Monday, 13 January 2014



Martin Corey Interned without Trial in British Occupied Ireland

This is sung here by Ron Kavana. Down by the Glenside (The Bold Fenian Men) an Irish rebel song written by Peadar Kearney, an Irish Republican and composer of numerous rebel songs, including The Soldier's Song (Amhrán na bhFiann), now the Irish National Anthem.

Kearney was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, popularly known as the Fenians. He wrote the song about the time of the 1916 Rising. It evokes the memory of the freedom-fighters of the previous generation as recalled by Ireland personified as an old woman down by the glenside. 


Tom Clarke (Irish republican)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thomas James Clarke
Tomás Séamus Ó Cléirigh
Thomas Clarke the brave.jpg
Born11 March 1857
Isle of Wight, England
Died3 May 1916 (aged 59)
Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin, Ireland
Other namesHenry Wilson
OrganizationIrish Republican Brotherhood
Political movementIrish republicanism
Spouse(s)Kathleen Clarke
Thomas James "Tom" Clarke (IrishTomás Séamus Ó Cléirigh; 11 March 1857 – 3 May 1916)[1] was an Irish revolutionary leader and arguably the person most responsible for the 1916 Easter Rising. A proponent of armed revolution for most of his life, he spent 15 years in prison prior to his role in the Easter Rising, and was executed after it was quashed.

Early life[edit]

Clarke was born on the Isle of Wight to Irish parents.[2] His father, James Clarke, was a sergeant in the British Army. The family soon moved to DungannonCounty Tyrone, Ireland.

Irish Republican Brotherhood[edit]

Wicklow granite memorial dedicated in 1987 in Manorville, New York at the site of his 60-acre farm.
At the age of 18 he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood(IRB) and in 1883 he was sent to London to blow up London Bridge as part of the Fenian dynamite campaign advocated byJeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, one of the IRB leaders exiled in the United States.
Clarke was soon arrested, under the alias of "Henry Wilson". Along with three others, he was tried and sentenced to penal servitude for life on 28 May 1883 at London's Old Bailey.[3]
He subsequently served 15 years in Pentonville and other British prisons. In 1896, he was one of five remaining Fenian prisoners in British jails and a series of public meetings in Ireland called for their release. At one meeting, John RedmondMP, leader of the Parnellite Irish National League, said of him: "Wilson is a man of whom no words of praise could be too high. I have learned in my many visits to Portland for five years to love, honour and respect Henry Wilson. I have seen day after day how his brave spirit was keeping him alive ... I have seen year after year the fading away of his physical strength". Henry Wilson was, as historian Dermot Meleady points out, the alias of Tom Clarke.[4]
Following his release in 1898 he moved to Brooklyn in the United States where he married Kathleen Daly, 21 years his junior, whose uncle, John Daly, he had met in prison. Clarke worked for the Clan na Gaelunder John Devoy. In 1906 the couple moved to a 30-acre (120,000 m2) farm in Manorville, New York and bought another 30 acres (120,000 m2) in 1907 shortly before returning to Ireland the same year.[5]
In Ireland he opened a tobacconist shop in Dublin and immersed himself in the IRB which was undergoing a substantial rejuvenation under the guidance of younger men such as Bulmer Hobson and Denis McCullough. Clarke had a very close kinship with Hobson, who along with Sean MacDermott, became his protegé.

The Irish Volunteers[edit]

When the Irish Volunteers were formed in 1913, Clarke took a keen interest, but took no part in the organisation, knowing that as a felon and well-known Irish nationalist he would lend discredit to the Volunteers. Nevertheless, with MacDermott, Hobson, and other IRB members such as Eamonn Ceannttaking important roles in the Volunteers, it was clear that the IRB would have substantial, if not total, control, (particularly after the co-option of Patrick Pearse, already a leading member of the Volunteers, into the IRB at the end of 1913). This proved largely to be the case until leader of the Irish Parliamentary PartyJohn Redmond, demanded the Provisional Committee accept 25 additional members of the Party's choosing, giving IPP loyalists a majority stake. Though most of the hard-liners stood against this, Redmond's decree was accepted, partially due to the support given by Hobson. Clarke never forgave him for what he considered a treasonous act.

Planning the uprising[edit]

Following Clarke's falling out with Hobson, MacDermott and Clarke became almost inseparable. The two of them, as secretary and treasurer, respectively, de facto ran the IRB, although it was still under the nominal head of other men, James Deakin, and later McCullough. In 1915 Clarke and MacDermott established the Military Committee of the IRB to plan what later became the Easter Rising. The members were Pearse, Ceannt, and Joseph Plunkett, with Clarke and MacDermott adding themselves shortly thereafter. When the old Fenian Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, died in 1915, Clarke used his funeral (andPearse's graveside oration) to mobilise the Volunteers and heighten expectation of imminent action. When an agreement was reached with James Connolly and the Irish Citizen Army in January 1916, Connolly was also included on the committee, with Thomas MacDonagh added at the last minute in April. These seven men were the signatories of the Proclamation of the Republic, with Clarke as the first signatory. It has been said that Clarke indeed would have been the declared President and Commander-in-chief, but he refused any military rank and such honours; these were given to Pearse, who was more well-known and respected on a national level.

The Easter Rising[edit]

Clarke was stationed in the headquarters at the General Post Office during the events of Easter Week, where rebel forces were largely composed of Irish Citizen Army members under the command of Connolly. Though he held no formal military rank, Clarke was recognised by the garrison as one of the commanders, and was active throughout the week in the direction of the fight, and shared the fortunes of his comrades.[6] Following the surrender on 29 April, Clarke was held in Kilmainham Jail until hisexecution by firing squad on 3 May at the age of 59. He was the second person to be executed, following Patrick Pearse.
Before execution, he asked his wife Kathleen to give this message. Message to the Irish People, 3 May 1916.
'I and my fellow signatories believe we have struck the first successful blow for Irish freedom. The next blow, which we have no doubt Ireland will strike, will win through. In this belief, we die happy. '

Tom Clarke 1916 commemorative plague at the junction of Parnell Street and O'Connell Street, Dublin
His widow Kathleen was elected a TD in the First and Second Dála, notably speaking against the Anglo-Irish Treaty.


  • Thomas Clarke Tower in Ballymun was named after him. The top floor was used as a short stay hotel before its demolition in April 2008.
  • Dundalk railway station was given the name Clarke on 10 April 1966 in commemoration of Clarke's role in the 1916 Rising.
  • He also featured on postage stamps in 1966.
  • Dungannon Thomas Clarkes, a successful Gaelic Football team from East Tyrone in Northern Ireland are also named after him.
  • Dungannon has a 1916 Society named in his honour, Cumann Thomáis ui Chlé


  • Caulfield, Max (1965). The Easter Rebellion. London: New English Library. pp. 380p.
  • Clarke, Kathleen (1991). Helen Litton (ed.), ed. Revolutionary woman: Kathleen Clarke 1878–1972, an autobiography [My fight for Ireland's freedom]. Dublin: O'Brien Press. pp. 240p. ISBN 0-86278-245-7.
  • Kee, Robert (2000). The Green Flag: a History of Irish Nationalism. London: Penguin. pp. 877p.ISBN 0-14-029165-2.
  • Lyons, F.S.L. (1973). Ireland since the famine (2nd rev. ed. ed.). London: Fontana. pp. 880p. ISBN 0-00-633200-5.
  • F.X. Martin (ed.), ed. (1967). Leaders and men of the Easter Rising: Dublin, 1916. London:Methuen. xii, 276p.
  • Townshend, Charles (2005). Easter 1916: the Irish rebellion. London: Allen Lane. xxi, 442p. ISBN 0-7139-9690-0.

Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa
Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa.jpg
BornSeptember 1831
RosscarberyCounty Cork
Died29 June 1915 (aged 83)
Staten Island, New York, United States
Years of service1858–1915
Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa (September 1831[1] – 29 June 1915), was an Irish Fenian leader and prominent member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. His life as an Irish Fenian is well documented but he is perhaps known best in death for the graveside oration given at his funeral by Pádraig Pearse.

Life in Ireland[edit]

He was born at RosscarberyCounty Cork, to Denis O'Donovan and Nellie O'Driscoll,[2] a family of tenant farmers, but in correspondence with the eminent scholarJohn O'Donovan the two arrived at the conclusion that Rossa's ancestors belonged to the admittedly long obscure but ancient sliocht of the MacEnesles or Clan Aneslis O'Donovans.[3] His ancestors had heldletters patent in Kilmeen parish in the 17th century before the confiscations, with his agnomen "Rossa" coming from the townland of Rossmore in Kilmeen.[4] He became a shopkeeper in Skibbereen, where, in 1856, he established the Phoenix National and Literary Society, the aim of which was "the liberation of Ireland by force of arms",[5] This organisation would later merge with the Irish Republican Brotherhood(IRB), founded two years later in Dublin.
In December 1858, he was arrested and jailed without trial until July 1859. In 1865, he was charged with plotting a Fenian rising in 1865, put on trial for high treason and sentenced to penal servitude for life due to his previous convictions. He served his time in PentonvillePortland and Chatham prisons in England.[5]
In an 1869 by-election, he was returned to the British House of Commons for the Tipperary constituency, in which he defeated the Liberal Catholic Denis Caulfield Heron by 1054 to 898 votes.[6] The election was declared invalid because he was an imprisoned felon.

Life in the United States[edit]

After giving an understanding that he would not return to Ireland, in effect his exile, O'Donovan Rossa was released as part of the Fenian Amnesty of 1870. Boarding the S.S. Cuba, he left for the United States with his friend John Devoy and three other exiles. Together they were dubbed "The Cuba Five".
O'Donovan Rossa took up residence in New York City, where he joined Clan na Gael and the Fenian Brotherhood.
Rossa organised the first ever bombings by Irish republicans of English cities in what was called the "dynamite campaign". The campaign lasted through the 1880s and made him infamous in Britain. TheBritish government demanded his extradition, but without success. As many disavowed his tactics, this slowed the Irish independence movement.
In 1885, Rossa was shot outside his office near Broadway by an Englishwoman, Yseult Dudley, but his wounds were not life-threatening. The British government claimed she was mentally unstable, and not acting on its behalf, although Rossa's supporters and even many of his detractors found this hard to believe. More likely, she was incensed at the fund he organised (the so-called "Skirmishing Fund") which was intended to support the arming of those who would fight the British.[5]

"The Cuba Five"
From left to right: John Devoy, Charles Underwood O'Connell, Henry (Harry) Mulleda, Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, and John McClure.
Rossa was allowed to visit Ireland in 1894, and again in 1904. On the latter visit, he was made a "Freeman of the City of Cork".

Death and funeral[edit]

Rossa was seriously ill in his later years, and was finally confined to a hospital bed in St. Vincent's Hospital, Staten Island, where he died at the age of 83.
The new republican movement in Ireland was quick to realise the propaganda value of the old Fenian's death, and Tom Clarke cabled to John Devoy the message: "Send his body home at once".
His body was returned to Ireland for burial and a hero's welcome.
The funeral at Glasnevin Cemetery on 1 August 1915 was a huge affair, garnering substantial publicity for the Irish Volunteers and the IRB at the time when a rebellion (later to emerge as the Easter Rising) was being planned. The graveside oration, given by Pádraig Pearse, remains one of the most famous speeches of the Irish independence movement. It ended with the lines: "They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but, the fools, the fools, the fools! — They have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace." His grave was renovated in 1990 by the National Graves Association.

Monument to Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, in Dublin's St Stephen's Green


A memorial to O'Donovan Rossa stands in St. Stephen's Green, and a bridge over the River Liffey was renamed in his honour. A street in Cork City bears his name, as does a street in Thurles, Co. Tipperary – the constituency where he was elected. A park in Skibbereen is also named after him as is the local gaelic football team.
A memorial to O'Donovan Rossa stands in the village of Re-enascreena, Rosscarbery Co Cork where his descendants run the local village pub.
Other GAA teams throughout Ireland have also been named after him including Ard Bó Uí Dhonnabhain Rossa in the Tyrone GAA, O'Donovan Rossa GAC in Belfast, Ó Donnabháin Rosa Machaire Fíolta in the Derry GAA and Uí Donnabháin Rosa Mullach Breac inArmagh GAA


O'Donovan Rossa was married three times and had eighteen children. On 6 June 1853, he married Nora (Nanno) Eager of Skibbereen, who bore him four sons.[1] She died in 1860. In 1861 he married Ellen Buckley of Castlehaven. They had one son (Timothy Francis). She died in July 1863. In November 1864 he married, for the third time, to Mary Jane (Molly) Irwin of Clonakilty. They had thirteen children.[2]
His descendants still live in Staten Island, including a local politician named Jerome X. O'Donovan, who served on the New York City Council.

See also[edit]

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