‘From the Archives’ documents are a pair of letters written by Mary Spring Rice to The O’Rahilly on 1 and 9 May 1914. They detail the early planning phases of what would ultimately become the Howth gun-running: the importation of a consignment of 1,500 rifles and 45,000 rounds of ammunition that had been purchased at Hamburg by Darrell Figgis and Erskine Childers. The latter captained the yacht which brought the majority of these weapons ashore on 26 July at Howth. The remaining 600 rifles came ashore at Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow on 1 August, the day Germany declared war on Russia.
Mary Spring Rice to Michael Joseph (The) O’Rahilly, 1 and 9 May 1914 O’Rahilly papers, UCD Archives, IE UCDA P102/335. Part 5 of the History Hub’s Centenary Special. Original letter, transcript and analysis by Dr Conor Mulvagh can be viewed here (in PDF). All images from The O’Rahilly papers, courtesy of UCD Archives
Éamonn Ceannt: Born in Galway in 1881, prior to the Rising Ceannt was an employee of the Dublin Corporation. He was a co-founder of the Irish Volunteers, partaking in the successful Howth gun-running operation of 1914. His involvement in republican activities was complemented by his interest in Irish culture, specifically Irish language and history, although he was also an accomplished uileann piper.As the commander of the Fourth Battalion of Irish Volunteers during the Rising, he took possession of the South Dublin Union, precursor to the modern-day St. James’s Hospital. He was executed on 8 May 1916.
The men and women of the 1916 Rising envisaged a new Ireland as a national democracy; an Ireland which, in the words of the Proclamation, ‘guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and [which] declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all of its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally.’ They believed that this could only be achieved through complete independence. (more…)