October Book Club

Rosemary O’Neill reviewed the book, “Orphan Train”, by Christina Baker Kline.  For November, our book is “Real Lace” by Stephen Birmingham.

Oct Book Club


Posted in Events | Comments Off on October Book Club

RISING — Thomas Ashe

Thomas Ashe was mentioned in an article a few weeks ago, which was about the battle at Ashborne.  After this battle, he was arrested and sent to prison.  Subsequently released, but quickly arrested again, Ashe went on a hunger strike, where he was force fed by his jailers, resulting in his death in prison in 1917.

While in prison in England, Ashe wrote ” Let me Carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord”, which follows:

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord
The hour of her trial draws near,
And the pangs and the pains of the sacrifice
May be borne by comrades dear.
But, Lord, take me from the offering throng,
There are many far less prepared,
Through anxious and all as they are to die
That Ireland may be spared.


Posted in Documentation, Irish Roots | Comments Off on RISING — Thomas Ashe

RISING – Countess Markievicz

Countess Constance Markievicz became actively involved in Ireland’s nationalist politics in 1908. She joined the Daughters of Ireland, a revolutionary women’s movement.  She came directly to her first meeting from a function at Dublin Castle, wearing a satin ball-gown and a diamond tiara. This caused many members to view her with hostility, different than the usual reaction to her being a countess.

Markievicz joined the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) in 1913, where during a work lock-out, she recruited kitchen volunteers and distributed food to those in need.  She also ran a soup kitchen to feed poor school children.  As she paid for the food herself, she took out many loans and sold all her jewelry.  Being an active member of the ICA, she designed the Citizen Army uniform and composed its anthem for the 1916 Rising.

She fought in St. Stephen’s Green, where one account claims that on Easter Monday, she shot and killed a member of the Dublin Metropolitan Police.  She supervised the barricades that were set on Easter Monday.

After the surrender, Markievicz was transported to Kilmainham Gaol. Out of 70 women prisoners, she was the only one put into solitary confinement.

Attributed to her was the following: “Dress suitably in short skirts and strong boots, leave your jewels in the bank and buy a revolver.”

Posted in Documentation, Irish Roots, Uncategorized | Comments Off on RISING – Countess Markievicz

RISING – Francis Sheehy-Skeffington

Francis Sheehy-Skeffington was a journalist, and pacifist from County Cavan.  He became a founding member of the Irish Socialist Party. With expectations of a defensive role in the Irish Citizen Army, he agreed to become Vice-Chairman, but resigned when it took on a military aspect.

He was a supporter of Home Rule, and initially supported the Irish Volunteers, but when they took on the militant role, he became critical of the organization.  In an interesting note, during the Rising, he advocated civil disobedience, while his wife Hanna supported the rebels by bringing food to the GPO and College of Surgeons.

Concerned with the collapse of law and order during the Rising, on Tuesday he tried to organize a citizen’s militia to prevent the looting and destruction to shops.  On his way home, he was arrested by British soldiers.  He admitted sympathy to the cause, but not to the Rising, and was held as an enemy sympathizer.

Later that evening, during a raiding party, he was held as hostage, with warnings he would be shot if the raiding party was attacked.  Two boys were stopped and advised they could be shot like dogs.  After an assault by one of the soldiers, the Captain Bowen-Colthurst shot the boys.  Francis screamed that the boys had been murdered, but was told by the Captain that he would be next.

The raiding party then destroyed with grenades the shop of loyalist Alderman James Kelly, mistaking him for Sinn Fein Alderman Tom Kelly, taking into custody two pro-British journalists.  The following morning, without trial, Bowen-Colthurst had the three men executed.  Through a report full of lies, he was allowed to keep his command, without even a reprimand.

Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington was not informed of her husband’s death, and when he did not return home, she and her sisters went around Dublin for several days looking for him.  The father of J.J. Coady went to claim his son’s body, and having seen Sheehy-Skeffington’s body, advised Hanna of her husband’s death.

Posted in Documentation, Irish Roots | Comments Off on RISING – Francis Sheehy-Skeffington