From An Claidheamh Soluis, July 31, 1915. Date of original letter unknown, but addressed to the editor of the ‘Eagle’, a newspaper based in Skibbereen.
You would like to have some picture of me that was taken in or about 1857 when the Phoenix Society was started at back of Doctor Jerry Crowley’s drug store. I would like to too—but I have not got a picture of myself at that time at all. You saw me arrested at the Bridge House in December, 1853. Well, the police that time took away all the papers and paper pictures that were in the house—and that is the last I heard of them. Then in 1865, when I was arrested in Dublin, the police again took away all the papers and pictures I had in the house, and that is the last I saw of them too. I had a large bag of manuscripts, Irish-English papers, that belonged to Nicholas O’Kearney, a Gaelic language scholar. The English have these papers in Dublin Castle still, and I wish you or somebody would try and get them—for the sake of the Irish language. If I get all right to Skibbereen this time, I’ll speak nothing but Irish language to ye. You recollect the time I had my name in the Irish language over my door. Excise Officer Hungerford said that I should take it down, as the law required the name to be in English. I said that I would not take it down: that I was Irish, and that was my Irish name there over the door—Diarmuid Ó Donnoḃain Rossa. He said he was sorry he should have to oppose my getting a renewal of my license at the next Sessions—he did not want to do it—was sorry the situation he had obliged him to do it. He almost cried. ‘Rossa,’ he said, ‘can’t you put your name—Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa—in small letters on the lintel there over the door; I think that will satisfy the law.’ ‘Oh, yes, Mr. Hungerford,’ said I, ‘I can do that,’ and I did it. That Mr. Hungerford was a perfect gentleman, though of English breed, but then his people were a long time living among the Irish.