Rathfarnham and other Volunteers from the surrounding area – Lecture by Gerry Hogan
On Friday 6 th May 2016 Ballyboden St. Enda’s GAA Club’s 1916/2016 Commemoration’s Committee hosted a talk by club member Gerry Hogan on the Rathfarnham and other volunteers involved in the 1916 Rising. Gerry was accompanied by Tony Duffy of the Rathfarnham Historical Society. Several descendents of volunteers attended and brought along 1916 medals, copies of letters written at the time, photographs and other memorabilia. To the delight of the attendance a recently discovered Autograph Book from Frongoch was unveiled.
The Volunteers
In his talk, Gerry Hogan revealed that the local force in Rathfarnham was E Company 4 th Battalion Irish Volunteers sometimes
referred to as Pearse’s Own. There were 38 in the Battalion that fought in the GPO in 1916. Many others had followed John Redmond and enlisted in the British army. These are the names of the 38 with their ages at the time in brackets:
  • Michael Boland (40)
  • Eamon Bulfin (24)
  • Bartholomew Burke (34)
  • Frank Burke (21)
  • Matt Caffrey (34)
  • Liam Clarke (33),
  • Thomas Corbally (24)
  • Michael Cremen (34)
  • Michael Cowley (36)
  • Charlie Donnelly (24)
  • Paddy Donnelly (43)
  • Patrick Gallagher (27)
  • Henry Gannon (36)
  • Brian Joyce (20)
  • John “Jack” Keely (33)
  • Thomas Kearney (20)
  • James Kenny (19)
  • John Kilgallon (23)
  • Joseph Lee (52)
  • Hugh Lee (16)
  • Francis Macken (39)
  • Conor McGinley (19)
  • John Eunan McGinley (17)
  • Domnic Mulvey (19)
  • William Mulvey (21)
  • Fintan Murphy (23)
  • Kevin O’Carroll (17)
  • Patrick O’Connor (33)
  • William O’Reilly (20)
  • Patrick Pearse (37)
  • William Pearse (35),
  • Desmond Ryan (23)
  • Francis “Frank” Sheridan (53)
  • Peter Slattery (32)
  • James Sweeney (27)
  • Patrick Sweeney (37)
  • Joseph Sweeney (19)
  • James Wardick (29)
Three other volunteers were mentioned: Michael Rogers who was 54 and was in the GPO the day before. Concerned due to his age PH Pearse asked him to go back to Rathfarnham and look after his mother. Gerald Keogh was 22 and a member of a North City Group and couldn’t get across the city so he joined in with the Rathfarnham volunteers. David Sears 16 was the only pupil from St. Endas who was present.
Michael Boland was the 1 st Lieutenant of E Company 4 th Battalion and on a recent Rebellion Walk Ballyboden St. Endas Club laid a wreath on his grave in Templeogue cemetery. The Rathfarnham Historic Society has laid wreaths at all the volunteer’s graves except John Kilgallon’s as he is buried in New York.
Those who gave their lives
Fuair cuigear ón taobh seo den cathair bás san Éirí Amach.
Five people involved in the Rising from Rathfarnham died including the Pearse Brothers who were executed. This was a huge percentage of people from one area. The others to die were John Keely who died on 25 April 1916. He was shot entering a side window in the GPO on the Princess Street side. He was married to Suzanne Donnelly and died from his wounds in Jervis St. Hospital and is buried in Deanesgrange cemetery. Francis Macken who was a barber in Rathfarnham was shot in Sackville Lane on 28 th April 1916. He was killed in the last charge before the surrender and his body was found close to The O’Rahilly’s body. He was very much a forgotten man evidenced by a copy of a letter from his mother to a Catholic bulletin pleading for his name to be remembered. Gerald Keogh, mentioned above, was shot by New Zealand soldiers on his way back from St Stephen’s Green after delivering a message from PH Pearse. Twelve volunteers from Rathfarnham were wounded during Easter week including the Mulvey Brothers, Dominic and William who are buried in Cruagh cemetery.
The stories of some volunteers
There was a group known as The St. Enda’s Boys. They had been students in St. Endas and were now in their late teens/early twenties and many were going to university. They included Eamon Bulfin, Peter Slattery, Conor McGinley, Frank Burke, Joe Sweeney, Eunan McGinley, John Kilgallon, Desmond Ryan and Brian Joyce. Eamon Bulfin raised the flag on the GPO. Frank Burke won five All Ireland medals with Dublin. John “The Yank” Kilgallon owned a camera and took many photographs at the time. Desmond Ryan became a noted writer. Mention was made of Kevin O’Carroll who was wounded in the GPO and was subsequently primarily responsible for the restoration of Kilmainham Gaol.
Nascanna leis an Club – The Ballyboden St. Endas connections
Patrick Gallagher and Thomas Kearney were members of Ballyboden Wanderers GAA Club at the time. Ballyboden Wanderers and Rathfarnham St. Endas amalgamated in 1969 to form Ballyboden St. Endas GAA Club. James “Jem” Wardick is the great granduncle of Philip Wardick who was centre back on Ballyboden St. Endas senior football championship winning team in 1995. Mary Wardick, his granddaughter, was present and she brought along his 1916 medal, a photograph and a letter that he wrote from Wandsworth prison in June 1916. Other club connections with Easter Rising volunteers include Sean Lyons who is son of Ned Lyons (Four Courts garrison). Conor Doolan who is great grandnephew of Joe Doolan (South Dublin Union). David and Tim Sweeney (Ballyboden St. Endas senior hurling championship winners) great grandsons of Liam O’Flaherty (South Dublin Union). Liam later became president of Geraldine’s Football Club. Their great granduncles Seamus O’Flaherty and Martin O’Flaherty also fought in the South Dublin Union and their great grandaunt Margaret “Cissie” O’Flaherty was also involved. Gerry Hogan himself is the father in law of Tim Sweeney. When Tim married Gerry’s daughter Anne (senior camogie winner with Ballyboden St. Endas) and bought a house in St. Patrick’s Cottages little did he know that the house had been the home of Joseph and Hugh Lee, father and son who were volunteers. The son was the eldest of the family and only 16 when he left the house on Easter Monday morning.
On the 24 th April this year Gerry had just finished a Walk to the Pearse museum when he was approached by two daughters of Joseph Lee, Nuala and Eilish. They had the 1916 medals and other memorabilia with them. Nuala is married to a son of Paddy Donnelly, son of another volunteer. There may be more connections and Gerry Hogan can be contacted at any time.
Remarkable story of an autograph book from Frongoch
For some considerable time Gerry had been inquiring about a letter written by Liam O’Flaherty after the Rising and only last week following a search of her mother’s house Niamh Sweeney (nee O’Flaherty), Tim and David’s mother, discovered several letters and an autograph book belonging to her grandfather Liam, containing numerous autographs, poems, and artwork by Liam himself, and by fellow prisoners in Frangoch. It’s a mine of information. It includes quotations, poems and thoughts of over 100 men including, Frank Burke, Paddy Donnelly, Charlie Donnelly, Patrick Gallagher and John Kilgallon of Pearse’s Own ‘E’ company, as well as many prisoners who later became famous such as Oscar Traynor, Gerry Boland, Frank Shouldice and Michael Collins. It’s a historian’s dream.
Óicha an spéisiúl ar fad.

It was a most informative and entertaining night and quoting Diarmaid Ferriter who recently gave a lecture in the Club “it made the invisible visible”.