1916 and Family History March 30, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
Wbs covered a bit regarding the 1916 relatives here….. On a tangent from that….
I found myself in the pub last Saturday night with three friends. Naturally 1916 was a topic of conversation. Soon two of the lads had phones out comparing the medals that were in their family. One had pictures of his great grandfathers 1916 medal and his grandfathers War of Independence one. The other a War of Independence and another medal which I can’t recall. The gas thing is that I’ve known these two gents thirty plus years and never knew of their families involvement.
Over the evening I heard the family tales of the Rising, a spell in Frongoch, of being interned in Gormanstown during the Civil War. Indeed one of the lads Grandfathers was arrested by a neighbour as he made his way to the Four Courts and by doing so probably saved his life. I’m told there’s a diary/autograph book from Gormanstown in his family which I’m hoping to see in the future and will take a few pics when I do. The same lad is related to Kevin Barry on his mothers side and his parents were at the ceremonies when he and 9 others were reinterred to Glasnevin. It’s funny the legacy some of us are born with. Yet it was really only something he became aware of in recent years. I suppose like the 1916 veteran I knew growing up (It was another friends Grandad and we wondered at the funeral why it was so formal with the tricolour on the coffin etc), it was something generally not talked about. That is what is great about the witness statements and other records available to the public now.
My friend read his relatives Witness statement and said they sounded terribly bitter. Turns out that there was some dispute over the IRA pension he had received.
Regarding 1916 relatives and the current celebrations , my friends uncle was due to arrange tickets for the family for the various events, however despite being relatives they were too late with their applications as all the tickets to the various events had already gone. So they missed out which was an awful pity.
What the centenary has done is got people talking about the Rising and I’m sure my own children aren’t alone in asking if there were any relatives involved in The Rising. It has also led to an interest in the history of the family on both my own and my wifes side. There were Kinsella’s involved in the Rising and some came from where I know relatives were, but with my fathers generation all passed on it would take some study and a decent family tree to find out more. For the moment the only facts we have is Michael Collins being a regular at the Sunday Night card school in my Grandparents house and a Priest relative being wounded in Ferns during the War of Independence.
On a side note , on the day the school had the National Flag was raised and the Proclamation read the daughter of one of my friends bought the 1916 medal to school. It was treated with reverence and brought around and shown in every classroom in the school…. when she arrived home my friend realised that his daughter had taken his medal to celebrate 10 years service in the FCA rather than the 1916 one to school!