Michael O'Hanrahan

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Michael O'Hanrahan
Michael O'Hanrahan.JPG
Michael O'Hanrahan
Native name Micheál Ó hAnnrachain
Born (1877-03-17)17 March 1877
New Ross, Ireland
Died 4 May 1916(1916-05-04) (aged 39)
Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin, Ireland
Allegiance
Years of service 1913–1916
Rank Vice-commandant
Commands held 3rd battalion
Battles/wars Easter Rising

Michael O'Hanrahan (Irish: Micheál Ó hAnnrachain; 17 March 1877 – 4 May 1916) was an Irish rebel who was executed for his active role in the 1916 Easter Rising.

Background[edit]

Born in New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland, he was the son of Richard O'Hanrahan and Mary Williams. His father appears to have been involved in the 1867 Fenian rising.[1] The family moved to Carlow where Michael was educated at Carlow Christian Brothers’ School and Carlow College Academy. On leaving school he worked various jobs including a period alongside his father in the cork-cutting business.[1] In 1898 he joined the Gaelic League and in 1899 founded the League's first Carlow branch and became its secretary.[1] By 1903 he was in Dublin where he was working as a proof-reader for the Gaelic League printer Cló Cumann. He published journalism under the by-lines 'Art' and 'Irish Reader' in several nationalist newspapers, including Sinn Féin and the Irish Volunteer. He was the author of two novels A Swordsman of the Brigade (1914) and When the Norman Came (published posthumously in 1918).

Political involvement[edit]

In 1903 he became involved in Maud Gonne and Arthur Griffith's campaign against the visit of King Edward VII to Ireland.[1] The encounter with Griffith led O’Hanrahan to join the newly formed Sinn Féin. He also became a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. In November 1913 he joined the Irish Volunteers. O'Hanrahan was later employed as an administrator on the Volunteers headquarters staff.[1] He was made quartermaster general of the 2nd Battalion. He and the commandant of the 2nd Battalion Thomas MacDonagh became close friends.[1]

1916 Easter Rising[edit]

He was second in command of Dublin's 2nd battalion under Commandant Thomas MacDonagh. He fought at Jacob's Biscuit Factory, though the battalion saw little action other than intense sniping throughout Easter week, as the British Army largely kept clear of the impregnable factory dominating the road from Portobello Barracks on one side and Dublin Castle on the other. When in May the situation became desperate O'Hanrahan told his c/o MacDonagh they "were inviting destruction of the factory by incendiary shells, and also of the surrounding thickly populated area".[2] MacDonagh ordered a breakout amidst the chaos and confusion. O'Hanrahan led "with some difficulty" the garrison out of the factory through New Bride Street gate.[3]

O'Hanrahan[4] was executed by firing squad on 4 May 1916 at the disused prison Kilmainham Jail.[5] His brother, Henry O'Hanrahan, was sentenced to penal servitude for life for his role in the Easter Rising.[6]Prime Minister ordered that no women be executed; and that only in restricted circumstances was Gen. Maxwell to carry out such a punishment. Those who had signed the Proclamation of the Republic, those rebel commanders chasing police and soldiers, and convicted murderers. O'Hanrahan's only offence was to have been "employed at the office of the Headquarters...was one of the most active members...and had been arrested in uniform and armed." But O'Hanrahan was a mere garrison soldier only.[7]

Commemoration[edit]

Wexford railway station is named in commemoration of O'Hanrahan, as is the road bridge over the River Barrow at New Ross. O'Hanrahans GAA Club Carlow was founded in 1919 and is still, consistently, one of the top teams in the County.

Writings[edit]

  • A Swordsman of the Brigade (1914)
  • When the Norman Came (published posthumously in 1918).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f http://www.nli.ie/1916/pdf/9.3.pdf
  2. ^ Irish Bureau of Military History WS 995 (Eamon Price); Townshend, p.249.
  3. ^ Irish Bureau of Military Affairs WS 376 (Padraig O'Ceallaigh) tr.Patrick O'Kelly.
  4. ^ Others on that day were: Ned Daly, Willie Pearse, Joe Plunkett. Pearse, Clarke and MacDonagh had already been executed on 3rd; MacBride died on 5th.
  5. ^ Brian Barton, "From Behind a Closed Door. Secret Court Martial Records of the Easter Rising", (Belfast 2002).
  6. ^ 1916 Rebellion Handbook, p. 281.
  7. ^ Townshend, p.283.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Barton, Brian, "From Behind a Closed Door. Secret Court Martial Records of the Easter Rising", (Belfast 2002).
  • Martin, F.X, (ed.), THe Easter Rising, 1916, and University College, Dublin (Dublin 1966).
  • Maye, Brian, Arthur Griffith (Dublin 1997).
  • Townshend, Charles, Easter 1916: The Irish rebellion (London 2006).