Left to Right: Frank McCabe, Peter Healy, Joe Mac Bride, Michael Foley, Sean T. Ó Ceallaigh, Liam Pedlar, Sceilg (aka John O’Kelly), Barney Mellows, Darrell Figgis, Dr. Pat McCartan.
In February 1917, less than two months after his release from Frongoch, Fianna Eireann Adjutant General Barney Mellows was detained by the British authorities. Along with other prominent republicans he was taken to Arbour Hill military barracks where he spent the night.
The group of ‘extremists’ were given no reason for their detention nor were any charges brought against them; all that was stated was that they were revolutionary suspects and they had been engaging in such practices as ‘using expressions likely to cause disaffection’. After being detained for the night in Dublin, they were marched off to the docks the next morning and were deported to England. At first they were sent to Oxford where they had the liberty to move around freely. About a week or two after they arrived, they decided to travel down to London for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities and after having an enjoyable day sampling the wares of the capital they returned to Oxford, much to the annoyance of the authorities.
The local police decided to impose harsher terms of detention and the men were ordered to the smaller town of Fairford in Gloucestershire. They were instructed to remain in Fairford and not to travel further than 5 miles outside the town otherwise they would end up in a prison.
After some time Pat McCartan, Sean T. O’Kelly and Darrell Figgis decided to go it alone as felt that three men wouldn’t be as easily noticed as a larger group. They travelled back to Ireland via train and boat and it was several days before their absence was discovered.
Barney and the rest of the men stayed on in Fairford as the local police now kept a closer eye on their movements and whereabouts. They had to report daily at the local police station and it now proved more difficult for them to attempt another escape attempt. After about another eight weeks Barney and the remaining deportees were allowed to go home.
Photograph and text by Eamon Murphy
Photograph of delegates at the ‘Irish Race Congress’ in Paris January 1922.
The Congress was attended by delegates from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, Argentina and Ireland.
Included in the photograph are Eamon de Valera, Constance Markievicz, Harry Boland, Eoin MacNeill, Douglas Hyde, Sean T O’Kelly, Mary MacSwiney, Michael Hayes, Diarmuid Coffey and Father Timothy Shanley.
Fianna Chief Eamon Martin accompanied the Irish delegation and was tasked with arranging a fake passport for Eamon de Valera in the name of ‘Father Walsh’.
Eamon Martin recalled: “Liam Mellows asked me to go to London and prepare a passport for him. As De Valera was to travel as a Priest, it had been arranged that Father Tin Shanley of New York, who was visiting Ireland at the time, would accompany him, and I availed of his presence in London. I explained to him how I wanted to “use” him, he knew, as I did, that he was taking grave risks both in regard to the Law in England and with his own Ecclesiastical Authorities, but he brushed all consequences aside.
De Valera got safely to Paris on the faked passport, and he was in time to be elected President of the Race Convention. I followed him a few days later with another passport – this time he was an Engineer – to be used on the return journey in case his disguise as a Priest became known to the British Authorities. In fact it never did become known and de Valera returned on the same passport, as a Priest.”
Photograph courtesy of the Michael Tierney Photographic Collection held at UCD Archives.
A plaque unveiled in memory of Con Colbert of Fianna Eireann by Eamon T Dore at Barrington’s Hospital, Limerick, May 4th, 1958. Eamon Martin, former friend of Colberts, and former Chief of Staff of Fianna Eireann, donated the plaque and is in the background of the photograph waiting to give a speech.
Photograph copyright of Eamon Murphy
The unveiling of the memorial to Fianna patriot Liam Mellows at the ‘Old Boy School’ in Athenry in Galway on Monday 11th April 1966.
Included in the photograph are Galway veterans of Cumman na mBan and the Irish Volunteers. A representative of the Mellows family was also in attendance.