- For other persons named Thomas Kent, see Thomas Kent (disambiguation)
|Born||29 August 1865
Castlelyons, County Cork, Ireland
|Died||9 May 1916
Collins Barracks, Cork, Ireland
|Years of service||1913–1916|
Thomas Kent (Irish: Tomás Ceannt; 29 August 1865 – 9 May 1916) was an Irish nationalist who was court-martialled and executed following a gunfight with the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) on 2 May 1916, in the immediate aftermath of the Easter Rising.
The Easter Rising
Kent was part of a prominent nationalist family who lived at Bawnard House, Castlelyons, County Cork. They were prepared to take part in the Easter Rising, but when the mobilization order was countermanded, they stayed at home. The rising nevertheless went ahead in Dublin, and the RIC was sent to arrest well-known sympathizers throughout the country including, but not limited to, known members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Sinn Féin, and the Irish Volunteers. When the Kent residence was raided they were met with resistance from Thomas and his brothers Richard, David and William. A gunfight lasted for four hours, in which an RIC officer, Head Constable William Rowe, was killed and David Kent was seriously wounded. Eventually the Kents were forced to surrender, although Richard made a last minute dash for freedom and was fatally wounded.
Trial and execution
Thomas and William were tried by court martial on the charge of armed rebellion. William was acquitted, but Thomas was sentenced to death and executed by firing squad in Cork on 9 May 1916. David Kent was brought to Dublin where he was charged with the same offence, found guilty and sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted and he was sentenced to five years penal servitude. Apart from the singular case of Roger Casement, Thomas Kent was the only person outside of Dublin to be executed for his role in the events of Easter Week. He is buried in the grounds of Cork Prison, formerly the Military Detention Barracks at the rear Collins Barracks, Cork (formerly Victoria Barracks). The former army married quarters to the rear of the Barracks were named in honour of Thomas Kent.