We are hoping that this book provides a starting point for uncovering more information which has been suppressed for so long.
Already the following points have come to light since publication:
• Nancy Cullen of Cook Street, whose childhood memories are quoted on page 5 in Chapter 1, was a very good friend of the O’Hanlon family.
• On Easter Saturday 1916, Con Colbert was in the O’Hanlon’s house in Camac Place and he asked Mrs O’Hanlon if she would name her baby after him when it was born. She promised to do so boy or girl, and Sheila’s youngest sister was christened Con in July 1916, in memory of him. Con was known as Connie, and most people incorrectly assumed that she was named after Constance Markievicz.
• Margaret Kennedy, known as Louis, was a great friend to the O’Hanlons. She was godmother to Sheila’s son and gave her rosary beads to Sheila’s niece in 1952. She had a ‘price on her head’ for years.
• Sheila and Mollie O’Hanlon had a brother called Luke who was in the Fianna.
Thanks to information sent from the ‘77 Women Commemoration Quilt’ project, we have discovered that Sheila O’Hanlon is in the fourth seated row, third from the left in the above picture. Picture 7 in the book is that of Maria Quigley.
Rose McNamara, seated on the left in the second row on the picture, was Sheila O’Hanlon’s commanding officer in Marrowbone Lane.
Other women on this picture who appear in the book are: Elizabeth O’Farrell,(standing 4th from right), Josie O’Keefe (seated on right of 4th row), and Julia Grennan (seated 3rd from right on the third row).
Late in 2015, a wonderfully researched book was published which gave a biography of all of those who served in the GPO during Easter week. This is “The GPO Garrison-Easter Week 1916, a biographical dictionary” by Jimmy Wren. It includes an entry on Liam Parr and Larry Ryan and a mountain of valuable information on all the others. Among the entries it suggested that James (Seamus) Donegan and Garrett McAuliffe may also have come from Manchester. I hope we do discover more Manchester Volunteers, but the only evidence I have discovered so far linking these two to Manchester is their appearance in a list in Seamus Robinson’s witness statement (WS156). Robinson wrote the names of all the men in Kimmage with a letter M , G, L or Lon to tell whether they came from Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool or London. He wrote the list thirty years after the Rising and his memory of where in England and Scotland the volunteers came from doesn’t seem to be totally accurate. He listed more than a dozen as coming from Manchester but I have found no other evidence to link most of these with the city. If anyone can find any evidence to increase the number of Manchester Volunteers then I’d love to hear from them. If you get a chance to see Jimmy Wren’s book I cannot recommend it enough; it is a fantastic resource.
We have just discovered that a branch of Cumann na mBan, the women’s organisation was formed in Manchester in February 1916. The February 26th 1916 said they had between 30 and 40 members “with all their energy to support the Volunteer cause.” The article listed their initial role as fundraising but , so far, that is all we know. This is fascinating new part of the story that we’d really really like to find more out about. We know that women from Manchester were to play an important part in smuggling weapons to Ireland during the time of the Tan War but hadn’t known about the Cumann na mBan branch. The role of women in the Rising has tended to be forgotten so it is good to discover another piece of information to to add to the picture.,
We hope that publishing the book will encourage others to come forward with memories, photos or information about these brave men and women. Please contact us if you have anything to add to this ongoing project. I will continue to incorporate new information on the website.
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Search Keywords. Easter Rising, Dublin, 1916, Sheila O’Hanlon, Elizabeth O’Farrell, Julia Grennan, Josie O’Keefe, Margaret Kennedy, Rose Mc Namara, Nancy Cullen, Con Colbert