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1916 and Family History March 30, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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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!

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1. EWI - March 30, 2016

7 years’ medal. It then goes up to twelve and finally 21 years (adding bars). Other than that, what was the nature of the pension dispute?

The wealth of material available from the 1934 pensions and the BMH (hopefully the 1916 medals as well) is a real treasure trove for descendents and historians. The 1924 (Treatyite) pensions were a cakewalk to get by comparison (once you established National Army service), so there’s unfortunately relatively little information in them.

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2. Joe - March 31, 2016

Just back from a meeting about our commemoration night in the GAA club. Two members discovering that their grandads were buddies in one of the Dublin battalions. Stories and stories of relatives’ involvement and all the twists and turns. It’s great stuff.

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irishelectionliterature - March 31, 2016

It is isn’t it. My own club has a wholes series of things lines up for the year, particularly looking forward to a walk from the club to St Endas with the stories and local 1916 History being told on the journey.

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3. rockroots - March 31, 2016

Recently discovered my dad’s uncle enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles in Longford at the end of 1915, was in Dublin at Easter 1916, and was discharged that July. Very curious as none of the living family had ever heard anything about it, and very open to wild conjecture about what happened to him during that time.

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EWI - March 31, 2016

At least four Irish-born soldiers in the British Army went over to the rebels that I’ve heard of. The Dublin Fusiliers were very quickly pulled back from contact with the South Dublin Union garrison, which is suggestive of how much the British trusted them.

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4. roddy - March 31, 2016

People tend to exaggerate family connections and their actions when the fog of battle has dissipated and the sound of gunfire is several decades past.Recently up here many people claim to have assisted in daring deeds going back to the 70’s.I was discussing this with a man recently who was in many’s a tight scrape including a spectacular and successful jailbreak.I said “X” is claiming that he was always there when “the boys” needed him and he replied “well I certainly never came across him”!

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CMK - March 31, 2016

Surely, with the cell structure it is not possible that all active members of the IRA knew all other active members? I thought the whole point of the cell structure was to reduce the number of ‘active’ people any particular volunteer knew, lest they were turned over by the authorities and informed? Things were more open in the 1916-23 period.

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irishelectionliterature - March 31, 2016

and we also now have the various Witness Statements etc to base stuff on.

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EWI - March 31, 2016

There wasn’t any cell structure (apart from maybe special cases like the the Squad, the ASUs and the Labour Board). The I.R.A. continued with the old military structure of the Irish Volunteers – the Company was the building-block.

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EWI - March 31, 2016

(Sorry – I misread which ‘IRA’ was being referred to here)

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CMK - March 31, 2016

Should have made that clearer: I was referring to the post 1970 IRA there.

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5. roddy - March 31, 2016

I used to converse with an elderly neighbour who had been OC locally in the 1940’s.I said to him one time “they say John X was a good rebel”,to which he replied -“aye he would have sung about it anyway”!

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