Sean McLoughlin and Eamon Martin
Sean McLoughlin, was part of the group of young men that took over the Mendicity Institute at the beginning of the week during the Easter Rising in 1916. As well as being a prominent Irish Volunteer, Sean McLoughlin was also a senior member of Na Fianna Eireann.
He joined the Fianna in 1910 and became a Lieutenant at the Sluagh based at Blackhall Street. He went on to become a Fianna Captain in 1915. During Easter week he held both Fianna and Irish Volunteer rank.
During Easter week he made several risky ‘excursions’ out of the Mendicity to gather intelligence, food and ammunition, and also to give reports of happenings at the Mendicity Garrison to other areas of command, in particular Ned Daly’s 1st Battalion in the Four Courts area and to Pearse and Connolly at the G.P.O.
McLoughlin recalls one of these hazardous expeditions when he “went to see Ned Daly and he agreed that I should go to the G.P.O and give an account of everything that happened up to date. Before going there, I decided I would make a certain call. Earlier that day, Volunteers of the North King Street unit had made a sortie against the Broadstone Station, and Eamon Martin, an old Fianna comrade of mine, had been shot [through the left lung]. He had been taken to hospital and was not expected to live.
I went to the Richmond hospital at North Brunswick Street, opposite my old school. It was only after a heated argument with the hospital staff that I was reluctantly permitted to see him. He lay on the bed unconscious and, to all appearances, dying (he did not die, thank god, but made a wonderful recovery). All I could do was to kneel and say a prayer for him.
Richmond Hospital Dublin. Image credit: William Murphy – Flickr
As I made my way out of hospital, the house surgeon [Sir Thomas Myles] stopped me, and to my great astonishment, handed me Eamon’s ammunition pouches containing nearly a hundred rounds of 303. I deposited this ‘gift’ in Church Street, and set out for the G.P.O via North King Street.”
Following his release from Frongoch in December 1916, McLoughlin became acting Chief of Staff of the Fianna while Eamon Martin was in the USA recovering from his wound. McLoughlin also held the post of Director of Training during the same period. Upon Eamon Martin’s return, Sean acted as his assistant at Fianna HQ until around 1919.
As McLoughlin attests to, Martin did make an almost complete recovery in the following years, albeit with a lifelong scar and deep wound, which never fully healed, in his back where the bullet exited. He would also suffer chronic back pain, particularly during cold winters.
Image showing the entry and exit points of Eamon Martin’s wound, from his official medical report submitted to the Military Pensions Board.
Credit: Irish Military Archives
Eamon Martin and Sean McLoughlin remained friends for many years afterwards with Martin visiting his former comrade in England on several occasion, until McLoughlin’s passing in 1960. Martin himself lived on and off in England over the years, and passed away in May 1971, at an impressive age of 79 years old.