What made Ireland Sinn Fein: the chief political content of Pearse, the Gael of Gaels; something of MacNeill, Ireland's historian, Griffith, Ireland's statistician and of O'Rahilly, a leader of the Volunteers.
John X. Regan,
his father Richard Rahilly came home one day,
tells how he met an old lady in Tralee who told him he was a relation of
caught Michael Joseph's imagination,
he researched family tree, since c. age 18, c. early 1893 in Clongowes
he rode bicycle all round Co.Kerry, interviewing all families of Rahilly name,
left Clongowes 1893,
met Nancy Brown [Nannie] summer 1893,
educ Royal University of Ireland, Dublin,
went in late 1893,
got sick with tuberculosis,
left university 1894,
described as "medical student", 108 South Circular Rd, Dublin,
when he wit his sister's mar settlement 1895,
then his father died 1896,
and he abandoned studies to take care of the family business
as a student he carved his name on a wooden rail in the old
the carving is now preserved in the
like his father,
he served as
Justice of the Peace,
described as such in
[Deed, Nov 1898],
he heard Nannie had been proposed to in America,
decided it was now or never,
he put up an ad to sell the family business in Ballylongford June 1898,
sold it for low price,
he couldn't wait to get out of Ballylongford,
old house sold to Finucane 3 Sept 1898,
though sale of new house seems to have taken longer,
he sailed for New York Sept 1898,
going first to Amsterdam to buy a diamond engagement ring for Nannie
mar 15th Apr 1899
to Nancy Brown [born 4th Sept 1875],
honeymoon was grand tour of Europe - France, Austria, Italy;
she spoke fluent French after her schooling,
he learnt French too,
French was a normal language spoken in their home before their return to Ireland 1909
[Aodogán], after that, Irish,
his interest in Irish history led him slowly and inexorably towards nationalism;
the first indication of nationalism is in letters controversy June 1899 in the European Herald Tribune
[est 1887, now
International Herald Tribune],
following celebrations of
80th birthday [born 24 May 1819];
Rahilly criticised the celebrations, pointing out the miseries and devastation that her reign
had inflicted on Ireland
[Herald Tribune, European edition, 7th June 1899, see also 14th June],
lived in NYC for while, Bobby born New York 1900,
signed himself in Irish "Rathaile" summer 1901
returned to Ireland early 1902,
his distant in-law Michael Warren
continued to gather family tree information for him 1902-08,
Justice of the Peace
1903 (prob. after representations made on his behalf by
Mac born Dublin July 1903,
Bobby died nr Bray, Co.Wicklow, Aug 1903,
researched in [NLI],
travelled in Cos. Kerry, Cavan, Roscommon, researching his ancestry,
wrote for Arthur Griffith's nationalist newspaper
the United Irishman
(in existence 1899-1906),
moved to Philadelphia autumn 1905
to help rescue Brown family business,
"Slieve Luchra", Lansdowne, Philadelphia
wrote to James O'Mara
after the disheartening defeat of Sinn Fein in the N Leitrim by-election Jan 1908:
"It is disappointing after Sinn Feiners have kept pegging away for nearly a decade,
but nations move slowly and it seems hard to enlighten the men of places like Breffni Ua Ruarc",
signed himself in Irish "Ua Rathghaille" Jan 1909,
returned to Dublin May 1909,
lived for a short time at 38 Upr Leeson St, or (think more likely) 38 Lr Leeson St,
living Leeson St on 19 June 1909,
not found in [Thom's] 1909 or 1910,
moved to 40 Herbert Park,
Ballsbridge, Dublin, 1910
listed there in
a summary of
his genealogy of the O'Rahillys was published in
information he had collected about the poet
was published in
[Dineen and O'Donoghue, 1911],
he reverted to the old spelling"O'Rahilly",
from c.1911 onwards
listed as "O'Rahilly" in
the change to "O'Rahilly" was copied by the other Rahillys
(i.e. Anno and his 1st cousins)
around this time,
he wrote his surname "ua Rathghaille"
at 40 Herbert Park
[Census, 2 April 1911],
he filled in the census form in Irish,
house has 12 rooms,
they live with 2 servants,
and also in the house is "Síghle Brún"
(Sheila Brown, born 1890, America, unidentified
relation of Nancy),
he also noted that he was eldest male line and so adopted the style
"The O'Rahilly" (or simply "Ua Rathghaille"),
nom de plume c.1911,
in general use by May 1914
it was a purely invented title, though he was the eldest male of the eldest male branch
going back to the start of the family tree,
W.B. Yeats defended his right to use it in his poem
"Sing of The O'Rahilly,
Do not deny his right;
Sing a "The" before his name;
Allow that he, despite
All those learned historians,
Established it for good;
He wrote out that word himself,
He christened himself with blood.",
De Dion Bouton automobile
he used a coat of arms,
some story about O'Rahilly Grant of Arms,
but [GO] says:
"We have no record of O'Rahilly either having left his genealogy here
or having been granted arms.",
very musical, Sean T. O'Kelly
(later President of Ireland) remembered him singing
"The Camptown Races"
by Stephen Foster (1850),
helped produce and wrote for Arthur Griffith's newspaper
(successor to United Irishman, in existence 1906-14),
Royal Visit of the new king
(succ 1910, coronation 22nd June 1911)
to Ireland, 7th-12th July 1911,
O'Rahilly erected a banner across
"Thou art not conquered yet, dear land";
banner was seized, but not before much publicity was gained
no British monarch visited southern Ireland again until
Elizabeth II in 2011,
at the same time,
as a counter-blast to the royal visit,
organised the first national pilgrimage to
grave at Bodenstown,
Co.Kildare, July 1911,
have letter to The O'Rahilly, 22nd Jan 1912,
from one Seán Ó Cuill,
claiming to have invented
"we must act quickly",
joined Executive Committee of
spent months on massive project translating Dublin street names into Irish,
many of the translations seen today are originally by The O'Rahilly.
The Irish Volunteers:
O'Rahilly's articles in
Irish Freedom, summer 1912, are an explicit call to Irishmen to arm themselves,
and analysis of previous rebellions, purely on the military grounds of why they failed.
He took over the Gaelic League's paper
An Claidheamh Soluis, and politicised it.
The first edition of new-look paper, 1st Nov 1913, carried the famous article
"The North began" by
argiung for the need for an armed pro-Home-Rule force to counter-balance the
Ulster Volunteer Force.
O'Rahilly encouraged him to follow through with this idea,
this led directly to foundation of Irish Volunteers.
co-founder of the Irish Volunteers,
Wynn's Hotel, Dublin, 11th Nov 1913
(the movement to arm Irish nationalists, forerunner of the
see Genealogy of the IRA).
He became treasurer.
First public meeting at the Rotunda 25th Nov,
membership rapidly grew to tens of thousands.
As the Irish Volunteers grew to a national movement of 200,000 members,
it came under the control of
and the Irish Parliamentary Party
(against the wishes of many of the radical founders).
Howth gun running:
As Director of Arms, O'Rahilly
was instrumental in organising the
Howth gun running
26th July 1914, an operation kept secret from most of the Volunteer leaders
who much resented not being involved).
When British soldiers shot unarmed civilians who had been heckling them
O'Rahilly raced to the scene with his loaded Mauser,
but all was quiet.
There is a pedigree greyhound called
born Aug 1914, apparently Ireland,
exported to US,
and another called
"The O'Rahilly II",
born 1915, apparently Ireland,
owner T.D. O'Sullivan.
The build-up to the 1916 Rising:
The Irish Volunteers
WW1, Aug 1914,
the majority following
John Redmond to fight for Britain
O'Rahilly remained with
the minority force under the leadership of MacNeill,
but heavily influenced by the
who now planned to carry out a rising.
O'Rahilly refused to join the IRB.
He was regarded as part of the MacNeill (more cautious) wing of the Volunteers,
excluded from secret plans for a rising.
He was by no means against an unprovoked insurrection
(e.g. see letter to
Workers' Republic 22nd Jan 1916),
but he believed it must have some military chance of success, not be merely a symbolic
"If the cancellation had not been ordered by MacNeill",
the Proclamation of the Republic"would have included O'Rahilly's name" [O'Rahilly, 1991].
The Easter Rising
was set for Easter Sunday 23rd Apr 1916,
but MacNeill discovered the plan,
and after the shipment of German arms
was lost in the small hours of Sat 22nd Apr,
MacNeill issued orders, night of Sat 22nd Apr, to cancel the rising
O'Rahilly delivered the orders to the South of Ireland,
night of Sat 22nd Apr, returned to Dublin Sun night 23rd Apr.
In the words of Yeats:
"He told Pearse and Connolly
He'd gone to great expense
Keeping all the Kerry men
Out of that crazy fight;
That he might be there himself
Had travelled half the night."
He was woken Mon 24th Apr morning, told that Pearse's men were going ahead,
realising there was no way of stopping it now, he went to join them without hesitation.
assigned as aide de camp
to the leader Pearse at the HQ in the
In the words of Yeats:
"Then on Pearse and Connolly
He fixed a bitter look:
"Because I helped to wind the clock
I come to hear it strike."".
Also in the GPO were
and The O'Rahilly's nephew
The 1916 Rising:
The Easter Rising
started noon, Easter Monday 24th Apr 1916.
The rebels seized buildings around Dublin.
The British responded slowly, putting their efforts into securing
and isolating the GPO.
The gunboat Helga moved into the River Liffey
and shelled rebel positions.
Large areas of the city centre, especially around the GPO, burned down,
hundreds of civilians killed.
The GPO was being destroyed from afar,
had to be abandoned.
Evacuation of the GPO, dusk, Fri 28th Apr 1916,
O'Rahilly led a group trying to reach
William & Woods factory up on Great Britain St
(now Parnell St) to set up a new HQ.
O'Rahilly blessed by
Fr. John Flanagan,
"Father, we shall never meet again in this world." Aodogán
says his father had no interest in dying:
he was looking for a safe house,
getting a uniform from one of the prisoners, etc.
O'Rahilly said a sad goodbye to
(father of the future Taoiseach
Talking about his father,
"his hero of that period, The O'Rahilly".
As leaving, O'Rahilly says:
"But fancy missing this and then getting killed running for a tram or catching cold" [O'Rahilly, 1991].
The last thing he said to Desmond FitzGerald was
"Look after Richard."
The O'Rahilly's death:
O'Rahilly took his men up
under machine-gun fire from British barricade at top of street.
O'Rahilly hit badly, pulled himself into
(which led from Moore St to Moore Lane),
middle of war zone, nobody could get to him, he died later that night.
See Note written by The O'Rahilly as he lay dying.
Before he died, he dipped his finger in his own blood
and wrote his name on the doorway beside his head.
He died in Sackville Lane, night of Fri 28th - Sat 29th Apr 1916, age 41 yrs.
Pearse surrendered to General Lowe
at the same barricade, later on Sat afternoon.
Later, as Pearse was awaiting execution, he said
"I envy O'Rahilly - that is the way I wanted to die."
Even had O'Rahilly survived, he would probably have faced execution.
beside O'Donovan Rossa
to the RHS of the O'Connell tower.
See his grave
and O'Donovan Rossa's grave.
They were the first couple of burials of what was soon to become the Republican Plot,
which now contains most of the republican heroes of the War of Independence
and Civil War.
were the only undertakers that would agree to bury him.
Administration in Dublin
of effects of £330 in England, sealed in London 8 Feb 1918
[National Probate Calendar, England].
Just before the Rising, O'Rahilly gave a bundle of papers to a neighbour, Mrs. Hogan, for safekeeping.
The last thing he said to his wife was:
"Don't forget about the papers - the boys will be interested in them."
A few weeks after the Rising, she went to Mrs. Hogan, who, afraid they were seditious papers,
had burnt them.
suspected they were the O'Rahilly family tree.
Nancy was pregnant when her husband was killed, the child was born 3 months after his death,
she supported her husband's politics,
she was vice-president of
Cumann na mBan
autumn 1917, "Madame O'Rahilly",
were highly praised for their work in
"the near miracle of
Desmond Fitzgerald's election
in the Unionist stronghold of
in general election 1918
Fitzgerald was in prison for
"When his name was called .. they heard the answer "Fe ghlas ag Gallaibh""
["Imprisoned by the foreign enemy"],
Nancy was on executive of White Cross Fund
in War of Independence, end of 1920
the Irish White Cross Society was founded 1920 to cope with distress and destitution in Ireland
during the War of Independence,
but she did not participate in Cumann na mBan's dangerous field assistance to
the IRA in War of Independence,
"Madam O'Rahilly" was on
of Cumann na mBan 1920-21,
she was regarded as honorary figurehead by militant younger members
in Civil War,
she was arrested Nov 1922 when Free State raided her house, 40 Herbert Park,
and the Humphreys house,
36 Ailesbury Rd,
and "Sheila Humphreys"
signed appeal by
Irish National Aid Association for the relief of Irish political prisoners,
(todo) see [NAI],
archives of Dept of the Taoiseach,
Cabinet: s 5864C,
File: Anti-State Activities Subsequent to 1931,
she lived 40 Herbert Park until her death,
died 11th Apr 1961 [gravestone], age 85 yrs,
searched [GROI] 1961 - not found,
bur with her husband, Republican Plot, Glasnevin,
listed as "Michael Joseph Robert Rahilly" at death
Ellen Mangan's will 1903,
named after his grandfather Robert Brown,
died before family changed to "O'Rahilly",
born 14th Mar 1900, New York,
his father sent one-word cable
to his family at
reply also one-word: "Joy",
died 19th Aug 1903, Welford Cottage, nr Bray, Co.Wicklow,
after short illness
disease of membrane of abdomen, 7 days],
age 3 yrs
Richard McEllistrim Rahilly,
always called "Mac",
sometimes known as "The O'Rahilly",
named after his grandfather Richard Rahilly
and his grandfather Richard McEllistrem
[though think they spelt it "McEllistrim"],
"Macalister" on birth cert
is think the Anglicisation,
born Fri 3rd July 1903,
at the home of Kathleen White, 122 Lr Baggot St, Dublin
on the day, much to his mother's resentment,
his father went off to watch the
Gordon Bennett motor race
nr Athy, Co.Kildare,
the 1903 race
was Thur 2nd July, 7am-5pm,
the race is featured in the story
After The Race
born 22nd Sept 1904, 47 St.Aubyns, Hove, Brighton
and street view),
his father The O'Rahilly got a souvenir from Brighton
- the key of the room in 10 Walsingham Terrace, Hove, Brighton, where
Parnell had died in 1891,
bapt Egan John Eoin O'Sullivan O'Rahilly,
Egan - after the poet,
John - priest refused to baptise him unless they gave him a proper saint's name,
Eoin O'Sullivan - after the poet of Meentoges,
known as Egan in youth,
"Aodogán" is how he himself spelt it.
birth cert and passport say
born 3 Jan 1907, Philadelphia,
NOT 6th/7th Dec 1906, [Sighle]
said when her Rahilly cousins came to Dublin 1909,
they couldn't speak to little Niall, because he spoke only French,
doctor, educ UCD
he was a
"doctor of osteopathy"
he practised at 40 Herbert Park for a time,
listed there in
he was Countess Plunkett's
at time of hunger strike of her two IRA sons 1940,
archives of Dept of the Taoiseach,
Cabinet: s 11515,
File: Internees, Hunger Strike, 1939-1940,
Letter to de Valera from Niall O'Rahilly, 8 April 1940,
mar 1stly, July 1940, Dundrum,
to Bridie Clyne
from Dromod, Co.Leitrim],
she was involved in republican activities 1919-26,
she was on the republican side in the
Civil War 1922-23,
she was with the republican garrison in the
when it was shelled by the Free State, June 1922
in the Civil War
she worked for the republican underground in Co.Dublin and Co.Wicklow,
she was in a car with
when it was attacked in an assassination attempt,
arrested in 1923 in a raid in Strand Rd, Sandymount,
and jailed for a few months in Kilmainham,
she gave a false name "Annie Hardwicke",
she was on hunger strike in Kilmainham
with Sighle Humphreys
Niall also had a practice at
78 Merrion Square,
Bridie worked in advertising, Capel St, Dublin,
they had an apartment in
Roebuck House, Clonskeagh,
in c.1947 they moved to
(also known as Dillon Lodge),
Tallaght par, Co.Dublin
(near Co.Wicklow border, near Brittas),
Ballinascorney House was built c.1800,
stayed in it while on the run in 1803,
Niall was involved in a TV Production Company in early 1970s,
Bridie died Ballinascorney House, 1971, age 73 yrs,
Niall mar 2ndly to Pat Walshe,
he died Ballinascorney House, May 1988, age 81 yrs.
Maolmuire Ó Rathaille,
also sometimes "O'Rahilly", but apparently NOT "Ó Raghallaigh",
used to be spelt "Ó Raghallaigh",
Maolmuire means "servant of Mary",
Myles, or Milo,
born Nov 1911, Dublin,
1911-14, not found.
think NOT Ruarie,
born Michael Joseph O'Rahilly [after his father], 25th July 1916,
40 Herbert Park, Dublin [after his father's death],
his father, who had just been killed in an armed revolt
against the government, is described as a "gentleman"[GROI],
the doctor at his birth wouldn't take a fee,
he said he was "honoured" to deliver him,
mar 3rd Oct 1950 to Marie Terese Sherin
[dau of Cornelius Sherin of Kilkenny],
she died pre-1989,
he died morning of 11th May 1989, age 72 yrs,
Máire-Rós Ní Raghallaigh, mar Ricky Erickson
and had issue:
Listowel, Co.Kerry, re-named many streets after 1916 Rising figures.
Main St / The Small Square
was re-named "O'Rahilly Square" after The O'Rahilly.
from "O'Rahilly Square" in 1925
(courtesy of Vincent Carmody).
recalls The O'Rahilly leaving the GPO to his death:
"Moore Street and Henry Place"
[from Henry St to Moore St]
"of Dublin banter,
you are selected for the noblest gesture of a noble time.""How easy it is to kill a man.
And yet how hard to kill his memory."