Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. It has renewed many people’s interest in the lives of Ireland’s rebels of the not-so-distant past.
Sean Brennan and Toírdhealach Ó Braoín have organised the Donnybrook Patriots Trail, a “Photo album and archive of faces and places of Donnybrook with direct or indirect connections towards the 1916 Rising, War of Independence and Civil War period.” The collection is available to view on the Friends of Donnybrook community page on Facebook.
Here is a sample of three of the houses covered in the Donnybrook Patriots Trail, 1 Brendan Road, 131 Morehampton Road and 40 Herbert Park..1 Brendan Road
Batt O’Connor (1870-1935) was a building contractor, originally from Kerry, who built many houses in and around Donnybrook, including all of the houses on Brendan Road. Batt (short for Bartholomew) escaped execution after the rising and became friends with Michael Collins in Frongoch prison in Wales. Together they re-organised the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), the secret organisation behind the 1916 Rising. O’Connor also built a house at 36 Ailesbury Road, Donnybrook. It was used for underground cabinet meetings and Cathal Brugha used it as the headquarters for the ministry of defence during the War of Independence (1919–1921). O’Connor was elected to the Dáil in 1924 and remained a TD until his death in 1935.
131 Morehampton Road, aka St. Enda’s
Liam Mellows (1892–1922), who gave his name to Mellows Barracks in Renmore, Galway, stormed the Four Courts with fellow republicans during the Easter Rising. Born in England and raised in Wexford, Mellows had been actively involved in gun running for the IRA and in opposing recruitment in Ireland by the British Army. He became a founding member of the Irish Volunteers. Mellows survived both the rising, despite being arrested, and the War of Independence (1919–1921), but was executed by the Irish Free State on 8th December 1922 during the civil war. During the war for independence, Mellows used 131 Morehampton Road as his headquarters for supplying arms to the insurgents.
40 Herbert Park
Michael O’Rahilly (1875–1916) served in the GPO during the early stages of the ill-fated rising of Easter Sunday 1916. Originally from Co. Kerry, and known as The O’Rahilly, he was a founding member of the Irish Volunteers. Although he opposed the timing of the rising, once it got underway he assisted in its efforts and died fighting on 29th April 1916, mortally wounded by machine gun fire while fighting on Moore Street. He was survived by his beloved wife and children. They had all lived at 40 Herbert Park Donnybrook since 1911.
By Keith Murphy