A plaque will be unveiled next Saturday evening at 7:30pm at Corkery’s Bar, commemorating the visit of Patrick Pearse, a hundred years to the day.
Patrick Pearse became the Irish Volunteers’ Director of Military Organisation in 1914 and by 1915 he was on the IRB’s Supreme Council, and its secret Military Council, the core group that began planning for a Rising. In that role he visited Millstreet on 22 August 1915 to meet local IRB members and Volunteers. The following are brief accounts of the visit.
“A Unit of the Irish Volunteers had been formed locally in 1914 after the disintegration of the National Volunteers. It was so painstakingly organised that it was considered by the Volunteer Executive in Dublin to be a suitable nucleus for organising the Duhallow and Muskerry districts. Accordingly they sent Pádraig Pearse to Millstreet to address a meeting of the public and a convention of Volunteers. Pearse’s visit on August 22nd was ostensibly for the local Feis and sports.
The advertised programme is pictured on the right. The organisers were: Tom Griffin and Seamus (Jimmy) Hickey. As the visit took place only a fortnight after his famous oration at the grave of O’Donovan Rossa it attracted a lot of attention, not least from the R.I.C.
However, Pearse slipped through them and made his way to the football field. There he addressed several thousand people who had assembled to enjoy a real Gaelic day and to listen to the gospel of Irish patriotism as preached by its greatest exponent of the time. His address reawakened in many the dormant spirit of Irish patriotism inherited from an unyielding and freedom loving ancestry. More than a few resolved that to give their lives if necessary that Ireland might be free.
Amongst those present were Jeremiah O’Reardon and Jim Buckley, who had been active with the Fenians in 1867, and many veterans of the Land War of the 1880s. Other were mere boys who had learned well the history of their native land.
Following a conference with Pearse, these men and others set to work to expand the organisation of the Volunteers. When the R.I.C. realised that Pearse had evaded them their chagrin was of a high order. However, they had the ‘privilege’ of standing guard outside the Railway Hotel whilst Pearse had an evening meal inside. It is a significant fact that all those known to be associated with his visit were either interned or had to go on the run the following year.”
(“Millstreet’s Green and Gold” by Jim Cronin, 1984)
A small group of Volunteers came down from Cork city to accompany him back to Cork where he was due to speak the following night. Among them were Liam Ruiséal (of the bookshop) who has left a brief account:
“We were accompanied by two Cork Volunteer pipers. We went by train to Macroom and then by waggonette to Millstreet. On the return journey, as we reached a rise of ground near Carriganimma, all got down except Pearse and myself. We spoke in Irish only, and I remember he was under the impression that he had met me before. The following night, Monday, he addressed a big gathering in the Hall in Sheares Street. There was great fire in his speech, and he was tremendously inspiring.”
(“The position in Cork” by Liam Ruiséal, Capuchin Annual 1970).
Another Volunteer who was part of the group was Liam de Róiste who has left an account in his diary:
“23/8/15, Monday, 6.15.pm. Had a glorious day yesterday. Went with Vice-Commandant Seán O’Sullivan, Pipers Band and some Óglaig to Sráid a Mhuilinn Feis via Macroom to accompany P. H. Pearse back to Cork. He is to speak to a public meeting from the Hall, Sheares St. tonight.”
(“Liam de Róiste diary.” ref. U271/A/18, Cork Archives Institute)
August 23rd. A glorious day yesterday (Sunday). Went with
vice-Commandant Seán O’Sullivan, a pipers’ band and some of
our Óglaigh to a Feis at Millstreet, via Macroom, to accompany
P.H. Pearse back to Cork. He is to speak at a public meeting
from the Hall, Sheares St., tonight. He spoke at the Feis
and spoke well. He was not expecting to speak at a public
meeting in Cork, only to our Óglaigh. He has been warned to
be very careful (as he is being closely shadowed by the police).
This, I presume, is consequent upon his oration at Rossa’s
funeral. Some of us had a chat in Millstreet with a group
there to urge them to form a Volunteer Corps. On return journey
to Macroom with Pearse, we stopped at Carriganima and also had a talk with some young men of the locality.
(My conversation with Pearse was chiefly in Irish. I had
met him previously at meetings of the Coiste Gnotha of the
Gaelic League when he was editor of the “Claidheamh Soluis”.)
from: ROINN COSANTA. BUREAU OF MILITARY HISTORY, 1913-21. STATEMENT BY WITNESS. DOCUMENT NO. W.S. 1698. Witness: Liam de Róiste (download pdf – page 22)
A plaque will be unveiled next Saturday evening at 7:30pm at the Corkery’s Bar to commemorate the visit of Patrick Pearse, a hundred years to the day
New plaque planned to commemorate Pearse visit … Irish Independent, 9th May 2015
Jerry Lehane Introduces the Historic 1915 Pádraig Pearse Poster … millstreet.ie, 8th August 2015