President John F Kennedy at Easter Rising Memorial Park in Ireland
President John F Kennedy
Memorial Park in Stoneybatter Dublin Ireland
President John F Kennedy visited Arbour Hill, Dublin 7 Ireland in June 1963. It contains fourteen men who were executed by the British Army after the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. The Irish soldiers had surrendered to the British forces but sixteen men were tried by court martial and executed.
Fourteen of them were shot and their bodies dumped in a large pit in Arbour Hill Prison in Dublin. Their battle of the 1916 Easter Rising was lost. The Irish War of Independence continued and Ireland finally won its freedom. Below is a summary of the seven articles I have written so far within this Irish history article series.
President Kennedy Visits Irish Graves (1963)
1. President John F Kennedy
When the President of the United States of America was asked what was the highlight of his trip to Ireland he said. “The highlight? that was the memorial service at Arbour Hill!” The graves of fourteen men who were executed after the Easter Rising in 1916 are at Arbour Hill Memorial Park. This National Monument was built in 1955 and the fourteen Irish soldiers who are buried here are honoured every year by the Irish people
Arbour Hill Memorial Park
President John F Kennedy walked around the grave site and read the names of each man executed and buried there. Then the Irish Army band played Chopin's Funeral March. A roll of drums was played when he laid a wreath.
The Irish flag the Tri colour was then raised to full mast and the Last Post was played. To end the ceremony the Irish National Anthem was played. President John F Kennedy did not forget his experience at Arbour Hill Memorial Park and when the tragic death of the President occurred only a few months later in November of that year the Irish Cadets were to be part of his funeral service in America.
You can read a detailed account of the visit and see photos of The President at Arbour Hill.I have also included a quick summary of the fourteen men who are buried there. Click below to read the article
President John F. Kennedy at Arbour Hill
2. Brothers Patrick Pearse and William Pearse
Patrick Pearse and William Pearse were two brothers who took part in the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. They were both executed by the British Army after the surrender and their bodies dumped at Arbour Hill Prison yard.
1916 Easter Rising
At noon on Easter Monday, 24th April 1916, Patrick Pearse left Liberty Hall and marched up O’Connell Street to the General Post Office. This would be the headquarters of the Rising. Patrick Pearse was the leader of the Irish Volunteers and James Connolly was the leader of the Irish Citizen Army. William Pearse the younger brother of Patrick marched alongside him.
The Proclamation of the Irish Republic
Patrick Pearse read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic outside the steps of the GPO and began with, ' Irishmen and Irishwomen, in the name of God and of dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom…… We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland…'
Barrister and Teacher
He had opened a very successful School for boys and girls who were taught the dying Irish Language. As the years went by the lessons were all taught in Irish.
His work being bought and displayed all over the world. He also taught Art classes at his brother’s school. When the Easter Rising was coming closer and Patrick was busier his younger brother Willie took over the running of the school.
They both left Liberty Hall that Easter Monday lunch time knowing that they would probably be killed in battle. Neither of them could have predicted that they would be executed within a day of each other. They lie together in the mass grave at Arbour Hill in Dublin. This is their story. Click below to read it.
3. James Connolly
James Connolly had been badly wounded in the fighting and was taken by ambulance and brought out on a stretcher into Kilmainham Jail yard, where he was strapped to a chair. He was shot dead by firing squad.
When the Rising failed and the Irish soldiers surrendered James Connolly was executed by firing squad and his body dumped in a mass grave at Arbour Hill Prison yard.
His fifteen year old son Rory, also a member of the Irish Citizen Army was with him at the headquarters at the GPO. James Connolly’s older daughters Nora and Ita, both of the Irish Citizen Army were in Belfast when the Rising started with orders to mobilise the troops there. They travelled back to Dublin during the Rising but it only lasted seven days and did not get involved with the fighting there. Therefore they were not arrested in Dublin.
Rory Connolly was in Kilmainham jail when his father was executed so could not see him before he died. James Connolly received a visit a few hours before his execution from his wife Lily and daughter Nora.
James Connolly wanted Ireland to be free. He was aware the Easter Rising would probably fail because the Irish soldiers were always going to be outnumbered by the British troops. But he had to at least try to free Ireland. This is his story.
4. Edward Daly
Edward Daly was executed for his part in the 1916 Easter Rising. He was shot by firing squad and his body was thrown into a mass grave with other executed leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Edward Daly was the youngest of nine children, He had eight sisters and was born six months after the death of his father. One of his sisters was Kathleen Daly who married Tom Clarke. Edward had moved to Dublin form Limerick and was living with Tom and Kathleen Clarke.
Four Courts Garrison
He was the Commander of the Four Courts Garrison and had his headquarters at the Father Mathew Hall in Church Street Dublin 7. This garrison saw some of the heaviest fighting but the Irish soldiers were holding the British troops at bay. When the Surrender Order came through from Patrick Pearse and James Connolly, Edward Daly reluctantly obeyed the order and surrendered. This is his story.
4. Edward Daly
Rare glimpses of Ireland's Easter Uprising
5. Joseph Plunkett
He was executed by firing squad and his body dumped in a mass grave at Arbour Hill Prison yard along with thirteen other Irish men who fought in the 1916 Easter Rising. Joseph Plunkett fought in the GPO Headquarters
Joseph was also there with his two younger brothers George and John. All three Plunkett brothers were given the death sentence after the surrender. George and John had their sentences reduced to life in prison. Their father George was also fighting in the Rising. Both he and their mother were arrested and a few weeks after the Rising the parents of Joseph were deported to England.
Joseph Plunkett married Grace Gifford a few hours before his death in Kilmainham jail. They had been engaged since the previous December and were due to be married on Easter Sunday. This had to be cancelled because of the Rising. This is their story.
6. Sean MacDermott
Sean MacDermott was one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising executed in Kilmainham Jail Dublin Ireland. He is one of the Irish soldiers buried in the mass grave in Arbour Hill Memorial Park in Stoneybatter Dublin 7 Ireland
Sean MacDermott had left Liberty Hall a few minutes before noon on Easter Monday 24 April 1916 and walked up to the General Post Office with Tom Clarke. Sean had contracted Polio some years earlier and had to walk with the aid of a stick.
He waited for the Irish soldiers to march to the GPO building that would mark the start of 1916 Irish Rising. Sean MacDermott was a writer of books and plays and also the founder and editor of the newspaper The Irish Freedom. He had spent the few years previously going around Ireland preparing the Irish people for the eventual fight against British rule. This is his story.
7. Tom Clarke
When the Rising failed and the Irish soldiers surrendered Tom Clarke was executed by firing squad and his body dumped in a mass grave at Arbour Hill Prison yard in Stoneybatter Dublin 7 Ireland. Tom Clarke was fifty nine years old when he took his place at the GPO to fight in the Easter Rising.
He declared that, ‘I have lived to see the greatest hour in Irish history.’ He had spent fifteen years in an English prison prior to this and had been starved and tortured for all that time. His wife Kathleen was one of the few people apart from the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising who were aware of when it would begin. She was highly regarded and trusted by them all.
Kathleen was a lot younger than Tom when they married after he was released from prison in England. She too had been arrested after the surrender of the Irish soldiers and was also in Kilmainham Jail when she was brought from her cell to see Tom.
They had three children and she was pregnant with their fourth child. She did not tell her husband Tom this fact when she saw him for the last time before he was shot dead. This is the story of Tom Clarke and his wife Kathleen.
Arbour Hill Memorial Park
This site contains the grave of fourteen men who were executed by the British Army after the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. The men, women and children who fought in the 1916 Easter Rising have never been forgotten
Neither have the fourteen Irish soldiers who were executed in May 1916. Every year on the nearest Sunday to 29 April there is a memorial service at Arbour Hill Cemetery. The Arbour Hill Memorial Park in Stoneybatter Dublin 7 Ireland was visited by the President of the Untied States in 1963, John F Kennedy. It left a lasting impression on him.
The fourteen men who are buried at the Arbour Hill Memorial Park are
- Patrick Pearse, William Pearse, James Connolly,
- Joseph Plunkett, Sean MacDermott, Edward Daly,
- Tom Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh, Michael O'Hanrahan,
- John McBride, Eamonn Ceannt, Michael Mallin,
- Con Colbert and Sean Heuston
Their battle was lost but the Irish War of Independence continued and freedom for Ireland was finally won.