Photo of Senior Fianna Eireann officers.
Front Row (L-R): Paddy Holohan, Michael Lonergan and Con Colbert.
Back Row (L-R): Garry Holohan, Padraig O’Riain.
*Often inaccurately captioned as the “Fianna Eireann Council 1915”.
This photo is most probably from late 1913 (or possibly very early 1914). It is listed on the NLI site as a ‘Keogh Bros’ photograph from circa 1915 and this date has since been incorrectly used in various books and websites. It is also not the Fianna Council but rather a photograph of some senior members of that organization. At that time (1913) the Fianna leadership had an ‘Ard Choiste’ and the full Ard Choiste in 1913 comprised of Countess Markievicz, Bulmer Hobson, Padraig O’Riain, Con Colbert, Alfie White, Frank and Sean Reynolds, Michael Lonergan, Eamon Martin, Liam Mellows and Jimmy Gregan, Joseph Robinson, Sean O’Kelly, Sean Heuston, Sean Sinnott and Eamon Leahy.
In fact Garry and Paddy Holohan were not yet members of the Fianna hierarchy at that early stage (they were shortly afterwards) although Garry was second in command to Frank Reynolds at Sluagh Emmett at that time. After a proposal by Eamon Martin at the Fianna Eireann Ard Fheis in July 1915, the Fianna were reorganized along military lines to work more efficiently and in tandem with the Irish Volunteers and a formal headquarters staff was elected. Eamon Martin called for the Ard Choiste to be replaced with a military style headquarters staff. Following the meeting a new staff structure comprising of Chief of Staff, Adjutant General, Director of Training, Director of Equipment and so on, was elected.
Michael Lonergan had emigrated to the United States in early 1914. Con Colbert had also left Fianna Eireann by 1915 to concentrate on his Volunteer duties but he remained a member (and ‘centre’) of the Fianna IRB circle right up until the Rising.
Three of the men in this photo were also on the original Irish Volunteer Provisional Committee; Lonergan, O’Riain and Colbert.
It is one of the finest Fianna Eireann photographs from that period still in existence.
Photograph: Keogh Brothers, National Library Ireland NLI