John ‘Sean’ Healy, 14 (or 15)* years old, was a member of the Fianna Eireann North Frederick Street Sluagh. John was also known as ‘Jack’ to his family. He lived at No. 188 Phibsborough Road. He went to school at the local Saint Peter’s National School. He joined the Fianna in 1913. When the Fianna was restructured in 1915, his branch became No. 6 Company in the Fianna Battalion. Sean Heuston, who was also vice-Commandant of the Dublin Battalion, was also his Company commander.
In 1916, he was involved in the transportation of arms across Dublin on Easter Saturday, and when the Rising began on Easter Monday he had not yet received mobilization orders. By Tuesday, April 25th, he made his way towards the Jacobs Garrison. Commandant MacDonagh gave him a dispatch to deliver to an officer at Phibsborough Bridge, knowing he lived nearby and in the hope that he would then go home. Healy did venture home briefly to inform his mother that he was all right but as he made his way back to Commandant MacDonagh he was shot in the head near Byrne’s Corner, Phibsborough, not far from his home.
His last words were reportedly “God Bless the Volunteers”. (Cumann na mBan booklet on ‘The Fianna Heroes of 1916’ published in 1931). While it has been reported in many books that he died instantly, according to the Sisters of Mercy, Healy was brought to the Mater hospital where his “brain was hanging out all over his forehead, he only died two days later”. (Community of the Sisters of Mercy, BMH WS 463).
Sean died from his wounds on April 27th 1916. A plaque now marks the spot where he was shot.
* Death certificate states John was 14 years old at the time of his death, as do other sources however several also state he was 15 years old (see his plaque and ‘Fianna Heroes of 1916’ publication). He was apparently born in 1901 but I couldn’t locate his birth certificate. Joe Duffy’s book contains an extract from a relative of Sean, stating that he was 15 years old in 1916.
John Healy Death Certificate 1916
Healy Family Census Return 1911
“My countrymen, awake! arise!
Our work begins anew!”
Autograph of Herbert ‘Barney’ Mellows, a brother of Liam, and Adjutant-General of Fianna Eireann. The entry is in an autograph book from Frongoch in 1916.
The text is a reference to a 19th century poem by Denis Florence MacCarthy entitled “A New Year’s Song”. An appropriate quote, and fitting for the time, and the situation Barney and his comrades found themselves in following the Easter Rising!!
Autograph source: http://www.kilmainhamgaolautographbooks.ie/
Eamon Martin (1892-1971)
Dublin Brigade Commandant Na Fianna Eireann – 1915-1916
Member of Na Fianna Eireann Executive Council – 1910 -1922
Director Recruiting and Organisation Na Fianna Eireann – 1915
Captain Irish Volunteers – 1913-1916
Member of the original Irish Volunteers Provisional Committee – 1913
Irish Volunteers Executive – 1914-1916
Member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood – 1911-1922
Member O’Donovan Rossa Funeral Organising Committee – 1915
Chief of Staff Na Fianna Eireann – 1917-1921
Chairman Rathdown Rural District Council – 1920-1922
Dublin County Councillor – 1920-1921
Dublin District Court Judge – 1920
Member six man IRA(IV)-Fianna Eireann Composite Council – 1920-21
Assistant Secretary at the Department of (Munitions) Purchases – 1920-1921
President of The 1916-21 Club (on several occasions throughout 1940s and 1950s)
Roll of Honour Magazine Fort and Four Courts Garrison Easter Rising 1916
Member of the Michael Collins Memorial Committee
Trustee of Kilmainham Gaol Restoration Society
President of the Old Fianna Association
Member of the Official State 50th Anniversary Easter Rising Committee
Chairman of the Wolfe Tone Memorial Committee
*Portrait of Eamon Martin by Italian artist Gaetano de Gennaro
Portrait courtesy of the Eamon Murphy Fianna Archives
Permission must be sought for any reproduction of the above image.