Talk/Lecture – Thursday 19 May 2016 at 6.30pm in Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street
“Na Fianna Éireann and the 1916 Easter Rising”
Dr. Marnie Hay (St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra) will examine the nationalist youth organisation Na Fianna Éireann, highlighting the involvement of some of its members in the 1916 Easter Rising.
No booking required, but come early to ensure a place.
Location: Dublin City Library and Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 1.
Part of the Dublin City Council 1916/2016 Centenary Programme.
A rare photograph of Liam Mellows and Sinn Fein Director of Elections James O’Mara (O’Mara was Robert Brennan’s successor as Sinn Fein Director of Elections in 1918).
Photograph location unknown but possibly the United States. Mellows and O’Mara had both spent time together in America; Mellows from 1916 to 1920 and O’Mara from 1919 to 1921. During their time together in the USA, they had become close friends. O’Mara was the organizer for the infamous Republican Bond initiative. He was also founder member of American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic (AARIR) in 1920.
O’Mara, a successful bacon merchant and businessman, had once been MP for the Irish Parliamentary Party (1900-1907) for the seat of Kilkenny South but soon switched allegiances to Sinn Fein, later becoming TD for that party in the same constituency. O’Mara supported the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty.
O’Mara’s obituary stated that Mellows was one of his closest friends in the movement and he strongly protested against Mellows execution in December 1922 and according to daughter, it “left the longest and most bitter memory of all the bitter memories of the civil war”.
James O’Mara died on 21 November 1948 and is buried in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin.
Photograph source: Capuchin Annual 1972.
Fianna Chief and 1916 veteran Eamon Martin said that “I believe that [Patrick] Pearse’s doctrine, no matter how impractical from the military aspect, had a greater appeal [than an alternative], for those who had become tired or waiting for favourable opportunities. I think it was generally felt that the European War which had been going on for eighteen months, might end without any attempt being made to take advantage of England’s difficulty, that this would be shameful and disastrous, and that even a glorious failure would be better than no attempt at all.”
Image: Film still from RTE’s “Insurrection”.
“Seaghán Mooney of the Glasgow based William Nelson Slua, Na Fianna Éireann.
This slua was formed by Joe Robinson and Seamus Dempsey, who had previously been members of the Belfast slua which was also named after the martyred boy patriot of 1798.”
Photograph and caption courtesy of Stephen Coyle and the 1916 Rising Centenary Committee (Scotland)
Tóibín Pádraic (Patrick Tobin), Enniscorthy Sluagh, Wexford Brigade, Fianna Éireann.
Born in 1904 aged about 12 years old at the time of the Rising. He joined Na Fianna in 1915. He was not arrested or detained after the Rising. He re-joined Na Fianna on reorganisation in 1917 and served throughout the War of Independence. During the Rising he was involved in delivering dispatches and came under fire when delivering a dispatch to an outpost at Kilagawley. On the Sunday of the surrender he helped to dump arms. From 1917 on he served as a Battalion Quartermaster and Brigade Vice Officer Commanding Fianna Eireann. He took part in raids for arms and mails, the destruction of Belfast Boycott goods, a raid for petrol on the Enniscorthy Railway Station and a raid on the Income Tax office in Enniscorthy.
In 1920 and 1921 he travelled to Dublin on a number of occasions carrying despatches and reports and British codes captured by the I.R.A. in County Wexford which he passed on to Gearoid O’ Sullivan, Adjutant General of the I.R.A. In October 1920 he was arrested and detained in Cork and Waterford until released in March 1921. During the Truce Period 12th of July 1921 to the 30th of June 1922 he continued his Fianna Eireann activities. At the outbreak of the Civil War in June 1922 he served with the Anti-Treaty I.R.A. forces in the fighting against National Army troops in Enniscorthy. After a period on the run he returned to Enniscorthy in November 1922. As a reporter for the “Enniscorthy Echo” newspaper he was able to gather information from a National Army officer named Commandant McCrea stationed in Gorey, County Wexford regarding the movement of Government forces. In March 1923 he was arrested and interned until December 1923, taking part in a 14 day hunger strike during his period of detention.
Nicholas Hendrick, Fianna Eireann attached to A Company, Wexford Brigade, Irish Volunteers.
Born on the 18th of July 1900 he was 15 years old at the time of the Rising. He fought at Keegan’s Irish Street, the Athenaeum, Edermine Bridge, Borrmount Cross and the Court House in Enniscorthy. He joined Fianna Eireann in March 1916. He was not arrested or detained after the Rising. He joined the Volunteers on reorganisation in 1917 and served throughout the War of Independence. Although he had no official part in the Anti-Treaty side in the Civil War he did help Anti-Treaty forces whenever he could.
Research and biographies courtesy of Brendan Lee at http://www.irishmedals.org
Photograph by ‘Knights and Rebels’, a blog for Enniscorthy’s historic sites: Enniscorthy Castle, National 1798 Rebellion Centre and the Vinegar Hill Battlefield.
‘C’ Coy 2nd Battalion Dublin Brigade 1916-21 Fianna Éireann
The following is an account of Fianna veteran Seamus Nestor by his former comrade and commanding officer in the Dublin Brigade Fianna Eireann, Liam Langley:
“While a pupil in St. Patrick’s School, Drumcondra, Dublin, Seamus Nestor joined Fianna Éireann upon its re-organisation after the Easter Rising in 1916. He was attached to Sean Heuston Sluagh, afterwards ‘C’ Company of the 2nd Battalion, Dublin Brigade.
For almost three years he was just an ordinary member of the Fianna. After passing through all his tests and being noted for punctuality and regular attendance on parades at lectures and camps, he was appointed Quartermaster of his Company at the end of 1919; in this capacity he attended classes in Musketry Instruction held by the I.R.A., afterwards imparting these instructions to Fianna on the use of small arms and grenades.
About this time he took part in a raid for cycles on the Central Telegraph Office. Fifty machines were taken from the stores.
In 1920 he was appointed 1st Lieutenant. He was then one of the squad told off for special intelligence work in connection with enemy spy activities.
In May 1921 he was in an armed engagement with Crown Forces: Accompanied by two others they served as covering party opposing a raid by British Military on a Fianna Camp at Finglas. Armed with revolvers their fire held off the enemy until all the Fianna in camp, about sixty, had escaped. Seamus visited the area on the following day and found the British Military still in the vicinity of King James’s Castle. As he was returning he met a Dispatch Rider, whom he know, attached to the Department of Home Affairs, on his way to shift a dump at the Castle. Despite the warning and advice given by Seamus the other insisted in taking a chance, having first handed over his dispatches which were addressed to Austin Stack, The Minister of Home Affairs, and were duly delivered. At the time the capture of these documents would have been a very serious matter indeed. The dispatch Rider was arrested by the British Military, court-martialed and sentenced to a long term of imprisonment. This arrest took place on 24th May 1921.
Following these incidents the services of Seamus Nestor were immediately requisitioned by Commandant P. Holohan and he was transferred as Assistant Battalion Quartermaster to the 1st Battalion, Dublin Brigade of the I.R.A. In this capacity he was responsible for the purchase, custody and distribution of arms and the inspection of arms dumps in the area. He had also to ensure that Company Quartermasters submitted full returns of arms and ammunition after armed attacks. He served in this capacity to the end of hostilities.
During the Truce, his works as Q.M’s Assistant, if not so risky, remained just as heavy. There was Camp Training at Mulhuddart, night manoeuvres and duties in connection with carnivals as a fund raising campaign, as well as continuing to purchase arms whenever possible. Following on the Belfast purge, as part of his duties, he was responsible for the billeting and feeding of refugees from that city. He took part in many raids for Belfast goods and did much duty at Fowler Hall.
During the last occupation of the Four Courts he was responsible for the transport of arms to and from there for Battalion use. During the attach and bombardment of the Four Courts when the street fighting commenced in the area, Seamus, under the supervision of Quarter Master Corliss, undertook the collection of arms and ammunition from dumps and distributed them amongst the different garrisons.
On the 28th June 1922 he reported to 44 Parnell Square and during the week he served at the Duke of Leinster’s house in Dominick Street and at Jenkins’ of Capel Street where the Garrison surrendered.
Imprisoned in Wellington Barracks, ‘B’ Wing, Mountjoy Prison and transferred to Newbridge Barracks in January 1923; he took part in the mass hunger strike and was released in December 1923.
He joined the Irish Press staff in 1931, later becoming Limerick Branch Manager until he retired through ill health in 1954. His death took place in Limerick on 23rd March 1956.”
Liam Langley – 23 July 1957
Battalion Commandant 2nd (North Dublin) Battalion
Staff HQ Director Organisation and Education
Photograph of Seamus Nestor and transcription of original account typed by Liam Langley in 1957 courtesy of Liam’s granddaughter Eimear Cremen.