Monthly Archives: June 2015

Two young Fianna Eireann members

29555_10152212985995739_114293808_nClick on image to enlarge

Two young Fianna Eireann members.

*Year and names unknown.

Photograph courtesy of the Allen Library.

‘Fianna’s Golden Jubilee: Dream of Young Army recalled’

Eamon Murphy CopyrightClick on image to enlarge

“Fianna’s Golden Jubilee: Dream of Young Army recalled”

Mr. Cathal O’Shannon addressing veterans of the Fianna after a wreath was laid by former Chief of Staff Eamon Martin at the Republican Plot, August 16th 1959.

Photograph: Irish Press & Eamon Murphy Fianna Archives (c)

Barry’s Hotel Dublin 1922


Barry’s Hotel, Dublin.

Following the Free State bombardment of the Four Courts (which housed Anti-Treaty Republicans including the IRA Executive) on 28th June 1922, Oscar Traynor, O/C Dublin Brigade, mobilised the remainder of local Battalions at Barry’s Hotel. A call to arms was sent out and was responded to by a large group of Republicans, which also included a detachment of the Irish Citizen Army. A significant number of Cumann na mBan members also reported for duty.

Many of those who arrived at Barry’s Hotel were senior officers of Na Fianna, and were also members of the Fianna HQ staff, including Garry Holohan (Former National Fianna Q.M.G but still on Fianna Executive), Eamon Martin (National Fianna Director of Training and former Chief of Staff), Joe Reynolds (National Fianna Q.M.G.), Liam Langley (Dublin Brigade O/C and National Director of Education and Organisation), Sean Harling (Vice O/C) and Barney Mellows (National Fianna A/G).

Garry Holohan and Eamon Martin, in particular, assisted in the fortifications of Barry’s Hotel and in the commandeering of supplies and weapons before they eventually moved out. Constance Markievicz also reported to Barry’s Hotel and was appointed second in command to John Hanratty, O/C of the ICA unit. The Fianna Dublin Brigade subsequently set up their own HQ in nearby North Great George’s Street.

fianna_1915_960Garry Holohan

Garry Holohan, senior Fianna Officer (and former Q.M.G and Dublin Brigade O/C), was soon placed in command of a significant portion of ‘The Block’ on O’Connell Street by Oscar Traynor.

Traynor later wrote that: ” Mr Holohan was an outstanding efficient officer whose courage and ability was at all times at the service of the Dublin Brigade and was gladly availed of by me during the week, when I placed him in command of the North side of O’Connell street. In these positions were officers of all ranks including at least one Brigade Commandant.”

Barney MellowsBarney ‘Herbert’ Mellows

Barney Mellows, Adjutant General of the Fianna, was appointed as ‘Officer-in-Charge of Supplies’ of ‘The Block’ area by O/C Oscar Traynor. Traynor wrote that Mellows “operated with the Dublin Brigade HQ during the period of the opening weeks of the Civil War in Dublin. In the Hamman-Gresham Hotel Block, he acted in the capacity of Officer-in-Charge of Supplies. He was one of the most active of the defenders of this block of buildings and distinguished himself in action on several occasions towards the end of their occupation.”

jjjj-001Eamon Martin

Eamon Martin, who had by now relinquished his position as Chief of Staff but had remained on the Fianna Executive and also as Fianna Director of Training, played a vital role in fortifying the defences of Barry’s Hotel and surrounding buildings. Martin left the area to obtain guns for his fellow Fianna comrades but was arrested by Free State Forces, in possession of arms, as he attempted to return to ‘The Block’.

OConnell-Street-1922O’Connell Street 1922

Photo of Barry’s Hotel courtesy of Barry’s Hotel Dublin.

Printed ‘Target’ Card signed by Constance Markievicz


A printed ‘Target’ card which was used for practice by Constance Markievicz, and also by members of the Fianna, Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army. It was used for practice in the grounds of Joseph’s Plunkett’s house ‘Larkfield’ in Kimmage, Dublin. The target board is signed “Constance de Markievicz” and has seven perforations, two in the bullseye.

It is owned by the Sligo Markievicz Memorial Committee. Joe McGowan of that committee has kindly given us permission to post a photo of it here. Thank you Joe!!

The target card was originally issued by W. Kavanagh & Son, gun makers, 12 Dame St., Dublin.

Rare photograph of Sean Heuston taken in 1912.

Sean Heuston Eamon Murphy

Rare photograph of Sean Heuston taken in 1912.

Sean was a member of the National Fianna Executive and became Fianna ‘Director of Training’ in 1915. He was also appointed as Captain of the Fianna 6th Dublin Company (No. 6 Coy) and was vice-Commandant of the Fianna Dublin Brigade.

In the 1916 Easter Rising Sean Heuston and a small group of young Irish Volunteers took over the Mendicity Institution in Dublin. Several of the Irish Volunteers at the Mendicity Institution with Heuston were also (or had once been) members of Fianna Eireann including P. J. Stephenson, Sean McLoughlin, Liam Staines and Dick Balfe.

Following the general surrender he was tried by court-martial and sentenced to death. He was executed on May 8th 1916. He was only twenty five years old.

John ‘The Yank’ Kilgallon


Photograph of American John ‘The Yank’ Kilgallon in what looks like a Fianna Eireann uniform at St. Enda’s, Holy Thursday, 1916.

This photo was taken outside the front steps of St. Enda’s on Holy Thursday, 20th April 1916.

John was a senior ‘University’ student at St Endas. He was one of three Irish Americans at St Endas during that period. He enrolled in September 1914. In a letter Pearse wrote in July 1914 he mentioned John Kilgallon’s upcoming enrollment: “I have got another Irish-American for next term, his name is Kilgallon and his father owns real estate at Far Rockaway. He is a young man, and he will rank as a University resident.”

He was part of Pearse’s inner circle at St Endas and subsequently became a member of the Rathfarnham ‘E’ company of the Irish Volunteers which became known as ‘Pearse’s Own’; many members of ‘E’ Coy came from, or once attended, St Endas. A number of these were now students at UCD but were still living at St Endas as ‘boarders’ and involved in part-time teaching and administration work. They formed what became known as the ‘University Group’ at St Endas.

Several of these young men were also members of the Fianna IRB circle known by the cover name “The John Mitchell Literary and Debating Society”. These included Desmond Ryan, Eamonn Bulfin, Fintan Murphy, David Sears, Joe Sweeney and Frank de Burca. Given that IRB/Fianna connection with this group, it is likely that John Kilgallon was also a member of this IRB circle. It is also probable that he was once (or still was) a member of Na Fianna in 1916 when this photograph was taken, or certainly involved with the national boy scouts in some form. It is possible that as these young men progressed from the Fianna to the Volunteers, they hung onto their Fianna uniforms due to costs, difficulties in obtaining new uniforms etc. Another possibility is that he just borrowed this uniform or ‘found’ it at St Endas. In Kilgallon’s subsequent pension application, he did not claim for any Fianna service however, the official pension period only began on April 23rd 1916 for which he claimed service as a member of the Irish Volunteers.

A member of the ‘University Group’ Frank de Burca recalled that “for some months previous to Easter Monday 1916 I was, with the other members of our group, engaged in making preparations for the Rising. Every evening we spent in the “University Room” making hand-grenades, filling cartridges with shot and fashioning batons for use against looters, etc.”

Kilgallon was also a keen photographer and it was his camera which was used to take the photograph of John above. John also took this photograph on Easter Sunday outside St Endas of his fellow ‘Pearses Own’ volunteers. Included are, back row, Eamonn Bulfin, Conor McGinley, Frank Connolly, Desmond Ryan and Peadar Slattery, kneeling are Brian Joyce, Frank Burke, Eunan McGinley and Joe Sweeney.


Kilgallon was stationed in the GPO with his company in 1916 and Desmond Ryan remembers John’s reaction when they entered the GPO on Easter Monday:

“Holy Gee!! cried John A. Kilgallon in his American accent to two bewildered postal officials. “This ‘ain’t no half-arsed revolution! This is the business. Thousands of troops and seige guns outside. The whole country is ablaze. Twenty transports outside are coming in when the submarines have sunk the rest of the warships. We have our own mint. Light your pipes with Treasury notes and fling all but gold away. When we do things, we do things!”

He was said to have saved Eamonn Bulfin’s life when he pulled him in from a window which was under heavy fire in the GPO. He also gained notoriety when he appeared in the GPO later in the week dressed as Queen Elizabeth I after raiding the costume from the waxworks in Henry Street.

After the Rising John Kilgallon was arrested and sent to Stafford Jail in England. His address in the Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook is given as ‘The Hermitage’, Rathfarnham, Dublin. After Stafford he was sent to Frongoch, Wales until December 1916. According to Lyn Ebenezer there were four US citizens at Frongoch; along with Kilgallon, the others were Peter Fox, William Pedlar and Michael Joseph Lynch. Ebenezer also claims that Kilgallon gave his place of residence as James Street, Far Rockaway, New York and that President Wilson personally intervened in his case. In 1917 he was deported back to the United States and joined the US Navy where he served briefly in World War I. He remained in America afterwards and took no further part in the fight for Independence.

Research and text by Eamon Murphy. Photographs courtesy of the Pearse Museum and Eanna De Burca .


Irish Times Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook 1917

O’Mahony, Sean 1987, Frongoch:University of Revolution

Ebenezer, Lyn 2006, Frongoch Camp 1916 and the birth of the IRA

O’Buachalla, Seamus 1980, The Letters of P.H. Pearse

Sisson, Elaine 2004, Pearse’s Patriots: St Enda’s and the Cult of Boyhood

Bureau of Military History Witness Statement No. 694, Fergus (Frank) Burke

Bureau of Military History Witness Statement No. 141, James Kenny

Bureau of Military History Witness Statement No. 724, Desmond Ryan

Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) Movement of Extremists 29 May 1915 – 20 April 1916


Irish Archives of Ireland Release:

Chief Secretary’s Office, Crime Branch: Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) Movement of Extremists 29 May 1915 – 20 April 1916.

This new weekly series is comprised of daily reports produced by the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP), Detective Department on the movements and associations of pro-independence suspects. The reports were compiled by Superintendent Owen Brien and submitted to the Under Secretary for Ireland, Sir Matthew Nathan, at Dublin Castle. The reports describe Republican activity in Dublin during the 11 months preceding the Easter Rising.

In this report from June 2nd 1915, it mentions Fianna Eireann Chief and Irish Volunteer Executive member Padraic O’Riain (Patrick Ryan) speaking at an anti-recruitment meeting at Beresford Place, Dublin.

It records visits to the shop of Thomas J Clarke, 75 Parnell Street, by JJ Farrelly, Major John McBride, William O’Leary Curtis, Thomas Byrne, Frank Fahy, Seán T Ó Ceallaigh and Professor Thomas MacDonagh.

It also records the attendance of Bulmer Hobson (also of the Fianna), Jeremiah Joseph O’Connell, Padraic O’Riain and Michael O’Hanrahan in the office of the Irish Volunteers, 2 Dawson Street, Dublin.

A fantastic resource!!