The Signatories The Executed

The Signatories,

The signatories were ordinary men some of them obscure to the public, none were elected representatives’, a shop keeper, an activist, a play writer, a teacher, a civil servant, a union leader, and a poet. When they signed the Proclamation they must have been certain of signing their own death warrant.

History has recorded the biographies of the signatories and the leaders of the rebellion.


Thomas Clark

Was born on the 11th of March 1857 on the Isle of White the son of a Leitrim – born soldier. At the age of 21 he immigrated to the USA and joined Clan Na Gael an organisation grown out of the Fenian movement and the American wing of the Irish Republican Brotherhood IRB. In 1883 aged 26 he returned to England on a bombing campaign, he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. After his release he returned to Dublin, where he opened a tobacco and newspaper shop at 75 Great Britain St. He set about reorganising the IRB and his shop became a hub of republican activity. Clark was the driving force behind the republican movement and in recognition was honoured as the first signatory of the Proclamation. Clark fought in the GPO  and was condemned by courtmartial and executed at Kilmainham Jail May 3, 1916. Aged 59


Sean MacDiarmada

Was born February 28, 1884 in Kiltyclother, Co. Leitrim, in 1902 he moved to Belfast where he met Bulmer Hobson and became an organiser for the IRB Dungannon clubs. MacDiarmada was made the IRB’s national organiser in 1908. He later became treasurer of the IRB’s Supreme Council and a close friend of Tom Clark. In 1910 he became a full time organiser for Arthur Griffith’s Sinn Fein travelling throughout the country setting up party branches and organising the IRB. He was struck with Polio in 1912, but this did not limit his activities. Along with Clarke, MacDiarmada was a traditional republican – hard headed, practical, ruthless, and committed to the use of force to gain Irish independence. He was appointed to the Military council of the IRB to plan the rising in 1915 and fought in the GPO. He was court-martialed and executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Jail May 12, 1916. Aged 32


Thomas MacDonagh

Was born February 1, 1878 in Cloughjordan, Co.Tipperary. He followed his parents’ profession as a teacher in Pearse’s  St Enda’s College and after securing his M.A. at the National University was appointed a tutor there. MacDonagh was a poet and a writer and with Joseph Plunkett he edited The Irish Review. He had several volumes of Poetry published and his play “When The Dawn Is Come” was produced in the Abbey Theatre. When the Irish Volunteers were formed in 1913 by his University colleague Eoin MacNeill, he joined and became director of training the following year. He Joined the IRB in 1915 and was recognised for his organisational skills of the Irish Volunteers and was sworn onto the Military council by Mac Diarmada just a few weeks before the Easter Rising. He was in Command of the Jacob’s Factory garrison during the rising, court-martialed and executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Jail May 3, 1916. Aged 38.


Patrick Pearse

Was born November 10, 1879 in Great Brunswick St Dublin. He received a private education at the Christian Brothers on Westland Row and went on to study arts and Law at the Royal University (UCD). He was subsequently called to the bar. He had a deep love of the Irish language and Culture and joined the Gaelic League in 1895. He Founded St Enda’s Irish in Rathfarnham where pupils were taught through Irish with a strong National influence. He was a writer and poet in both English and Irish and promoted the idea of a Blood sacrifice to atone the Nations freedom. Pears joined the IRB in 1913, and in May 1915 he was appointed to a Military Council of the IRB which was set up to plan for the rebellion. Pearse was the spokesman for the rebels and the Military Commander-in-Chief during the Easter 1916 rising. Pearse read the Proclamation in front of the GPO which announce the start Rebellion and fought in the GPO during Easter week. Pearse surrendered to General Lowe, outside 16 Moore St. the final standing position of the Rebels, he was court-martialed and executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Jail May 3, 1916. Aged 37


Eamonn Ceannt

Was born September 22, 1881 in Glenamaddy Co. Galway and moved to Dublin aged 10 where he was educated at North Richmond CBS.  After studying at the Royal University (UCD) he joined Dublin Corporation where he was promoted to the position of Treasurer. He joined the Gaelic League in 1900 and was an accomplished Uileann pipes player. In 1908 he had the honour to play for Pope Pius X in Rome. Ceannt joined Sinn Fein the same year and soon afterwards was inducted into the IRB. He was a founder member of the Volunteers in 1913 and in 1914 was involve in the Howth gun running, landing arms for the Volunteers. In May 1915 he was appointed to a Military Council of the IRB which was set up to plan for the rebellion. Ceannt led the 4th Battalion during Easter week taking over the South Dublin Union (James St Hospital), he was court-martialed and executed by firing squad at Kilmainham Jail May 8, 1916. Aged 42


James Connolly

Was born June 5, 1868 in The Cowgate slums of Edinburgh to Irish parents. He started work at the age of 10, at 14 he joined the British Army and was stationed in Ireland, 7 years later he returned to Scotland and became involved in trade union circles. Connolly returned to Dublin in May 1896 as organiser of the Dublin Socialist Society. By May of 1896 Connolly had organised the Irish Socialist Republican Party; and by 1898, Connolly had established the first Irish Socialist paper The Workers’ Republic. By 1903 Connolly became disillusioned and emigrated to the U.S., not to return to Ireland until July 1910. He became the Belfast organiser for the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. Connolly led the 1913 Dublin Lock out while Jim Larkin was in prison, and as a result founded the Irish Citizen Army (ICA), at Liberty Hall, the headquarters of the ITGWU. The ICA, was established to defend the rights of the working people. In October 1914, Connolly returned permanently to Dublin and revived the newspaper The Workers’ Republic. In January 1916, the IRB decided to take James Connolly into their confidence and he took part in the preparation for the rising. He was appointed as Military Commander of the Republican HQ at the GPO and was severely wounded. He was court-martialed and executed by firing squad while being tied to a chair as he could not stand due to his wounds at Kilmainham Jail May 12, 1916. Aged 48


Joseph Plunkett 

Was born May, 1887 in Dublin the son of a Papal Count. He was educated at Belvedere College and at the Royal University (UCD). He suffered from TB and travelled greatly spending time in Italy Egypt, and Algeria. He returned to Dublin in 1911 and reunited with his old friend Thomas MacDonagh and launched the Irish Review. Plunkett like MacDonagh and Pearse was a Poet and writer. He joined the Volunteers in 1913 and in 1914 was involved in the Howth gun running landing arms for the Volunteers. In 1915 he was inducted into the IRB and travelled to Berlin with Roger Casement to secure support for the rising, he also traveled to the USA to gain support from Clann Na Gael. In May 1915 he was appointed to a Military Council of the IRB which was set up to plan for the rebellion. Early in 1916 he fell seriously ill and despite this he took his place in the GPO during Easter week. He was court-martialed and executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Jail  May 4, 1916, Aged 29. At Midnight the prior night he married Miss Grace Gifford a sister of Thomas MacDonagh’s wife.


Tom Clarke Shot in Dublin May 3rd

PH Pearse Shot in Dublin May 3rd

Thomas MacDonagh Shot in Dublin May 3rd

Joseph Plunkett Shot in Dublin May 4th

Edward Daly Shot in Dublin May 4th

William Pearse Shot in Dublin May 4th

Michael O’Hanrahan Shot in Dublin May 4th

John MacBride Shot in Dublin May 5th

Eammon Ceannt Shot in Dublin May 8th

Michael Mallin Shot in Dublin May 8th

Con Colbert Shot in Dublin May 8th

Sean Heuston Shot in Dublin May 8th

Thomas Kent Shot in Cork May 9th

Sean MacDiarmada Shot in Dublin May 12th

James Connolly Shot in Dublin May 12th

Roger Casement hanged in Pentonville August 3th




Edward Daly

Was born at 26 Frederick Street, Limerick on February 25, 1891  the younger brother of Kathleen Clarke, wife of Tom Clarke and nephew of John Daly, the prominent republican leader who had taken part in the Irish Rebellion of 1867. “Ned” Daly was educated by the Presentation Sisters’ at Sexton Street, the Christian Brothers at Roxboro Road and at Leamy’s commercial college. He spent a short time as an apprentice baker in Glasgow before returning to Limerick to work in Spaight’s timber yard. He later moved to Dublin where he eventually took up a position with a wholesale chemists. He was commandant of Dublin’s 1st battalion, stationed in the Four Courts and areas to the west and north of Dublin Centre, saw the most intense fighting of the rising. He was court-martialled and executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Jail  4 May 1916, at the age of 25.


William Pearse

Was born in Great Brunswick St Dublin on the November 15, 1881 the younger brother of Padraig, he was educated at the Christian Brothers School and studied at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin as well as in Paris. While attending the Kensington School of Art he gained notice for several of his artworks. Some of his sculptures are to be found in Limerick Cathedral, and several Dublin churches. He was trained to take over his father’s stonemason business, but gave it up to help Padraig run St Enda’s School which was founded in 1908. He was involved in acting and the founder of the short lived Leinster Stage Society and played at the Abbey and the Irish Theatre, Hardwicke St. He followed his brother into the Irish Volunteers and the Republican movement. William spent Easter week in the GPO constantly at his brother’s side whom he idolized. He was court-martialed and executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Jail  4 May 1916, although only a minor player in the organisation of the Rebellion, his surname condemned him.


Michael O’Hanrahan

Was born in New Ross on March 17, 1877 His father appears to have been involved in the 1867 Fenian rising. The family moved to Carlow where Michael was educated at Carlow Christian Brothers’ School and Carlow College Academy. On leaving school he worked various jobs including a period alongside his father in the cork-cutting business. In 1898 he joined the Gaelic League and in 1899 founded the League’s first Carlow branch and became its secretary. He was the author of two novels A Swordsman of the Brigade (1914) and When the Norman Came (published posthumously in 1918). In 1903 he moved to Dublin and became friends with Arthur Griffith and he joined the newly-formed Sinn Féin. He also became a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. In November 1913 he joined the Irish Volunteers. O’Hanrahan was later employed as an administrator on the Volunteers headquarters staff. He was made quartermaster general and commandant of the 2nd Battalion under Thomas MacDonagh at Jacob’s Biscuit Factory. He was court-martialed and executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Jail  4 May 1916.

Major John MacBride

Was born was at The Quay, Westport, on May 7, 1865 .He was educated   at the Christian Brothers’ School, Westport and at St. Malachy’s College, Belfast. He had studied medicine, but gave it up and began working with a chemist firm in Dublin. He joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and was associated with Michael Cusack in the early days of the Gaelic Athletic Association. In 1896 he went to the United States on behalf of the IRB. On his return he emigrated to South Africa becoming a citizen of the Transvaaland and took part in the Second Boer War, where he raised the Irish Transvaal Brigade and was a commissioned officer with the rank of Major. He retired from Krugers army and moved to Paris where he met and married Maud Gonne. After the British amnesty for the Boars he returned to Dublin separated from his wife. MacBride, unlike the other Rising leaders, was not a member of the Irish Volunteers, and happened to find himself in the midst of the Rising while on his way to his brother’s wedding, and offered his services to Thomas MacDonagh and was appointed second-in-command at the Jacob’s factory. He was court-martialed and executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Jail 5 May 1916


Michael Mallin

Was born in Dublin on 1 December 1874 the son of a carpenter. As a young teenager he joined the British army as a drummer boy and served in India where he contracted Malaria.  On his return to Dublin he worked as a Silk weaver and being concerned with conditions joined the Silk Weavers Union and in 1909 Michael Mallin became Secretary of the union. His shop went out of business in 1913. Michael Mallin found a new job in the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) as band instructor and drew James Connelly’s attention when these bands were included in the Irish Citizens Army (ICA) and he became drill instructor. At the time of the Easter Rising Michael Mallin was the second in command of the Irish Citizens Army (ICA). He commanded the garrison at St. Stephen’s Green and the College of Surgeons, with Constance Markiewicz as his second in command. He was court-martialed and executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Jail 8 May 1916.


Con Colbert

Was born on 19 October 1888in Monaleena, Castlemahon Co. Limerick. His family were republican and his uncle had taken part in the Fenian Rising of 1867. Con was educated at the Christian Brothers School, North Richmond Street, Dublin. He worked as a clerk in a city bakery but his time outside work was totally dedicated to the Irish republican cause. When Constance Markievicz founded Fianna Éireann in Dublin in August 1909 Con Colbert was among the first to join. A member of the IRB, He was a founder member of the Irish Volunteers in November 1913 and was on the National Executive the following year. He instructed the boys of St Enda’s in drill but refused to accept payment. Con was posted as Pearse’s bodyguard in the days immediately before Easter 1916. His rank was captain, F Company, Fourth Battalion of the Dublin Brigade, based in Inchicore.
On Easter Monday 1916, with fewer than 20 men, Colbert occupied Watkin’s Brewery, and later Jameson’s Distillery until Sunday when they were ordered to surrender. Colbert was visibly distraught at having to lay down his arms. He was court-martialed and executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Jail 8 May 1916.


Sean Heuston

Was born  on 21 February 1891, in 24 lower Gloucester Street, Dublin, the son of a clerk. Like Con Colbert, Sean Heuston was educated at the Christian Brothers’ School, North Richmond Street. After becoming 16 years’ old in 1907, Sean Heuston joined the Great Southern & Western Railway Company as a clerk. After six years with the company, Heuston transferred to the Traffic Manager’s Office in Dublin’s Kingsbridge (now Heuston) Rail Station. He continued his work with Fianna Éireann where he met Con Colbert and Liam Mellows, both prominent in the organisation. He was promoted vice-commandant of the Dublin Brigade and also became director of training. Heuston joined the Irish Volunteers soon after their formation in November 1913, eventually becoming a captain in Ned Daly’s 1st Battalion. On Easter Monday he was assigned command at the Mendicity Institution, a building on the south side of the river Liffey, to the west of the Four Courts where Daly and the 1st Battalion were based. He was court-martialed and executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Jail  8  May 1916. Aged 25


Thomas Kent

Was born in 1865 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 home. The rising nevertheless went forward in Dublin, and the RIC was sent to arrest well-known sympathizers throughout the country including, but not limited to, known members of the IRB, 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 theKents were forced to surrender, although Richard made a last minute dash for freedom and was fatally wounded. Thomas and William were tried by court martial on the charge of murdering Head Constable Rowe. William was acquitted, but Thomas was sentenced to death and executed by firing squad in Cork Detention Barracks 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.


Roger Casement

Was born on September 1, 1864. He began his career in the British Colonial services, and was knighted in 1911 for his activities which included exposure of colonial brutalities and exploitation. Joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913, during World War I he went to Germany hoping for support for an independent Ireland and attempted to raise an Irish Brigade to fight against England. Arranged for German arms to be shipped in 1916 to support the Easter Rising, but these were captured by the British. He himself had hoped to stop the rising, but was captured, tried and condemned for treason. An appeal for a reprieve was damaged by the ‘leaking’ of his diaries of his homosexual activities. In 1916 he was hanged in Pentonville Prison. His remains were returned to Ireland in 1965 when they were given a state funeral at Glasnevin



Born Michael Joseph O’Rahilly in Ballylongford, County Kerry on the 22 April 1875, he was a republican and a language enthusiast, a member of An Coiste Gnotha, the Gaelic League’s governing body. He was a founding member of the Irish Volunteers and its Director of Arms. He personally directed the first major arming of the Volunteers, the landing of Mausers at Howth on 26 July 1914. The O’Rahilly was not a member of (IRB), and hence was not party to the plans for the rising at Easter. On learning that a rising was imminent on Good Friday he spent the entire night driving throughout the country, informing Volunteers leaders that they were not to mobilize their forces on Sunday, thus largely preventing any rising outside of Dublin itself. Despite all his efforts to prevent any such action he set out to Liberty Hall to join Pearse, James Connolly, and the other leaders to take part. On arrival he gave one of the most quoted lines of the rising, “Well, I’ve helped to wind up the clock — I might as well hear it strike!” his other famous, if less quoted line was, “It is madness, but it is glorious madness.” He fought with the GPO garrison during Easter Week. On Friday 28 April, with the GPO on fire, The O’Rahilly volunteered to lead a small party of men out of the GPO He was hit and mortally wounded by a British machine-gun and slumped into a doorway on Moore Street, where he died some time later.


A further 65 Volunteers were sentenced to Death by Court-martial but these sentences were commuted to between 3 Years and Life.


In total, the Rising cost 450 persons killed, 2,614 injured, and 9 missing, almost all in Dublin. The only significant action elsewhere was at Ashbourne, 10 miles north of Dublin. Military casualties were 116 dead, 368 wounded and 9 missing, and the Irish and Dublin police forces had 16 killed and 29 wounded. A total of 254 civilians died; the high figures were largely because much of the fighting had occurred in or near densely populated areas. It is widely accepted that 64 rebels lost their lives.