Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys,

Home      Blog      Surnames      Ancestors      Contact

€1,000 competition      Things to do



My ancestors - Humphrys - Contents

Dick Humphreys - RTE interview in 1966

My grandfather Dick Humphreys was interviewed on RTE TV in 1966 for the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.
This was shortly before he died in 1968.

Clip 1

30 second clip of interview of my grandfather Dick Humphreys.
RTE TV, 14 Apr 1966.

Clip 2

2 minute clip of interview of my grandfather Dick Humphreys.
RTE TV, 1966.
There are two pauses in it. Please be patient.


None of the following transcript matches clip 1.

The parts in yellow match clip 2.



It must have been about 1909, I came up to Dublin from Limerick in that year and I was delighted to hear I was being sent to an Irish school. It turned out to be the first school in Oakley road . . .


Then I moved to the boarding school in Rathfarnham. That was a different sensation to anything I had ever experienced at school before, because we were left to ourselves, our honour. We were told it was up to us to be honest and straight – ideal qualities generally.


Next morning I was told to go in and see Pearse. Pearse talked to me like a father as he always did. That was the astounding quality he possessed. He looked upon us as his children. He always did. He didn’t see us just as pupils paid by our father and mother to go there. He really helped us everyway that someone could have helped a boy.

He spoke to me as a father and said I’ll leave it to you now. You know you did wrong – now find your own punishment.

That shows the mentality he had when he actually dealt with a boy. He put it up to the boy himself to realise where he was at fault.


He also of course instructed us in shooting, BSA .22 rifles. I remember out in the back garden firing at target. Conn Colbert of course was the man who really got us into that. He was the drill sergeant there. He was a man we all admired. A great athlete, sturdy – who gave his life for the very cause that he always spoke to us about. We never visualised that happening in the end, but he always did speak as if there was going to be sometime in Ireland a fight for our freedom.


That’s a thing that I don’t think was ever taken into account by people. You fell for his words. He had a magnetic quality. And he had a lovely voice. And he had of course absolute logic. If you listened to him you couldn’t deny everything he said was what you should do and what your aim in life should be.

Of course we none of us realised that he was himself going to die on the very type of build up and mind and training that he was trying to install in us.

Question 01.50.17

Well was it apparent that he was building you up for something?

‘Oh definitely. It was afterwards we realised. At least I did afterwards. everyone who was at St Endas. And indeed he brought St Enda’s boys down into the Post Office with himself. I wasn’t with them as unfortunately my parents [?] as the years went on decided that it wasn’t worldly enough, that Pearse was too idealistic.

That actually he was putting the wrong things first from the point of view of the world. Like his poem, "The Fool".

But in any case I was taken away from school and an effort made to send me to another school from which I ran away and spent 3 days up in the Wicklow hills and certainly that was an experience, as I had only a very light water-proof, no blanket or anything else of course and it was September. Of course it shouldn’t have been cold, but up in the mountains at night I never slept a wink . . . (Dick walked to St.Enda’s and asked could he go to school, but they said not if his parents [guardians] didn’t allow it)


No, I didn’t meet him until the famous Monday, Easter Monday. The O’Rahilly had sent me up to one of the upstairs rooms in the Post Office and later on Pearse came round as he was examining the various outposts and he saw me and he was delighted. His eyes lit up and he said, “I’m glad to see another St Enda’s boy back again with us.’ And he alluded to the Proclamation - had I seen it - and I said ‘Yes’ ‘cause I had come up through the streets and I had seen the people gathering around looking at it and excited talk going on.


I think he was more propagandist. He came around twice to us giving us pep talks. One of them .. really raised our hearts. We heard that there were 3 different bands of Volunteers marching on Dublin and that there'd been a big battle out at Ashbourne and there was supposed to be help coming by air, whether that was true or not - a Zeppelin or something of that kind; a rumour going round amongst us.


I had the motor car, O’Rahilly’s motor car, and I’d been driving that around for a couple of days collecting goods – but of course when it came to the final point we had to leave it as a barricade in Prince’s Street. But I had been appointed to help Desmond Fitzgerald, who was a Commissariat man. And we moved back down with some of the wounded into [some place] .. broke through walls.


I wasn’t actually in Moore St. And I heard of my uncle’s death only 2 days later when I was in the Castle. A Tommy mentioned about one of the leaders, O’Rahilly, being killed. And it was a frightful shock because I knew they’d got out alright. I didn’t know that any of them had been killed at the time.


He (Plunket) sent me a message to bring our family car to the Post Office on the Monday morning. But he didn’t know at the time that we hadn’t a car of our own. It was half and half jointly owned between O’Rahilly and Humphreys. So of course O’Rahilly had already brought the car into the Post Office, so I wasn’t able to do that bit of work for him.

‘Pearse was that type of educationalist that he wanted to bring out every side of your character. He had music of course. For anyone who could play the piano or the violin. He had the art class with his brother doing sketching, painting or sculpture if you were interested in it – to give you a chance. In regard to the plays – he himself had 2 or 3 plays that he wrote, but he also had a wonderful passion play. I’ll never forget Willie playing Pontius Pilate in it.

Dick remembers pageants in the countryside:

‘We had the usual feast that boys look forward to and then we went out in the field and fought with wooden weapons and wooden shields. It was a marvellous experience.

Did you see much of Pearse?

‘No, he was busy doing other things. He used to turn up always though, at night time for the Rosary. He used say the Rosary in Irish. Boys would get different turns saying the Rosary every time so that you’d know your Irish anyway! I’ve often thought how he got so much done in his short life.

Feedback form

Long version of this form.

Email me.

Upload additions and corrections to this site:
Upload a file (e.g. a picture):
Your email address:
Enter this password:

Donation Drive: Please donate to support this site.
I have spent a great deal of time and money on this research. Research involves travel and many expenses.
Some research "things to do" are not done for years, because I do not have the money to do them.
Please Donate Here to support the ongoing research and to keep this website free.

Help      How to read the trees      Conventions      Abbreviations

Privacy policy      Adoption policy      Image re-use policy