Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys,
School at St.Enda's, 1909-12:
Dick's widowed mother Nell sent him in 1909 to Patrick Pearse's radical school, St. Enda's, Cullenswood House, Oakley Road, Ranelagh [founded Sept 1908]. Thomas MacDonagh also taught there.
Dick entered in the second intake, as day boy in the Senior School, 7th Sept 1909 [age 13]. See [An Macaomh, Christmas 1909, p.56].
He had to travel to Ranelagh from Northumberland Rd. He loved it.
St. Enda's moved 1910 to The Hermitage, Grange Rd, Rathfarnham, an 18th century building. See [Irish Country Houses].
It was too far to travel as day boy to Rathfarnham from Northumberland Rd, so Dick entered The Hermitage as a boarder, 12th Sept 1910 [age 14]. See extract from [An Macaomh, Christmas 1910].
Dick ("Risteard Mac Amhlaoibh") is listed as a boarder in St. Enda's, Rathfarnham, in [Census, 2 April 1911].
His diary in early 1912 (age 15-16) at St.Enda's (also in [Mac Eoin, 1980]) shows that he had his own rifle and was being trained in shooting.
The diary shows he was already driving a motor car in 1912. He had an early interest in motoring. Went on lot of cycle trips. Saved up to buy a motorcycle.
See letter from Pearse to Nell, June 1912 as she considers taking him out of the school. Pearse says: "I hope we may count on welcoming Dick back to St. Enda's in September? His last word to me was not to fail to write to you on this point. We have threshed out the matter at length before, so there is no use in bothering you with further arguments, but I do most sincerely hope that you have decided to leave him with us until he has completed his secondary course".
Dick was taken out of St. Enda's
and sent to Clongowes, Co.Kildare,
Sept 1912 [age 16].
left at railway station (must be in Co.Kildare).
He ran away,
hiked over Dublin Mountains, on Co.Kildare/Co.Wicklow/Co.Dublin border,
and went not home to Northumberland Rd,
but rather back to St.Enda's.
Fought in GPO in 1916 Rising:
Dick became a member of the Irish Volunteers (founded by his uncle The O'Rahilly 1913).
He was with The O'Rahilly at Howth gun-running (which The O'Rahilly organised), 26th July 1914, age 18 yrs.
Dick left school 1914.
Entered UCD, Arts, 1914.
fought in the GPO in the
with his two father figures
- his uncle
and his teacher
Both would be killed.
Dick was one of
a number of old St.Enda's boys who fought with Pearse.
His uncle The O'Rahilly was the only 1916 leader killed in action.
His mother Nell went in to the GPO, persuaded him to come home Tue night.
Pearse said to Dick:
"You had better go home. If anything happens your uncle, there will be no man there."
Dick and Nell were nearly killed going home
where a jittery rebel took a shot at them.
Dick complained that he was perfectly safe in the GPO.
See Sighle's account
[Mac Eoin, 1980]
[O'Rahilly, 1991, p.211].
On Fri, he writes in
[1916 memoir, revised version],
with the GPO in flames,
"O'Rahilly again appears, comes over, and tells me to join
down in the restaurant. The GPO is about to be evacuated.
With a cheerful wave of his hand, and a smile, he steps quickly down the smoke-filled stairs.
Little did I know that this was the last time I was ever to see him alive".
The O'Rahilly was shot on Moore St later Fri night.
Prison in Britain, 1916:
Like the rest of his family, he continued as a nationalist activist.
Desmond Fitzgerald wrote 7 Jan 1919 from Gloucester Prison to "Mr. Humphreys", thanking his election workers in Pembroke (Dick's family) after his election as a Sinn Fein MP. This letter was for sale in 2009 at Whyte's.
War of Independence 1919-21:
In War of Independence 1919-21, Dick was in B Company, 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade IRA.
At the same time he started motoring journalism. He wrote for The Irish Cyclist and Motor Cyclist under the name "Ricardo", mainly 1919-22 (all through War of Independence).
Dick and his sister Sighle studied in Paris in late 1919 - early 1920. They were both at University of Paris.
There was a raid of their house, 14 Herbert Park, by British on Easter Saturday, 3 Apr 1920. Dick arrested. Moved to Mountjoy on 4 Apr 1920. Went on hunger strike with other prisoners, for 10 days. He was freed on 14 Apr 1920. See account in [P106/563] and Sighle's diary [P106/908].
Hunger strike injured his health. Went down country to recover. He stayed in his granduncle John Mangan's house Gourbane, Shanagolden, Co.Limerick. He was there when Shanagolden was attacked by the Black and Tans, Aug 1920.
studied law at the Four Courts,
called to bar Nov 1920 (BL), but never practiced.
Unlike his siblings, he
took no part in Civil War (1922-23).
He went into business end-1922, as "O'Mara Rubber Co", based at 79 Dame St, Dublin, agreement dated 9th Oct 1922.
The rest of the family was jailed after Free State raid on Ailesbury Rd in the Civil War, Nov 1922. Dick was arrested but soon released. He was not imprisoned in the Civil War.
In Feb 1923 [P106/396] when most of the family except Dick were in jail, a party of Free State soldiers threw a hand grenade into the hall of Ailesbury Rd, only caused minor damage. This would be the episode remembered in [Nell's obituary] where "the Free Staters tried to burn down Ailesbury Road, but were unsuccessful". [P102/543] says "A mine was placed in the hall but fortunately only the staircase and some of the furniture were damaged.".
Dick's family were all released from prison by end of 1923.
The "Thomond" motor car:
On the 1926 "24 hours" trial he saw his friend James A. Jones' home-built Thomond motor car in action (this was Thomond no.1).
From 1928 he designed and with Jones built his own car, Thomond no.2, finished 1929. These were first cars built in Irish Free State.
He moved his motor business to 36 Pearse St, Dublin prob. 1928. Name of business changed not long after to "Humphreys Autofactors".
to Eithne O'Mara
[born 14th Oct 1908,
poss. descendant of Edward III].
Dick and Eithne moved late 1929 to Sandymount Park (28 Newgrove Ave), Sandymount, Co.Dublin, listed there in [Thoms] 1930-33 edns.
They moved Aug 1933 to 18 Eglinton Park, Donnybrook, Co.Dublin, listed there in [Thoms] 1934-35 edns.
Dick rebuilt his car as Thomond no.4 1933.
Dick designed and built family home,
on a green field site at
Clondalkin, Co.Dublin, 1934-35,
fireplace had date "1934",
moved in c.Feb 1935.
18 Eglinton Park became the home of his sister Sighle.
He had his Thomond when moved to Kingswood, sold it c.1935/36.
He was constantly making modifications to cars owned in later years.
Dick's obituary says: "When Frank Ryan was in prison in Spain" [1938-40] "he" [Dick] "sent a telegram to General Franco trusting that there was no truth in the rumour that Ryan would be executed. He signed and added 'Catholic Barrister at Law'".
Like many Irish nationalists, he tried to see the good side in Irish nationalists' old allies Germany. He wrote a pro-German article in The Leader magazine, 8 Oct 1938, at the beginning of the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.
He made out a family tree in 1939 (after his mother's death).
Extensive orchards were planted in Kingswood, apple business started. Apple trade kept them going during WW2, when motor trade virtually non-existent.
He is summarised as "Company Director" in probate of Anno's estate 1959.
See RTE interview of Dick in 1966.
Dick dies, 1968:
He died Fri 20 Sept 1968, Mater Hospital, Dublin, age 72 yrs.
See mass card.
See death notice in Irish Times, 21 Sept 1968.
See obituary in Irish Times, 21 Sept 1968.
Funeral 21 Sept, bur Saggart, Co.Dublin.
Eamon de Valera, then President of Ireland, went to his funeral.
See obituaries and funeral reports in [P106/579(8-11)]. One is from Irish Press, Sat 21 Sept. Another is from Sunday Press, Sun 22 Sept.
Eithne dies, 1995:
She died 10 am, Tue 10th Jan 1995, Mount Carmel Hospital, Dublin, age 86 yrs.
See death notice in Irish Times, January 11, 1995.
Funeral Thur 12th, her nephew Fr. James Lavelle said it, bur Saggart, Co.Dublin.
Dick and Eithne had issue:
Dick is deported to prison in England.
Irish Times, May 14, 1916.
Dick and Eithne setting off on honeymoon, on their wedding day, 24 Sept 1929.
Left to Right (apart from Dick and Eithne): Steen, (probably Eileen and Alec), Dick Lavelle, Pat, Maureen.
See larger and full size.
See other shot in [P106/674(8)].
(Right) Dick and Eithne, 1932. From group photo here.
Dick on mass card.
See full size.
Life is very strange. Starting 12 years after she died of old age, Granny's wedding photo started being viewed by millions of people all over the globe, and became one of the most-viewed wedding photos in history. I'm sure she would be pleased!
"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."
- Dick hears about the death of his uncle The O'Rahilly in the 1916 Rising. From 1966 interview.
"England has triumphed once again, but ... this fight has shaken her as she has never
been shaken before. Next time the whole country, and not Dublin alone will join the fray."
- The ending of Dick's memoir of 1916, as published in [Jeffery, 2006].
I had thought this was a remarkable prophecy made by Dick at the time, but it does not appear in the original in The Belvederian, 1917. Unfortunately, it is an addition made by Dick to his memoir later.
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