Michael Mallin

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Michael Thomas Christopher Mallin
Born (1874-12-01)1 December 1874
Ward's Hill, The Liberties, Dublin, Ireland[1]
Died 8 May 1916(1916-05-08) (aged 41)
Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin, Ireland
Allegiance Irish Citizen Army
Years of service 1913–1916
Rank Commandant
Second in Command of Irish Citizen Army
Commands held St Stephen's Green Garrison, Easter Week, 1916
Battles/wars Easter Rising, Tirah Campaign

Michael Thomas Christopher Mallin[1] (Irish: Micheál Ó Mealláin; 1 December 1874 – 8 May 1916) was an Irish rebel and socialist who took an active role in the 1916 Easter Rising. He was a silk weaver and co-founder with Francis Sheehy-Skeffington of the Irish Socialist Party, was second in command of the Irish Citizen Army under James Connolly in the Easter Rising of 1916 and commanded the garrison at St. Stephen's Green in Dublin, with Kit Poole as his second in command.[2]

Background[edit]

Mallin was born in Dublin, the eldest of nine children of John Mallin, a carpenter and his wife Sarah née Dowling. The family lived in a tenement in the Liberties neighbourhood. He received his early education at the National School at Denmark Street. When he was 15 he visited his uncle James Dowling, who was a member of the British Army as a pay sergeant, and was persuaded to enlist in the army as a drummer.[3] His mother Sarah Dowling witnessed the murder of the Manchester Martyrs.[4] According to Mallin's brother Tom Mallin's father was a "strong nationalist and he and Michael had many a political argument.[5]

Army career[edit]

Mallin enrolled as a member of the 21st Royal Scots Fusiliers on 21 October 1889. During the early years of his service he was stationed in Great Britain and Ireland. In 1896 his regiment was sent to India where he served out the remainder of his almost fourteen-year career and took part in the Tirah Campaign. It was during Mallin's time in India that he became radicalised. In 1897, when asked to donate to the memorial fund for Queen Victoria's jubilee year he refused because 'he could not subscribe as the English monarch had taken an oath to uphold the Protestant faith'.[3] Mallin's brother, Thomas suggested that incidents like the above kept him from being promoted any higher than a drummer. He was awarded the India Medal of 1895 with the Punjab Frontier and Tirah clasps 1897-98.[citation needed]

Post army life[edit]

On Mallin's return to Ireland he became a silk weaver's apprentice under his Uncle James, who had retired from the British Army. He progressed to become a leading official in the silk weavers' union. During the 1913 Lockout Mallin lead a strike of silk workers at the Hanbury Lane factory. The strike lasted for thirteen weeks with Mallin an effective negotiator on behalf of the strikers. Mallin was appointed second in command and chief training officer of the Irish Citizen Army(ICA), which was formed to protect workers from the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) and from employer-funded gangs of strike-breakers. Under the tutelage of Mallin and James Connolly, the ICA became an effective military force.

In October 1914 he was appointed chief of staff of the ICA.[6]

Easter Rising[edit]

When Connolly was inducted into the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in January 1916 Mallin began preparing ICA members for the imminent uprising. In the week before the rising he communicated orders to the ICA members throughout the city. On Easter Monday Mallin departed from Liberty Hall at 11:30am to take up his post at St Stephen's Green with his small force of ICA men and women. Upon arriving at the park they evacuated it, dug trenches, erected kitchen and first aid stations, and constructed barricades in the surrounding streets. Constance Markievicz arrived and was originally thought to have been appointed Mallin's second in command, but later evidence pointed to this role belonging to Captain Christopher Poole with Markievicz being third in command.[7]

Mallin planned to occupy the Shelbourne Hotel, located on the north-east side of the park, but insufficient troops prevented him from doing so. This would prove disastrous for the rebels as British troops were able to occupy the upper floors of the hotel on Monday night. Early Tuesday morning the troops in the Shelbourne began firing down on the encamped rebels. Under intense machine gun fire Mallin ordered his troops to retreat to the Royal College of Surgeons on the west side of the park. The garrison remained in the barricaded building for the remainder of the week. By Thursday the garrison was completely cut-off from the rebel headquarters at the General Post Office (GPO) and running low on food and bullets.

Mallin surrendered on Sunday, 30 April 1916 after the surrender order from the GPO was delivered by Elizabeth O'Farrell.[3] The garrison was taken first to Dublin Castle then to Richmond Barracks, where Mallin was separated for court-martial. At his court-martial he downplayed his involvement. In his statement, Mallin said, "I had no commission whatever in the Citizen Army. I was never taken into the confidence of James Connolly. I was under the impression that we were going out for manoeuvres on Sunday." He added, "Shortly after my arrival at St Stephen's Green the firing started and Countess Markievicz ordered me to take command of the men as I had been so long associated with them. I felt I could not leave them and from that time I joined the rebellion." Mallin was found guilty and transported to Kilmainham Gaol for his execution.

Execution and commemoration[edit]

Mallin was executed by firing squad on 8 May 1916. The presiding officer at his court martial was Colonel EWSK Maconchy.[8] The night before his execution he was visited in his cell by his mother, three of his siblings, his pregnant wife and their four children.[3] In his last letter to his wife, who was pregnant with their fifth child, Mallin stated that "I find no fault with the soldiers or the police" and asked her "to pray for all the souls who fell in this fight, Irish and English."[9] He commented "so must Irishmen pay for trying to make Ireland a free nation." He wrote to his children 'Una my little one be a Nun Joseph my little man be a Priest if you can James & John to you the care of your mother make yourselves good strong men for her sake and remember Ireland'[9] Both Una and Joseph followed his wishes.[10]

Dún Laoghaire Mallin DART station is named after Michael Mallin.[11]

Family[edit]

Mallin married Agnes Hickey, whom he had met during his early home service in the Army, in 1903. They had three sons and two daughters, the youngest born after Mallin's execution. His youngest son, Fr. Joseph Mallin SJ, born in September 1913, a Jesuit priest and teacher in Hong Kong, celebrated his 102nd birthday in 2015. He is the last surviving child of those executed in the Rising.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 16 Lives: Michael Mallin by Brian Hughes pg 16
  2. ^ O’Brien, Paul. "A WALK IN THE PARK 1916". Irish Volunteers.org. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d Ryan, Anne-Marie (2014). 16 Dead Men. Mercier History. ISBN 978-1781171349. 
  4. ^ 16 Lives: Michael Mallin. p. 17. 
  5. ^ 16 Lives: Michael Mallin. p. 19. 
  6. ^ 16 Lives: Michael Mallin. p. 86. 
  7. ^ Millar, Scott (December 2013). "Not for fame or for name". Liberty. 12 (10): 23. 
  8. ^ "Easter 1916 Court Martials". Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 61. 
  9. ^ a b Mac Lochlainn, Piaras F. (1990). Last Words:Letters and Statements of the Leaders Executed After the Rising at Easter 1916. Office of Public Works. 
  10. ^ McHugh, Fionnuala (13 September 2013). "The 'oldest Irish priest' turns 100 in Hong Kong". Irish Times. 
  11. ^ "In honour of Micheal Malin". dlharbour. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  12. ^ "Last surviving child of executed 1916 leader turns 102". TheJournal.ie. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  • Hughes, Brian, Michael Mallin, Dublin: O'Brien Press, 2012.

External links[edit]