Michael Joseph O’Rahilly and the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland
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The role of Michael Joseph O’Rahilly (also known as “The O’Rahilly”) in the Easter Rising of 1916, is not much talked about, and this, in my opinion, makes it all the more fascinating. Many would feel, that he has, in a sense, been ‘written out of history’.
O’Rahilly was a man who believed that the Irish people could not achieve independence of the British without confrontation in an armed struggle. It was for this reason that he joined played a large part in the foundation of the Irish Volunteers in 1913.
Interestingly, O’Rahilly refused to join the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) on the grounds that he could not join a secret society. He was a man of very strong principles, and felt that he could not keep an oath whereby he would…show more content… Unknowingly, MacNeill ordered his Volunteers to stage a Rising, all over the country, on Easter Sunday, 24th of April, 1916. When the forgery was discovered, MacNeill instantly drew up a message, cancelling all maneuvers for the Rising, to be distributed around the country. This however was on the Saturday night, and, as they could not wait to publish it in the morning paper, The O’Rahilly was made a courier to deliver the message: ‘Volunteers completely deceived. All orders for special action are hereby cancelled…’. Although O’Rahilly was one of the few men to own a car at the time, he chose to take a taxi, as his car was too well known by the police, and he was forbidden by law from entering the counties of Kerry, Cork or Limerick. As the message was delivered around the country, no-one thought to convey the message to James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army, in the heart of Dublin. He and Pearse, on learning the news, decided to go ahead with a Rising on Monday in Dublin anyway, without the Volunteers and their army of 13500 men. (Which would have made a massive difference, considering that as it turned out, Britain had 16000 men to the Irish’s 1250) O’Rahilly was woken in the middle of Sunday night, by Desmond FitzGerald and informed of the situation, his response; ‘If my men are determined to have a Rising, nothing will stop them’.
On the Monday morning, just as Padraic Pearse was making the final preparations to the