Bridget “Brede” Connolly was one of the many women who took part in Ireland’s Easter Rising of 1916. She navigated through the streets of Dublin ferrying communications between James Connolly in the General Post Office and Ned Daly, in Church Street. Brede didn’t have that far to go as the crow flies but she had to make it through some of the fiercest fighting of the insurrection to deliver these messages and she did it time and time again.
“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” – Patrick Pearse
This passionate call to arms and declaration of war was delivered by Patrick Pearse at the graveside of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa. It is one of the most famous speeches in Irish history and O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral was a show of military might, a genius stroke of propaganda created by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and one of the catalysts that led to the Easter Rising in 1916. It took place on this day in 102 years ago.
After the Easter Rising of 1916, Dublin was a shell of a city. The force used by the English to put down the uprising had reduced a large portion of the city to rubble and ash, and the citizens were starting to show their anger. During the actual battle, many were frustrated with the fighters on both sides who were keeping them from their jobs, their paychecks, and their daily lives, but when their very livelihood and their homes were threatened by the indiscriminate shelling, even those who were not political, raised their voices against the onslaught.
Roderick James Connolly took following in his father’s footsteps quite literally. He was born on this day in 1901 and was the only son of Lillie and James Connolly. James was a devout socialist, a revolutionary leader, and one of the men executed for leading Ireland’s Easter Rising in 1916. “Roddy” as he was known, was only fifteen when his father was killed which affected him for the rest of his life. Roderick was driven by the same devotion to socialism that his father had believed in and later in life he went into journalism and politics, just like his dad had before him.
Today in honor of Ms. Helena Molony’s birthday, I give you the bit I wrote about her in my new book; Petticoats, Patriots, and Partition. She was a pretty awesome lady, and one of many that I celebrate in the first section of the book. I hope it tempts your curiosity about the rest of them too. If it does, the book is available worldwide through Amazon and nationally through Barnes and Noble, other bookstores, Amazon, and Blurb. Enjoy!!
On June 5th, 147 years ago, James Connolly was born. Although he later became an Irish symbol of Republicanism, he was not born in Ireland – and in many ways, he did not fit in the Republican movement. He was born in Scotland and was a devout socialist who was profoundly engaged in the causes of Labor and Equality first and foremost. He was certainly an enemy of the state and an energetic agitator, but many of the tenets he adhered to and espoused, were not quite in line with his partners in the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
Since today is his birthday, here are some little things that you may or may not know about Mr. James Connolly.
On this day, 99 years ago, James Connolly was executed by the English for his role in the Easter Rising of 1916 and his death caused anger to explode all over Ireland. This is not to say that the death of Sean MacDiarmada who was executed on this day as well for the same reasons, was any lesser of a sore point to be mad or upset about, or that any executions before them were either. In fact, the decision to kill the leaders after secret trials still haunts the British to this day. It is only the fact that James Connolly was driven to his death in Kalmainham Gaol by ambulance and shot after being tied to a chair that makes his execution any different from the other leaders.
Today marks the end of the anniversaries of the 1916 Executions. James Connelly was shot May 12th, 1916. He was carried into the prison yard and tied to a chair, due to injuries that would have killed him in a day or 2 anyway. Instead of letting nature take its course, they tied him to a chair and the firing squad shot him.
Last winter, a Sinn Fein guide mentioned rumors that he was already dead when they brought him into the yard, which was the first I had heard of the possibility. It wouldn’t surprise me – after all, they were only posturing and proving a point by executing him, despite his feebleness and injuries. Either way, the 12th marks the anniversary of his death – and this photo was taken in December at the mass grave site in Arbour Hill. I quite like the leaves in the cracks – and while I sat at the grave, a feral tabby cat jumped right into my lap and started purring like mad, at just the perfect time.
It was a great way to spend the afternoon.
Rest in Peace Mr. Connolly and all of your cohorts too.