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My ancestors - Humphrys - Contents


Emmet Humphreys




(Left to Right): Eibhlín, Dick, Emmet, Eithne.




Emmet Humphreys,
born 3rd Oct 1902, Quinsborough House, Co.Clare (near Limerick city).
See Childhood in Quinsborough.
There was a family story: Emmet building a little house. Dick and Sighle knock it down. Emmet says: "I'll build it up again". He was philosophical.
The family moved to Dublin 1909.
He was educ Belvedere College (as briefly was his brother Dick).
He was educ C.U.S., Leeson St, Dublin, there as at 1914-16.
It is unclear if Emmet went to the radical school St. Enda's (where Dick went). Sighle in [Mac Eoin, 1980] says he did. But in radio interview she says he did not.

Revolutionary in 1916-21:
Emmet, like his mother and all his family, became a revolutionary in the 1916-23 period.
He was a member before 1916 of Fianna Éireann (founded 1909) with his O'Rahilly cousins.
Sighle in the outtakes of "Ireland: A Television History" recalls that Emmet's group of Fianna were taken away on a march up the Dublin mountains on the day of the 1916 Rising. (They were too young to take part.)
Emmet was arrested 4 July 1918 (age 15) for distributing Sinn Fein literature in Dublin. Put in Bridewell prison and then Summerhill Reformatory school. See Sighle's diary of 1918 [P106/906].
He was educ Mt St Benedict, Gorey, Co.Wexford, there as at Oct 1918 to July 1919.

Jailed by British, 1921-22:
Emmet was arrested in British raid on Ailesbury Rd Easter 1921 (apparently Easter Sunday, 27 Mar 1921).
Unlike Dick, he refused to recognise the court, got one year hard labour. Jailed until at least Jan 1922. Jailed at first in Arbour Hill and Mountjoy.
Then moved to Pentonville Prison in London. [P106/632] shows him at Pentonville at least July 1921 to Jan 1922.
Apparently at some time (must be when Treaty signed in London, Dec 1921), Michael Collins came to visit prison, only had lunch with Governors, didn't visit republican prisoners.
Once all the Irish republican prisoners smashed up their cells. Emmet put in straight jacket.
Would be released by the British soon after Jan 1922, now that the Treaty was signed.

Anti-Treaty in Civil War 1922-23:
He was Captain, E Company, 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade IRA.
Fought on Republican side in Civil War.
Battle of Dublin, 1922:
Emmet was present at the Battle of Dublin, the shelling by Free State artillery of the Republicans' position at the Four Courts at the start of the Civil War. Shelling started 28 June 1922. Emmet's division were outside, but weren't in a position to stop the Free State forces.
Emmet and his men set up a base at 11 Harcourt Terrace. On 29 June there was a plan for all Republicans to go to the Four Courts and attack the Free State besiegers. Emmet in [Mac Eoin, 1980] regrets that the plan was cancelled. (It also might have saved the Public Record Office.)
On 30 June the Public Record Office in the Four Courts was destroyed, and much of Ireland's historical records were lost forever. This was perhaps the greatest act of vandalism in Irish history. The same day the Republicans in the Four Courts surrendered.
On the same day, 30 June, Emmet and his men suddenly came under heavy attack at 11 Harcourt Terrace. An armoured car directed machine gun fire into the house. Snipers fired at the rear. Completely outgunned, they soon surrendered. Emmet recalls: "It was a most ignominious surrender. I cannot recall that even one of us was able to fire one shot against the enemy." [Mac Eoin, 1980].

Jailed in Civil War, 1922-23:
Emmet had been captured on the 3rd day of the war, and was jailed for the entire rest of it.
He was kept at first in a makeshift prison at Portobello Barracks. Moved on 12 July to Kilmainham.
Moved Sept 1922 (not 1923) to Gormanstown Camp, Co.Meath.
Ernie O'Malley was the Republican Officer in Command who surrendered the Four Courts to the Free State.
Ernie O'Malley escaped, and used Emmet's family home Ailesbury Rd as a safe house, until captured there Nov 1922. Most of Emmet's family were now jailed.
Civil War ended May 1923, though prisoners not all immediately released.
Emmet went on hunger strike in Oct 1923. See [P106/644]. Released soon after.

Emmet was sent to Paris to study violin. Think he was at the École Normale de Musique de Paris in 1926-27. NOT at the Institut National de Musique, and NOT 1921. But check [P106/648] and [P106/606].
[P106/616] shows he is studying music in Paris as at Jan 1927. [Tommy O'Brien] thought Emmet was in Paris for nearly 3 yrs. He came back, thought no future in it, never played it after that.
He was in New York in June 1927.
[Tommy O'Brien] said Emmet used go on huge cycling trips, used cycle down to Roscrea, Co.Tipperary, some relative there (must be his mother's younger cousin Fr. Aloysius O'Rahilly).
Emmet became an architect, got degree at age nearly 32.
B.Arch. 1934 [NUI, 1964].

Emmet mar 6th Sept 1934 to Eibhlín Sigerson Piatt [born 30th Sept 1911, descendant of Henry II].
From 1934 to at least 1948 they lived "Doonanore" (or "Dun an Oir"), Greygates, Mount Merrion.
He was appointed as architect in Dept. Local Government 1939.
There was a story that he was interned with IRA suspects in WW2, but his son Dermot said this is not true - he would have lost his civil service job.
After the war he campaigned for Clann na Poblachta (founded 1946).
Appointed Architect-in-Charge, Dept. Local Government, 1947.
Became MRIAI.
Emmet and Eibhlín moved Jan 1952 to "Lios Rua", Seamount Rd, Malahide.
Emmet listed as Chief Architect, Dept of Local Government, in 1955 [P106/628].
Anno died Oct 1958. Emmet still listed at "Lios Rua" in probate of Anno's estate, Mar 1959, listed as "Engineer".
Emmet and Eibhlín moved into 36 Ailesbury Rd after Anno died.
[Thom's, 1961] lists "E. MacAmhlaoibh, B.Arch., MRIAI" as Architect-in-Charge, Housing section, Dept. Local Government, Custom House, Dublin.
He sold 36 Ailesbury Rd 1968.
They lived "Asgard", Windgate Rd, Baily, Howth, Co.Dublin (see map and closer) from 1968 on.
Named his house "Asgard" after the 1914 Howth gun-running boat.

Emmet retired before 1973.
His will dated 2 May 1973.
He died 28th Apr 1977, Howth, Co.Dublin, NOT 27th, age 74 yrs,
bur Saggart, Co.Dublin.
(todo) See obituary notices in [P106/628].
Eibhlín lived Howth.
She died 6th Sept 1986, age 74 yrs,
bur Saggart, Co.Dublin.
Emmet and Eibhlín had issue:

  
  1. Dermot Humphreys, mar Carmel Mackey and had issue:

    1. Gráinne Humphreys.
    2. Nadja Humphreys, mar Eoin Banville.
    3. Emmet Humphreys, mar Sinead Keane and had issue:
      1. Max Humphreys.
      2. Catherine Humphreys.
    4. Diana Humphreys, mar John Molohan and had issue:
      1. Isobel Molohan.




(Left to Right): Mac, Aodogán, Emmet.
In their Fianna uniforms, 54 Northumberland Rd, c.1915 (before the Rising).
See larger and full size. Image 5907 in Humphrys glass negatives. Light-adjusted. See original.
See other scan.
See other scan.
See other scan.


 

The O'Mara's and Cashels, and the Humphreys' and O'Rahilly's, Cashel House, 1920.
This is several years before the families were linked by the 1929 marriage of Dick and Eithne.
(Left to Right): "Norah O'Mara" (must be one of the cousins here, here or here), Steen O'Mara, Maureen O'Mara, Alice Cashel,
Mac O'Rahilly, Emmet Humphreys, Dick Lavelle.



Sighle, Aodogán and Emmet (front), 1920s.
See full size.



(Left to Right): Nell, Sighle, Eibhlín.
Photo 20 July 1933 (before Eibhlín married Emmet).
See larger and full size.



Emmet and Eibhlín.




Emmet and Eibhlín's grave, Saggart, Co.Dublin



Emmet and Eibhlín's grave, Saggart, Co.Dublin.
Photo 1995.
See larger and full size.
See wider shot.



Emmet and Eibhlín's grave, Saggart, Co.Dublin.
Photo 2006. See full size.
See alternative and alternative.
Photos courtesy of Richard Humphreys.




The burning of the Four Courts in the Civil War, 1922



The burning of the Four Courts (and the Public Record Office) in the Civil War, 1922.
From here. From NLI.






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