Published in 18th–19th - Century History, Features, Irish Republican Brotherhood / Fenians, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2011), Volume 19

Joseph Gleeson, Sinn Féin and IRB, LiverpoolI was born in Liverpool of Irish parents. My father and my uncle were Fenians. My earliest remembrance is being brought as a small boy to a lecture by O’Donovan Rossa in the Picton Lecture Hall, alongside the Museum and Art Gallery in Liverpool. The lecture was the usual thing about vengeance on England and it made a deep impression on me. I was about 12 or 14 years of age at this time.

Captain E. Gerrard, British army officer, Beggars Bush barracksOne of my sentries in Beggars Bush barracks, about Tuesday evening, said to me, ‘I beg your pardon, sir, I have just shot two girls’. I said, ‘What on earth did you do that for?’ He said, ‘I thought they were rebels. I was told they were dressed in all classes of attire.’ At a range of about 200 yards I saw two girls—about 20 [years old]—lying dead.

Louise Gavan Duffy, Cumann na mBan, GPOI was brought into the Post Office and I saw Mr Pearse. He was as calm and courteous as ever. I now think it was very insolent of me because I said to him that I wanted to be in the field but that I felt the rebellion was a frightful mistake, that it could not succeed, and it was, therefore, wrong . . . I suppose what I meant was that I would not like to be sent with despatches or anything like that, because I felt that could not be justified. He asked me would I like to go to the kitchen.

Patrick Kelly, G Company, 1st BattalionI was in bed at 11.15am when L. McEvatt came into my room and kept pulling my big toe till I woke up . . . I dressed hurriedly while my father and mother got out my rifle and some sandwiches. I will always remember my father as I saw him that morning. He worked the bolt of the rifle, sighted it and fired imaginary shots. As he handed me the rifle he remarked, ‘If I was a few years younger I would go with you’. Mother and Father wished God’s blessing on me as I hurried away.

Joe Good, ‘Kimmage Garrison’I remember seeing Joe Plunkett with plans in his hand outside Liberty Hall. He was beautifully dressed, having high tan leather boots, spurs, pince-nez, and looked like any British brass-hat staff officer. The form of dress of the two men impressed me as representing two different ideas of freedom.


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