. The departure of Liam did not end the Mellows family involvement in the Dolphin’s Barn area and in 1915 the Dublin branches of Fianna Eireann were organised into a Battalion of nine Companies and Liam’s brother Barney became commander of no.2 Coy. Dolphin’s Barn.
The area was seen as very important to the independence movement and many future senior Fianna Eireann officers and indeed Volunteer officers came from the area or had been based there. On one occasion, a few days before the 1916 Rising took place Barney Mellows organized a meeting with other Fianna members at St. Enda’s at Rathfarnham and ordered them to transport several cases of rifles to a safe house location in Dolphin’s Barn. Following the 1916 Rising, senior Fianna officer Seamus Pounch became O/C of no.2 Coy. Dolphin’s Barn.
Eamon Ceannt also lived in the Dolphin’s Barn area and Barney Mellows was in his house in Dolphin’s Terrace in Dolphin’s Barn the morning of the first day of the Rising. Barney was due to fight alongside Ceannt at the South Dublin Union but at the last minute he was drafted into the “Magazine Fort” team due to the depletion of their numbers, as a result of the earlier countermanding order.
By Eamon Murphy
Photo by H Warren http://www.panoramio.com/photo/72473150