On May 4th, 1916, the executions of the leaders of the Easter Rising continued. Joseph Mary Plunkett, William (Willie) Pearse, Edward (Ned) Daly, and Michael O’Hanrahan were shot in the yard at Kilmainham Gaol in the early hours of the morning.
It must be agonizing for a parent to outlive their child. It goes against the natural order of the universe and has to be absolutely devastating. For many, it usually involves anger and hopelessness. Margaret Pearse knew that suffering better than most, for she didn’t lose one son, but two—at once—both executed at the hands of the British for their roles in the Easter Rising of 1916. Despite this, she steadfastly refused to give in to despair and she spent the rest of her life fighting for the free Ireland that her sons had died for.
On this day in 1908, Padraig (Patrick) Pearse opened St. Enda’s (or Scoil Éanna) school for boys. Pearse was concerned with education in Ireland and felt that students were just “learning how to be British”, rather than being encouraged to study their own language and rich history. He felt that was unacceptable and decided that his school would be different. Pearse was a poet and a dreamer, a devoted headmaster and an Irish language enthusiast who infected his students with the same passions. Continue reading