Recollections of the first Fianna Eireann Meeting by Eamon Martin

No. 34 Lower Camden Street, Dublin

“I had left school for about two years, in 1909, but I had continued to pay a weekly visit to the home of my former schoolmaster. It was he, Mr. William O’Neill of St. Andrew’s National School, Brunswick Street (now Pearse Street) who informed me of a new organisation which was about to be launched. He told me he had been approached by a Countess Markievicz, who had asked him to recommend the organisation to his pupils and explaining that it was to be national in outlook and purpose. He told me that he had been very much impressed by the Countess, who was an Irish lady, and he thought I should go along and find out more about the organisation for myself.

Accordingly, I went to the meeting which was held in what I learned later was a small Theatrical Hall at No. 34 Lower Camden Street. I was accompanied by a comrade, Paddy Ward, who later became Treasurer of the organisation. At the time we were attending the Gaelic League together and were also members of the same Hurling Club.

As the meeting had been advertised in the columns of “An Claidheamh Soluis” there was a fairly large attendance, I would say about one hundred boys. I met there, whom I knew already, the Fitzgerald boys from Brunswick Street and the nephew of my schoolmaster, a lad named Paddy Walsh.

Of those present at the meeting, whom I met for the first time, I remember most distinctly, besides the Countess, Bulmer Hobson and Pádraic Ó Riain.

The Chair was taken by Bulmer Hobson who opened the meeting and explained the purpose of the organisation. It was to be national in character and having for its ultimate object the complete independence of Ireland. It would be organised on a semi-military basis, following the pattern of the Baden-Powell Scouts which had been founded the year before, and one of the immediate aims would be to counteract the influence of this pro-British body.

Madame Markievicz also spoke in a patriotic strain and she laid particular stress on the point that the organisation would be governed by the boys themselves who would elect the

Executive Council at a general meeting.

The first group, called An Cead Sluagh, was formed from this gathering and met at the Camden Street Hall.”

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