Major John MacBride (1868-1916) was a military leader executed for his role in the Easter Rising in 1916. Born in Westport, County Mayo, MacBride became involved in republican activism from a young age, involved in both the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Gaelic Athletic Association. In 1896, MacBride emigrated to South Africa, and when the Second Boer War broke out, MacBride would help take the command of an Irish brigade loyal to the Transvaal Government, participating in several pitched battles in the early stages, including a pivotal role in the Boer victory at the Battle of Ladysmith. Upon the end of the war, MacBride returned to Ireland a war hero, and was married to Maud Gonne, the couple having one son, Seán MacBride although the marriage ended shortly afterwards via a bitter divorce. Although MacBride knew little of the plans of the Easter Rising, he nonetheless was an active participant, being second-in-command at Jacob’s factory. Upon the surrender of the rebels, MacBride would be sentenced to death and executed at Kilmainham Jail on 5 May 1916.
The Irish Brigade in South Africa
Irish Brigade Manifesto (1899)
Uit de Transvaal (1899)
Letter to the John MacBride Club of Dublin (1902)
Major MacBride on the Battle of Stepney (1911)
Emmet And His Ideals (1911)