Executed Rising rebels honoured
Executed Rising rebels honoured


Commemoration events have been taking place to mark 100 years since the executions of the leaders of the Easter Rising. The state events took place in the Stonebreakers’ Yard in Kilmainham Gaol, on the spot where most of the men died.

Patrick Pearse, Tom Clarke and Thomas MacDonagh, were the first three leaders to be killed on May 3rd, 1916, culminating with the execution on May 12th, 1916 of Sean Mac Diarmada And James Connolly, who had to be shot in a chair due to his injuries.

Transcripts of the short courts martial were read out in the presence of mens’ family members. In the case of Tom Clarke, who offered no defence and made no statement, the proceedings took only a few minutes to recount.

The presence of Capuchin friars from Church Street lent a sense of continuity to proceedings. Their predecessors had been there for the men in their final hours and their testimony was read out by their contemporaries.

Capuchin friar Adrian Kearns recalled the testimony of Fr Columbus Murphy, who ministered to Padraig Pearse in his final hours. He did not “quail before the possibility of death... but faced his last moments with dignity and with grace”.

Other events took place across the country, including a special commemoration in the former Cork Military Detention Barracks where Thomas Kent was executed. “We are all terribly proud of what Uncle Tom and his brothers did - it was very sad for them - they made terrible sacrifices,” said Tomas Kent’s niece, Prudence Riordan

In County Leitrim, locals paid tribute at the family homestead of Sean Mac Diarmada in Kiltyclogher. A short parade organised by the 1916 Societies preceded a reneactment of the execution, with an actor playing Sean MacDiarmada there to deliver the same speeches given throughout Ireland before the Easter Rising.

In Belfast, Republican Socialists gathered at James Connolly’s former home (pictured) while a colour party stood in formation, before a member laid a laurel wreath adorned with red roses beneath the memorial plaque which sits above the door.

IRSP member Michael Kelly read from Connolly’s last statement to the Field General Court Martial, held at Dublin Castle, on May 9th, 1916, at which he declared:

“Believing that the British Government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, and never can have any right in Ireland, the presence, in any one generation of Irishmen, of even a respectable minority, ready to die to affirm that truth, makes that Government for ever a usurpation and a crime against human progress.

“I personally thank God that I have lived to see the day when thousands of Irish men and boys, and hundreds of Irish women and girls, were ready to affirm that truth, and to attest it with their lives if need be.”


The executions of the 1916 leaders took place as follows:

May 3rd 1916 (Kilmainham Gaol):

Padraic Pearse, Thomas Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh

May 4th 1916 (Kilmainham Gaol):

Joseph Plunkett, Edward Daly, Michael O’Hanrahan, Willie Pearse

May 5th 1916 (Kilmainham Gaol):

John MacBride

May 8th 1916 (Kilmainham Gaol):

Eamonn Ceannt, Michael Mallin, Sean Heuston, Con Colbert

May 9th 1916 (Cork Detention Barracks):

Thomas Kent

May 12th 1916 (Kilmainham Gaol):

Sean MacDiarmada James Connolly

August 3rd 1916 (Pentonville Prison, London):

Roger Casement

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© 2016 Irish Republican News