We’ve all heard of Padraig Pearse, James Connolly, Eamon De Valera, Constance “Biz” Markievicz, and Michael Collins. Some of us have even heard of Eamon “I” Ceannt “Even” thanks to @aoiph‘s excellent twitter joke. But the 1916 Rising was about more than just revolutionary celebs. What about the lesser-known heroes of 1916? Sure, they might never get a street named after them but they were there and they played their part. We salute you, lesser-known heroes of 1916.
Little Jimmy O’Shaughnessy was a student of Padraig Pearse’s. It’s said that he inspired Pearse to plan the 1916 Rising by constantly singing songs from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton during school hours.
Carl Ambrosia: A German sympathiser to the cause. He sent Michael Collins a postcard from Stuttgart in February 1916 that simply said “Good Man Michael.” Collins was found clutching the card to his chest upon his death in Béal na Bláth in 1922.
Louis Armstrong: “Satchmo” never made any public statements for or against the 1916 Rising but I think we all know where the jazz legend stood on the matter.
Rita Murphy was a washerwoman who washered women and small children near the GPO. During a particularly tense moment of the Rising she told an absolutely filthy joke to some British soldiers, distracting them long enough for Paddy to gain the upper hand.
Jayden O’Lochreas wrote an essay about 1916 for history class based entirely on what he remembered from watching the Liam Neeson film Michael Collins. He got 82%. Fair play Jayden.
Cassidy, An Actual Vampire: According to the popular docu-comic Preacher, a vampire named Cassidy was present during the Rising. He killed several British soldiers and kicked Michael Collins right in the guerillas.
Brophy Brophy: Hip Dublin menswear designer Brophy Brophy designed the suede tri-colour leotards that Eamon De Valera and Michael Collins had planned to wear while exiting the GPO as co-high kings of Ireland at the successful completion of the Rising.
Carnegie Melonballer was a wealthy American industrialist who posted arms to the revolutionaries in 1916. Unfortunately his handwriting was terrible and the guns ended up in the hands of the Icelandic government who briefly flirted with the idea of starting a Hunger Games before seeing sense and throwing the guns into a geyser. The next time the geyser erupted it produced a beautiful luminescent egg which successive governments kept hidden from the eyes of the world. In 1965, the egg hatched and Björk crawled out singing an impassioned lament over a hardcore breakbeat and swooping strings. Björk later wrote Declare Independence about the amazing story of her birth.
The British: Let’s give it up for the British. Without them, we wouldn’t have a 1916 Rising to celebrate. They’re really the inspiration behind the whole thing and their contributions to the events of the Rising are always sidelined in favour of the stories of the Irish heroes of 1916. Who will be brave enough to tell their story??? You??? Go for it.
Main image via journal.ie