Tag Archives: Easter Rising

A Tribute to Madame Markievicz (4th February 1868 – 15th July 1927)


Constance Georgine Markievicz flanked by some of her Fianna boys


Towards the end of June 1927, Markievicz became seriously ill with appendicitis and, under advice from Dr. Kathleen Lynn, was admitted to Sir Patrick Dun’s hospital. She specifically requested a bed in the public ward. She was operated on almost immediately but complications arose and a second operation had to be performed on 8th July. Following this, she developed peritonitis and never recovered. She passed away on 15th July 1927. She was only 59 years of age.



Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital


The following is a tribute to Markievicz by founding member of Na Fianna Eireann and Chief of Staff Eamon Martin. It was written in 1966, during the 50th Anniversary of the Easter Rising:

“I had not met Madame until the founding of the Fianna. After that I was in constant association with her and came to know her very well. With her ingenuous nature, getting to know her came easy, and the wondering how and why she had come over to the Irish cause was no longer a puzzling question. That she was impetuous goes without saying, but not unwisely so; she did not make rash decisions, but, having made up her mind to a particular course she went ahead with no backward look. Whatever cause she embraced was wholehearted – no half measures and no compromise.

It was characteristic of her that when she turned her back on her own class and espoused the nationalist cause it was not to the parliamentarians she turned but dead straight into the separatist movement. And it was here that she displayed that impetuous trait to which I have referred. It was impatience that drove her to launch the Fianna. In starting the Fianna Madame was fortunate in having the benefit of Bulmer Hobson’s experience and counsel. Fortunate too in securing the adherence of two young men – Padraig O’Riain, with his organising ability, and Con Colbert, with his driving force. To these young men, afterwards joined by Liam Mellows, Garry Holohan and Sean Heuston, to name but a few, is due to the rapid success of the organisation. Madame was proud of them and made her gratitude manifest. She had a vision, dreaming of a young army on the march in the cause of Ireland, and here was her dream coming true.

What followed is now glorious history, which she helped to shape in large measure, and so long and wherever freedom is cherished shall the name and deeds of our beloved Madame be remembered. While this is my personal tribute, you can believe that it expresses the feelings of every member of the Fianna who had the privilege of knowing her.”

1421076_10152198495025739_1037586214_oA plaque that was erected at Sir Patrick Dun’s hospital in Dublin in memory of Countess Markievicz. Former Fianna comrade Eamon Martin donated this plaque in honour of his close friend on behalf of all Fianna veterans. It was unveiled in 1967. Courtesy of Eamon Murphy Fianna Archives.

*The above tribute by Eamon Martin appeared in the book “Constance Markievicz: The People’s Countess” by Joe McGowan.

Source for the image of Markievicz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmqU_e_XicA


Stonebreakers Yard, Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin.


The role of Na Fianna Eireann in the 1916 Easter Rising

Fianna Cert Eamon Martin from Mairin Burke - Copy

‘The role of Na Fianna Eireann in the 1916 Easter Rising’ by Commandant Eamon Martin.

“In the plan of campaign [for the Easter Rising] the Fianna officers were given certain assignments. The Magazine Fort, as it turned out, owing to the chaos arising out of MacNeill’s countermanding order for Sunday’s “manoeuvres” was not an all-Fianna job. We had to borrow men from the Volunteers but the larger percentage were Fiannaidhe and after the attack they all returned and took positions in the fighting areas.

This group, in Commandant Daly’s area, was in the line of defence along the Quays and in the Four Courts they participated in the attack on the Broadstone Station and Captain Garry Holohan’s part in the capture and burning of Linen Hall Barracks has already been recorded and is too well known for me to dwell upon here. His brother Paddy was by his side all during the week and his cousins Paddy and Hugh were with Tom Ashe at Ashbourne. Towards the end of the week Sean McLoughlin was given the command in the Post Office and led the retreat from that area after the burning of the buildings.

Commandant Seán Heuston’s defence of the Mendicity with both Volunteers and Fianna under his command and Commandant Con Colbert’s part in Watkins Brewery and afterwards at Marrowbone Lane Distillery have also been recorded elsewhere. Madame Markievicz, although fighting as an officer of the Citizen Army was still a member of the Fianna, and fought as second in command at the College of Surgeons. An order of the day signed by Commandant Connolly and dated 28th April states: “Captain Liam Mellows in Galway fresh from his escape is in the field with his men”. Captain Séamus Kavanagh, who had been second to my own command in An Cead Sluagh fought in the Stephen’s Green area. How many of the Fianna who were by this time in the Volunteers it would be impossible to name.

I could go on reciting name after name, it is sufficient, however, for me to say that there was not a single fighting post in the city or country, which had not its quota of the Fianna. Let me say in conclusion, partly paraphrasing Pearse’s statement of 1914, that no history of the resurgent movement, which preceded and culminated in the Rising and no history of the Rising itself can claim to be complete if it ignores or fails to adequately acknowledge the enormous contribution made by Fianna Éireann to the struggle for our country’s freedom.”


Garry Holohan and MacNeill’s countermanding order in 1916

003 - Copy

Gearoid Ua h-Uallachain (Garry Holohan), Na Fianna Eireann National Deputy Director of Equipment, and also O/C of No.5 Coy Dublin Brigade Fianna (Merchant’s Quay) in 1916.

When Eoin MacNeill discovered that a group within the Irish Volunteers organisation had secret plans to launch an armed rebellion against British Rule, and after receiving news of Roger Casement’s failed attempt to import arms from Germany, he tried to prevent the planned mobilization for Easter Sunday. He hand-wrote several copies of a countermanding order, on headed notepaper at his home – Woodbrook, in Rathfarnham, Co Dublin – and dispatched men to deliver copies to local commanders nationwide. The countermanding order also appeared in the Sunday Independent on April 23rd, the day of the planned Rising. The countermand was only partly successful and caused confusion, especially outside Dublin.


In the following account, Senior Fianna officer Garry Holohan recalls the confusion caused by Eoin MacNeill’s countermanding order:

 “The following morning, Easter Sunday [April 24th], I got up and went to nine o’clock Mass at Haddington Road and received Holy Communion. I then heard the news about MacNeill [and the countermanding order] and hurried back to Eamon to discuss the situation. He decided I should go at once to Hardwicke Street and find out how things stood. When I knocked at the door one of the Tobins opened it; he was in a state of hysteria and started to talk about all the trouble that had been brought on us. I asked him where were the leaders, and he told me they were at Liberty Hall.

 I rode down O’Connell Street and along Eden Quay where I met Nora and Ina Connolly. I asked them was everything over and they said the leaders were inside. I went up the main staircase in Liberty Hall, and as I reached the top of the stairs I saw Pádraig Pearse and Sean McDermott coming along the passage on my right-hand side from the large front room. I immediately asked Sean what was the position and he told me that everything was postponed for twenty-four hours and gave me a dispatch for the officer in charge of Father Mathew Park.

I was to come back and take a message to Wexford, but I told him I would have to go to Phoenix Park first to tell Molly Byrne to go home, as she was watching the Magazine Fort in order to obtain immediate information if there was any unusual activity or precautions being taken by the guard.

I went to Father Mathew Park, and on my way met a carpenter named Jim Hunter at the junction of Seville Place and Amiens Street. Jim worked with me on the Dublin Port and Docks Board and was an old I.R.B. man who left the time of the split. He had promised to take part in the attack on the Magazine Fort, so I told him everything was off for the present.

I then went back to Liberty Hall and on my way I met my aunt and uncle at O’Connell Bridge. When I got to Liberty Hail I found the leaders gone and the Citizen Army were just going out for a march round the city; that was about six o’clock. I met Eamon Martin and some of the men who were to take part in the Magazine Fort attack, and we decided to meet again at No. 8 Rutland Cottages at 8 p.m. to renew our arrangements. We held a meeting and it was decided to meet next morning at my house at 12 o’clock. Eamon Martin, my brother Pat and I slept at No. 8 Rutland Cottages, Lower Rutland Street.”


Photograph courtesy of Eamon Murphy and the Eamon Martin Collection.

Garry Holohan’s account from his Bureau of Military Witness Statement No. 328 http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/reels/bmh/BMH.WS0328.pdf#page=1

Easter Rising Commemoration, Arbour Hill, Dublin, April 24th 1959

Arbour Hill Eamon Martin 1959

Mr. Eamon Martin, former Chief of Staff Fianna Eireann, carrying the wreath at the annual Easter Rising commemoration at Arbour Hill in 1959. Also in the photograph are: Frank Robbins, Vincent Byrne, Nora Connolly-O’Brien, Seamus Brennan, Peter Nolan and Jimmy O’Connor.

Photo courtesy of Eamon Murphy and the Eamon Martin Collection.

Rare Fianna Eireann Wallet

Fianna Wallet Eamon Murphy

An extremely rare Fianna Eireann wallet from the Eamon Martin Collection. The detail on this is really beautiful. The reverse of the wallet features Patrick Pearse above a phoenix rising out of a depiction of the GPO in flames.

It is not known when this was made, whether it was made during the 1909-1923 period or if it was  a later commemorative piece. I would guess it was from later but can’t be sure. It was also suggested it might have been made by prisoners during the War of Independence. There were similar craft items made by prisoners at this time. It is also not known if this was a one off piece or if several of these were produced. It certainly looks unique. I would welcome comments and opinions on this one.

Image courtesy of Eamon Murphy.

Easter Rising 1916


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”.