Remembering Joe Brady – Irish Revolutionaries
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Remembering Joe Brady

Remembering Joe Brady

The Irish Revolutionary Joe Brady was executed in Kilmainham Gaol this day in 1883.

Brady led the seven-man squad that assassinated Burke and the new chief secretary, Lord Frederick Cavendish, as they walked home along Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park, Dublin on May 6th 1882.

Brady from Dublin second of 20 sons and five daughters of Thomas Brady, a paviour of 40 years standing with Dublin corporation. After serving an apprenticeship with the corporation, Joe was employed for 14 years as a stonecutter and was described as an industrious worker.

Unmarried, he lived with his parents at 22 North Anne St. He and his co-accused, Tim Kelly, were members of the choir at the Franciscan Church in Church St. A devoted Fenian, he was recruited by Daniel Curley in December 1881, into the Irish National Invincibles, a small secret society committed to political assassinations.

He was known as “Bulldog Brady”, and valued for his physical strength and single-mindedness; he was co-opted onto the four-man Dublin directory of the Invincibles in March 1882.

After the Phoenix Park assassinations, Brady was one of many Fenians arrested. One of his comrades turned informer so Brady now faced a trial charged with 'murder'.

Brady was found guilty and sentenced to death. He denied his guilt and blamed paid informers for his fate. He was hanged May 14th, 1883, in Kilmainham Gaol and was buried there.

Ballad of Joe Brady

I am a bold undaunted youth, Joe Brady is my name,
From the chapel of North Anne Street one Sunday as I came, All to my surprise who should I espy but Moreno and Cockade; Says one unto the other: “Here comes our Fenian blade”.

I did not know the reason why they ordered me to stand,
I did not know the reason why they gave me such a command. But when I saw James Carey there, I knew I was betrayed.I’ll face death before dishonour and die a Fenian blade.

They marched me up North Anne Street without the least delay, The people passed me on the path, it filled them with dismay. My sister cried, “I see you, Joe, if old Mallon gives me lave, Keep up your heart for Ireland like a true-born Fenian Blade.

It happened in the Phoenix Park all in the month of May,
Lord Cavendish and Burke came out for to see the polo play. James Carey gave the signal and his handkerchief he waved, Then he gave full information against our Fenian blades.

It was in Kilmainham Prison the Invincibles were hung.
Mrs Kelly she stood there all in mourning for her son.
She threw back her shawl and said to all:

“Though he fills a lime-pit grave,
My son was no informer and he died a Fenian blade.”


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