Meet the 1916 Kimmage Garrison Relatives
Images from event available here
Scottish folk singer Eddi Reader was a late addition to the schedule for this event. Eddi’s great uncle Seamus Reader was heavily involved with the Irish Volunteers and smuggled weapons to Ireland before the Rising. He was unable to get to Dublin for the Rising as he had been arrested in Glasgow while on a smuggling mission.
Amongst the relatives, you will meet at this event are Cáit Bean Mhic Ionnraic and Deirdre Nic Eanruig, daughter and grand-daughter of John “Blimey” O’Connor. John left his home in London as a tin-whistle playing 19 year old to join the Irish Volunteers Kimmage Garrison at Larkfield. A skilled electrician, he and 6 other volunteers braved heavy gunfire from snipers to cross Sackville (O’Connell) Street from the GPO to the Dublin Wireless School of Telegraphy. There, they managed to re-assemble the equipment that had been dismantled by the authorities and made the world’s first ever radio broadcast. The message sent out to the world in morse code read “Irish Republic declared in Dublin today. Irish troops have captured city and are in full possession. Enemy cannot move in city. The whole country rising.”
Also in attendance will be Patricia and Jo Kelly who will share the stories they heard from their father, Joe Kelly. He fought in the GPO, while uncle Thomas was badly injured in the Battle of Brunswick Street. Joe’s family lived in McGuinness Square just off Pearse Street (then Brunswick Street) in 1916.
Joe was only 16 when he learned of plans for the Rising from his brother Thomas, a member of Na Fianna, who was 8 years older. Joe made his way to O’Connell Street, and saw activity at the GPO including a man making a speech. Although he was not a volunteer, he offered to assist in the rebellion. He was given a rifle and sent to the offices of the Freeman’s Journal in Abbey Street. Joe returned to the GPO on Easter Tuesday, and remained there until it was evacuated on Friday night.
Patricia and Jo will outline Joe’s experiences in the aftermath of the Rising, and display his medals at the event. Joe came to live in Harold’s Cross soon after Larkfield Grove was built in the 1930s and made no 36 his home until his death in 1969. No 36 Larkfield Grove is still in the ownership of the Kelly family.
Also during the evening, Fergal O’Bracken will re-launch his book “Peadar Bracken: Irish Freedom Fighter, 1916-1921”. Peadar was from Tullamore, Co. Offaly, After an incident in Tullamore in March, 1916, which some consider to be when the first shots of the Rising were fired, he made his way to Dublin to join the Kimmage Garrison in Larkfield. His son Fergal’s book descibes the key role that Peader Bracken played in the Rising by securing Kelly’s shop as an outpost of the GPO command.
This will be first of a series of book launches to take place in McGowans over successive Wednesday evenings as set out below.