05 June 2016

Army of the Irish Republic, Easter 1916

HQ Staff, Irish Volunteers, October 1914

Organized thus in the aftermath of the split with from the Redmondites.  The parent organization of both, the “Irish National Volunteer Force”, was founded in 1913 as a reaction to Carson’s Ulster Volunteer Force in the North.  The Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond began using it for his personal political agenda.  With the outbreak of the war, Redmond and his “National Volunteers” supported the British effort on the Continent, to the point enlisiting in nad recruiting for the British Army, and wanted to settle for Home Rule while those who founded the “Irish Volunteers” wanted independence and nothing to do with England’s colonial wars.

Everyone on this list was also a member of the IRB (MacNeill and DeValera only nominally).  With the exception of MacNeill, Hobson, and O’Connell, the members performed these same functions listed here during the Rising in addition to their other duties.

Eoin MacNeill, Chief of Staff
Padraig Pearse, Director of Military Organization
Joseph Plunkett, Director of Military Operations
Thomas MacDonagh, Director of Training
Michael O’Rahilly, Director of Arms
Bulmer Hobson, Quartermaster General
Eamonn Ceannt, Director of Communications
J.J. “Ginger” O’Connell, Chief of Inspection
Edward Daly, OC, 1st Battalion, Dublin Brigade
Thomas MacDonough, Commandant, Dublin Brigade, OC, 2nd Battalion
Eamon de Valera, OC, 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade
Eamonn Ceannt, OC, 4th Battalion, Dublin Brigade

Military Committee, Irish Republican Brotherhood, 1916

The men who planned the Easter Rising and formed the Provisional Government, of which Padraig Pearse was the President.  Perhaps stress should be placed on Provisional in the case of Pearse's presidency, since the constitution of the IRB, of which all of these men were members, provided that when the Irish Republic was established, its own president would be President of the Irish Republic, in which case that would be Tom Clarke.  The names are in the order of which they signed the Proclamation of the Irish Republic on Easter 1916.

Thomas Clarke
Sean MacDermott
Padraig Pearse
Joseph Plunkett
Thomas MacDonagh
Eamonn Ceannt
James Connolly

Active forces, Army of the Irish Republic, Easter Week 1916

Organized by the merger, temporary and superficial as it turned out, of the Irish Volunteer Force (IVF), the Irish Citizen Army (ICA), the Cumann na mBan (CMD), the Fianna Eireann (NFE),  and the Hibernian Rifles (HR) under one umbrella specifically for the Rising. 

Because of the confusion over O’Neill’s cancellation notice on Easter Sunday followed by his subsequent countermanding of that order, many IVF units did not come out.  The ones that did and their commandants are listed here.


The major center of fighting, and often the only action considered in accounts of the Rising.  The Rising in Dublin began with a march at noon Easter Monday, and ended Saturday afternoon with the delivery of Commander-in-Chief’s Pearse’s unconditional surrender to the British forces by Cumman na mBan member Elizabeth O’Farrell from GHQ.  The other garrisons around the city held out until O’Farrell herself had visited each with Pearse’s order to cease fire and stand down.

GHQ Staff

Padraig Pearse, Commander-in-Chief, Army of the Irish Republic
James Connolly, 1st Commandant-General, Commandant, Dublin Division, and Commandant, GHQ, Army of the Irish Republic
            Winifred Carney, Aide-de-Camp
Sean McLoughlin, 2nd Commandant-General (after Connolly was wounded)
Joseph Plunkett, Commandant-General
            Michael Collins, Aide-de-Camp
William Pearse, Acting Chief-of-Staff
Michael O’Hanrahan, Quartermaster General

Dublin Brigade, IVF
            Thomas MacDonough, Commandant
            Eamon de Valera, Adjutant
            Michael Staines, Quartermaster

First Battalion, Dublin Brigade, IVF
            Edward (Ned) Daly, Commandant
            Pearse Beaslai, Adjutant
            Company A:  Denis O’Callaghan, acting Captain
            Company B:  Tom Byrne, Captain
            Company C:  Frank Fahy, Captain
            Company D:  Sean Heuston, Captain
            Company F:  Fionan Lynch, Captain
            Company G:  Nicolas Laffan, acting Captain

Second Battalion, Dublin Brigade, IVF
            Thomas Hunter, Acting Commandant
            Michael O’Hanrahan, Vice-Commandant
            John MacBride, Adjutant
            Company B:  Paddy Daly, Captain
            Company C:  Eamon Price, Captain
            Company D:  Patrick Moran, Captain
            Company E:  Thomas Weafer, Captain
            Company F:  Frank Henderson, Captain

Third Battalion, Dublin Brigade, IVF
            Eamon de Valera, Commandant
            Joseph O’Connor, Vice-Commandant
            Company A:  Joseph O’Connor, Captain
            Company B:  Sean MacMahon, Captain
            Company C:  Simon Donnelly, Captain
            Company D:  Joseph O’Byrne, Acting Captain
            Company E:  Liam Tannam, Captain

Fourth Battalion, Dublin Brigade, IVF
            Eamonn Ceannt, Commandant
            Cathal Brugha, Vice-Commandant
            Company A:  Seamus Murphy, Captain
            Company B:  Thomas McCarthy, Captain
            Company C:  Thomas McCarthy, Captain
            Company D:  French Mullen, Captain
            Company E:  Padraig Pearse, honorary Captain
                        Michael Boland, 1st Lt. in charge
            Company F:  Con Colbert, Captain

Kimmage Garrison, Dublin Brigade, IVF (GPO)
            George Plunkett, Captain
            OTR Section
            Scottish Section
            English Section

Cumann na mBan, Dublin Brigade
            Jennie Wyse Power, Commandant
            Inghinidhe Branch:  Eileen Walsh, Commandant
                        Rose McNamara, Vice-Commandant
            Central Branch Branch:  Kathleen Clarke, Commandant
            Fairview Branch:  Molly Reynolds, Commandant
            Colmcille Branch:  Sarah Neary, Commandant
            GPO detachment:  Elizabeth O’Farrell, OC
            Jameson’s Distillery CMB detachment:  Rose McNamara, OC
            Jacob’s Factory CMB detachment:  Mary Elizabeth Walker, OC

(Out of at least 90 women—some say more than 200—who served during the week, 60 were CMB Volunteers, half from the Inghidhe Branch, the only one to turn out intact.)

Fianna Eireann, Dublin Battalion
            Eamonn Martin, Captain
            Company No. 1:  Philip Cassidy, Lieutenant
            Company No. 2:  Barney Mellows, Lieutenant
            Company No. 3:  Ernie Murray, Lieutenant
            Company No. 4:  Niall MacNeill, Lieutenant
            Company No. 5:  Garry Holohan, Lieutenant
            Company No. 6:  Sean Heuston, Lieutenant
            Company No. 7:  Sean McLoughlin, Lieutenant
            Company No. 8:  Leo Henderson, Lieutenant
            Company No. 9:  Padraig O’Dalaigh, Lieutenant
            Fianna Commando:  Sean McLoughlin, Lieutenant

Clan na Gael Girl Guides
            May Kelly, Captain

Irish Citizen Army
            Michael Mallin, Commandant
            Constance Markievicz, Lieutenant-Commandant
            Christopher (Kit) Poole, Captain, Adjutant
            Kathleen Lynn, Captain, Chief Medical Officer
            Jim O’Neill, Captain, Quartermaster
            Seamus McGowan, Sergeant, Assistant Quartermaster
            Section Commanders:
                        Dick McCormack, Captain
                        Jim O’Neill, Captain
                        Sean Connolly, Captain
                        William Partridge, Captain
                        Mick Kelly, Lieutenant
                        Martin Kelly, Lieutenant
                        Peter Jackson, Lieutenant
                        Joseph Doyle, Sergeant
                        James Kelly, Sergeant
                        Thomas O’Donohoe, Sergeant
                        Frank Robbins, Sergeant
                        Madelaine Ffrench-Mullen, Sergeant

Irish Citizen Scouts
            Walter Carpenter, Captain
            Charlie O’Darcy, 1st Lieutenant
            Paddy Carroll, 2nd Lieutenant

Hibernian Rifles (GPO)
            John J. Scollan, Commandant
            J. J. Walsh, Vice-Commandant
            Company No. 1:  Thomas Breslin, Captain
            Company No. 2:  J. Garret, Captain
            Company No. 3:  Sean Millroy, Captain

Dublin City Major Garrisons

General Post Office Garrison (GHQ)
James Connolly, OC
Boland’s Mills Garrison
Edmund De Valera, OC
Cabra Bridge Garrison
Jim O’Sullivan, OC
City Hall Garrison
Sean Connolly, 1st OC
John Reilly, 2nd OC
Elizabeth Lynn, 3rd OC
Four Courts Garrison
Ned Daly, OC
Jacob’s Factory Garrison
Thomas MacDonagh, OC
Watkins’ Brewery Garrison
Con Colbert, OC
Jameson’s Distillery Garrison
Seamus Murphy, OC
Mendicity Institute Garrison
Sean Heuston, OC
Roe’s Distillery Garrison
Thomas McCarthy, OC
Saint Stephen’s Green Garrison
Mike Mallin, OC
South Dublin Union Garrison
Eamonn Ceantt, OC
Clanwilliam House
Michael Malone, OC


Rather than traditional infantry war which they knew would be doomed to failure, Ashe and Mulcahy adopted the guerrilla tactics and organization (in the latter case, switching to “sections” instead of “companies”) which were successful in the War of Independence, leading to the capture of Royal Irish Constabulary posts at Swords, Donabate, Garristown, and Ashbourne (Co. Meath), the last being the only large-scale battle fought outside Dublin.   Their actions were largely in support of the Dublin Brigade to block reinforcements from the north.  Until the surrender Saturday, they were undefeated.

Fifth (Fingal) Battalion, Dublin Brigade, IVF (North Co. Dublin)
            Thomas Ashe, Commandant
            Richard Mulcahy, Vice-Commandant and Adjutant
            Section No. 1:  Charlie Weston, Captain
            Section No. 2:  Edward (Ned) Rooney, Captain
            Section No. 3:  Jim Lawless, Captain
            Section No. 4:  Joe Lawless, Captain

Fingal Branch, CMB
            Molly Adrian, Commandant

(At least 20 CMB volunteers did mobile service with the 5th Battlation)


Intended as a blocking force, the Dundalk Volunteers were supposed to rendevous with other units in the area at Tara on Easter Monday, but received word after they arrived that the Rising was called off.  Upon learning it was back on Tuesday, the Volunteers re-formed and proceeded south, hoping to eventually link up with the Fingal Battalion.  At Castlebellingham, they encountered a force of RIC men, resulting in a skirmish that resulted in one RIC man dead and several injured with 15 taken prisoner.

After linking up with Dunboyne Company in Co. Meath, the column continued into North Co. Dublin, where they halted at Tyrellstown House near Mulhuddart.  From there, they dispatched men to contact the Fingal Brigade and the forces in Dublin.  By the time they were able to contact either, the Rising was over.  Still, they remained “out” until Easter Wednesday.

Dundalk Battalion, IVF
            Paddy Hughes, Commandant
            James Toal, Vice-Commandant
            Donal Hannigan, Adjutant
            Company A:  Paddy Duffy
            Company B:  James Toal, Captain
            Company C:  Joseph Berrill, Captain
            Company D.  Sean McEntee, Captain

Dunboyne Company, IVF
            Sean Boylan, Captain

Other officers in Dundalk Battalion included:  Felix McQuillan, Frank Necy, Thomas Hearty, Hugh Kearney, and Peadar Murphy.


On Thursday morning, forces of the Wexford Brigade (IVF), primarily from the Enniscorthy Battalion, seized the town of Enniscorthy to cut the rail and block reinforcements.  Setting up headquarters in the Athenaeum in the center of town, they sabotaged tracks, a bridge, and communications lines to Dublin.  They also occupied Vinegar Hill, one of the major sites of the Rising of 1798 by the United Irishmen.  On Saturday day, they captured the town of Ferns.  The forces in Wexford and Ferns, up to one thousand strong, only surrendered Low Sunday afternoon after receiving confirmation of Pearse’s order.

Wexford Brigade, IVF
            Robert Brennan, Acting Commandant
            Paul Galligan, Vice-Commandant
            Seamus Rafter, Brigade Adjutant

Enniscorthy Battalion
            Seamus Doyle, Commandant
            Enniscorthy (A) Company:  James Cullen, Captain
            Shannon (B) Company:  Alex Doyle, Captain
            Gorey (C) Company:  Sean Etchingham, Captain
            Ferns Company:  Patrick Ronan, acting Captain
            New Ross Company:  Sean Kennedy, Captain

Enniscorthy Garrison
            Seamus Rafter, OC
            Michael de Lacy, Civil Minister

Ferns Garrison
            Paul Galligan, OC

Enniscorthy Branch, CMB
            Mary White, Commandant

(Up to 90 CMB volunteers did service during the week)

Enniscorthy Sluagh, NFE
            Michael Kehoe, Captain


Though small parties mustered earlier in the week, most demobilized when no orders came, and the major rising in Co. Galway began on Tuesday.  Between 700 and 1,000 volunteers answered calls to muster on Tuesday, but armed with only 25 long arms, 60 pistols, several homemade grenades, and pikes (yes, pikes).  Volunteers attacked RIC barracks at Killeeneen, Oranmore, and Clarinbridge.  Attacks against the barracks at Ardrahan and Peterswell did not take place because those had been abandoned.  There was a skirmish with RIC constables at Carnmore crossroads (1 constable dead, several prisoner), after which the Volunteers occupied the town of Athenry, with the Agricultural School, known locally as the “Farmyard”, as their headquarters.

On Wednesday, the HMS Laburnum shelled the county from Loch Lurgan (Galway Bay), and the Volunteers moved to nearby Moyode Castle.  Patrols had to contend with counter patrols by RIC accompanied by Special Constables who were mostly from the Redmondite National Volunteer Force (NVF).  On Friday, after the HMS Gloucester shelled the area near the rebels and landed 200 Royal Marines, the Republican forces shifted to Limepark House and its grounds, finally dispersing early Saturday morning.

The units below are those mentioned as coming out by at least one or two sources.  Some fifty members of Cumann na mBan also mustered and did active service.  Of particular note is the Caughwell Company of the NVF, the only unit of the Redmondite NVF in the country to come out in support of the Rising.

The Galway Brigade had only recently been divided into battalions, of which there were five (Athenry or Mid Galway; Loughrea or East Galway; Gort or South Galway; Galway or West Galway; Tuam or North Galway), so the companies which were out operated directly under the brigade command.

Western Division, IVF
            Liam Mellows, Commandant

Galway Brigade, IVF
            Larry Lardner, Commandant
            Eamonn Corbett, Vice-Commandant
            Alf Monaghan, Vice-Commandant
            Mattie Niland, Adjutant
            Sean Broderick, Quartermaster
            Athenry Company:  Frank Hynes, Captain
            Rockfield Company:  Gilbert Morrisey, Captain
            Clarenbridge Company:  Eamon Corbett, Captain
            Oranmore Company:  Martin Costello, Captain
            Maree Company:  Michael Athy, Captain
            Castlegar Company:  Brian Molloy, Captain
            Kilcolgan Company, Martin Niland, Captain
            Kinvara Company:  John Burke, Captain
            Kilcolgan Company, Martin Niland, Captain
            Ardradan Company:  Peter Howley, Captain
            Kilconieron Company:  John Hannify, Captain
            Claregalway Company:  Tom Ruane, Captain
            Newcastle Company
            Kilcronin Company
            Killtullagh Company
            Kilmoredaly Company
            Cussaun Company
            Derrydonnell Company
            Cregmore Company
            Killeeneen Company
            Kiltartan Company
            Ballindereen Company

Craughwell Company, NVF

(The only unit of the National Volunteers to come out in support of the Rising)

Galway Branch, CMB
            Julia Mary Morrisey, Commandant

(Some 50 members reportedly came out during the week.)


In Cork City, and other battlions in the brigade area, the confusion in the conflicting orders on Easter Sunday left Commandant MacCurtain unsure of how to proceed.  On Easter Monday, MacCurtain, MacSwiney, O’Sullivan, and a large contingent of Volunteers set about fortifying Volunteer Hall and setting lookouts at bridges and military barracks.  Though there was no actual fighting due to the intervention of Lord Mayor Butterfield and Bishop Cohalan, the Volunteers lived under a state of siege until Monday after Low Sunday, when they surrendered their arms to the military and stood down.

Cork Brigade, IVF: 
            Tomas MacCurtain, Commandant
            Thomas MacSwiney, Vice-Commandant

Cork City Battalion, Cork Brigade, IVF
            Sean O’Sullivan, Commandant
            Sean Murphy, Vice-Commandant
            Company A:  Sean Scanlan, Captain
            Company B:  Donald Barret, Captain
            Company C:  Patrick Cotter, Captain
            Company D:  Christopher O’Gorman, Captain
            Cobh Company:  Michael Leahy, Captain
            Dungourney Company:  Maurice Ahern, Captain

Cork Branch, CMB
            Mary McSwiney, Commandant


Anonymous said...

Captain Christopher Poole was second in command in St Stephens Green 1916 and 3rd in command of the Irish citizen army ,not countess Markievicz as was thought first , Irish military archive and witness statements.Markievicz was a liutenant !

Chuck Hamilton said...

First, ranks did not matter as much in the ICA and the IVF. Second, yes, in pouring over the better part of everything the Irish Republic has online of primary records, Markievicz was indeed originally appointed as a Lieutenant. However, when Connolly became Commanding General of the entire Army of the Irish Republic, officers were shifted to different billets. That's why Markievicz has the rank of "Lieutenant-Commandant" instead of "Vice-Commandant". The ICA had preferred to dispense with ranks altogether and only acceded to using them due to the more uptight among the IVF. In some of the dispatches and orders from the Rising, Markievicz is referred to as "Lieutenant-Commandant". Besides, she was the most capable military mind of the whole ICA.

Chuck Hamilton said...

First sentence should read: "...as much in the ICA as in the IVF".