He commanded the Republican troops in the Mendicity, where they made a noble stand against overwhelming numbers. He died for Ireland at Kilmainham Prison in the early morning of May 8th, 1916. He breathed forth his beautiful Soul to God with those words on his lips: “MY JESUS MERCY.”
Kilmainham Prison, Dublin,
Sunday, May 7th, 1916
My Dearest M.
Before this note reaches you I shall have fallen as a Soldier in the cause of Irish Freedom. I write to bid you a last farewell in this world, and rely on you to pray fervently and get the prayers of the whole community for the repose of my soul. I am quite prepared for the journey. The Priest was with me, and I received Holy Communion this morning. It was only this evening that the finding of the Court Martial was conveyed to me.
Poor Mother will miss me, but I feel that with God’s help she will manage. You know the Irish proverb: “God’s help is nearer than the door.” The agony of the past few days has been intense, but I now feel reconciled to God’s Holy Will. I might have fallen in action as many have done and been less well prepared for the journey before me. Do not blame me for the part I have taken. As a Soldier, I merely carried out the orders of my Superiors, who should have been in a position to know what was the best in Ireland’s interest. Let there be no talk of foolish enterprises. I have no vain regrets. Think of the thousands of Irishmen who fell fighting under another flag at the Dardanelles, attempting to do what English experts now admit was an absolute impossibility.
If you really love me, teach the children the History of their own land, and teach them that the cause of Caitlin ni h-Uallachain never dies. Ireland shall be free from the centre to the sea as soon as the people of Ireland believe in the necessity for Ireland’s Freedom and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to obtain it. Ireland cannot be freed by strong resolutions or votes of confidence, however unanimous.
It may be that the struggle we have made will lend strength to Ireland’s claim for representation at the great Peace Conference when the map of Europe is being re-drawn. Let us pray that Ireland will benefit from it ultimately.
M…, pray for me and get everybody to pray for me.
Your loving brother,