‘On the base of the Pillar was a white poster. Gathered around were groups of men and women. Some looked at it with serious faces, others laughed and sniggered. I began to read it with a smile, but my smile ceased as I read, ‘Poblacht na h-Eireann, the Provisional government of the Irish Republic – to the people of Ireland.’ –Ernie O’Malley – O’Connell Street, Easter Monday
Ernie O’Malley (1897-1957) was an Irish Republican Army officer during the Irish War of Independence of 1919-1921 and a senior commander of the anti-treaty IRA during the Irish Civil War, 1922-1923. O’Malley wrote four books, On Another Man’s Wound, The Singing Flame, Raids and Rallies, Sean Connolly of Longford in addition to numerous poems, short stories, articles and reviews. A renaissance man, O’Malley was interested in art, archaeology, folklore, photography, literature and history, but also in the lives of those he fought with during the Irish Independence movement. In the 1950s he interviewed over 450 survivors of those he had fought along with, and these interviews were the basis for the episodes covered in his Raids and Rallies and Sean Connolly.
Ernie O’Malley, Anti-Treaty IRA commander in Dublin, is captured following a shoot out with Free State soldiers on Ailesbury road in Donnybrook. Critically wounded, he managed to survive prison for almost two years and 41 days on hunger strike before finally being released in July of 1924.