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POSTCARDS: EASTER 1916 SET 6

Sean Connolly
(Irish Republican Army), Killed in Action at City Hall, Dublin, Easter Monday, 1916.

Only a week before the rising, Sean Connolly of the Abbey Theatre was playing the lead role in James Connolly's new play 'Under Which Flag' in its first performance at Liberty Hall. The play was about an Irishman torn between serving in the Irish or the British army, and ended with Connolly raising a green flag and uttering the words 'Under this flag only will I serve. Under this flag, if need be, will I die.' During the rising, it was Connolly who lead the group that entered Dublin Castle, firing the first shot that killed a British soldier, Castle guard James O'Brien. Connolly's men moved from there to take up a position at City Hall, where Connolly himself was shot while attempting to hoist to the top of the City Hall dome the very same green flag that he had used in the play. The first to kill, he became the first of the Rebels to be killed in the Easter Uprising.


Thomas Ashe
(Leader of the North County Dublin Volunteers in the Rising), Sentenced to Death; Sentence commuted to Penal servitude for life.

Born in Kerry, Ashe was an active member of both the Irish Volunteers and the Gaelic League. During the rising, he led his command in an engagement with the RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) at Ashbourne in County Dublin, capturing four barracks and large quantities of arms and ammunition. After the surrender he was sentenced to death, but this was commuted and he was released from jail in 1917. Later that same year he was arrested again, this time for making 'speeches calculated to cause disaffection' and was sentenced to one year hard labour at Mountjoy Prison. He demanded, along with other Republicans in the jail, to be treated as a prisoner of war. When these demands were refused, the prisoners went on hunger strike. Thomas Ashe died 25 September, 1917, as a result of incorrectly administered forcible feeding. 30,000 people marched in his funeral procession, led by Irish Volunteers in uniform.


Michael O' Hanrahan
(Author of "The Swordsman of the Brigade," etc.), Executed in Kilmainham Prison, May 4th, 1916.

Michael O'Hanrahan was born in New Ross, County Wexford. A member of the Gaelic League and Quartermaster of the Irish Volunteers, during the rising he served as Thomas MacDonagh's second in command at Jacob's factory. After the surrender he was taken to Kilmainham and executed along with Joseph Plunkett, Edward Daly and Willie Pearse. In his final hours he asked to make a will in which he bequeathed the copyright to his novel 'A Swordsman of the Brigade'. The book was published posthumously.


Thomas J. Clarke

At the request of the other leaders and as a sign of their respect, Tom Clarke was the first to sign the Easter Proclamation. He was the 'elder statesman' of the Republican movement, having served 15 hard years in an English jail for republican activities as a young man. His tobacco shop at 75A Great Britain Street in Dublin became the hotbed of revolutionary activity as he masterminded the reorganisation of the old disbanded IRB, or Irish Republican Brotherhood. He served in the GPO during Easter week, and was executed along with Patrick Pearse and Thomas MacDonagh on 3 May, 1916.


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