“Young Heroes’ Notable Deeds” – Fianna Eireann at the Howth Gunrunning, July 26th 1914

Fianna at Howth

“Young Heroes’ Notable Deeds”

“The National Boys Scouts [Fianna Eireann] distinguished themselves in more ways than one on Sunday in connection with the gunrunning coup. They were commanded by Lieutenants Padraig O’Riain and Eamon Martin; and every one over 15 had orders to accompany the Volunteers.

They turned up in strong force in the morning and throughout the day they behaved like thorough soldiers. They bore the long march to Howth remarkably well. When the first attack was made by the soldiers, the Scouts showed up manfully. One of the older of them was seen to engage a Scottish Borderer who was armed with a fixed bayonet. With a stroke of his rifle he brought the soldier to the ground, and then coolly took possession of his rifle and bayonet. One Scout was wounded above the loft ear, blood flowing profusely down his face. One of the commanders of the Scouts mounted a wall, an opened fire with an automatic pistol on the attackers. In the melee, another rifle was captured from a Scottish Borderer.


When the order was given to the Volunteers at the rear to get away with their rifles and ammunition, the Scouts, in addition to getting safely away with a large quantity of ammunition which they had carefully stored away in their trek cart, brought the captured rifles with them. They are now safely stored with the rest of the rifles.

A witness of the occurrence said to an ’Irish independent’ representative that the Scouts were even pluckier then some of the Volunteers. “Every one of them held his rifle as he would hold his life’.”

Irish Independent, July 28th 1914.

Photos courtesy of the Erskine Childers Collection held at Trinity College Archives and Eamon Murphy

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