Remembering Michael Mallin – Irish Revolutionaries

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Remembering Michael Mallin

Remembering Michael Mallin

The Irish Revolutionary Michael Mallin was executed in Kilmainham Gaol this day in 1916.

Mallin was born in Dublin on December 1st 1874, the eldest of nine children of John Mallin, a carpenter, and his wife Sarah (née Dowling). The family lived in a tenement in the Liberties neighbourhood. He received his early education at the National School at Denmark Street.

Mallin's mother witnessed the murder of the Manchester Martyrs. According to his brother Thomas, their father was a "strong nationalist and he and Michael had many a political argument"

Mallin enrolled as a member of the 21st Royal Scots Fusiliers on 21 October 1889. During the early years of his service, he was stationed in Great Britain and Ireland. His regiment was sent to India in 1896, where he served out the remainder of his almost fourteen-year career and took part in the Tirah Campaign.

It was during Mallin's time in India that he became radicalised. In 1897, when asked to donate to the memorial fund for Queen Victoria's jubilee year he refused because 'he could not subscribe as the English monarch had taken an oath to uphold the Protestant faith'.

Mallin was awarded the India Medal of 1895 with the Punjab Frontier and Tirah clasps 1897–98. On Mallin's return to Ireland, he became a silk weaver's apprentice under his uncle James, who had retired from the British Army and was the Secretary of the Socialist Party of Ireland.

Mallin progressed to become a leading official in the silk weavers' union. During the 1913 Lockout, he led a strike of silk workers at the Hanbury Lane factory. The strike lasted for thirteen weeks, with Mallin an effective negotiator on behalf of the strikers.

Mallin was appointed second-in-command and chief training officer of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA), which was formed to protect workers from the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) and from employer-funded gangs of strike-breakers.

Under the tutelage of Mallin and James Connolly, the ICA became an effective military force, in October 1914 Mallin was appointed Chief of Staff of the ICA.

When Connolly was inducted into the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in January 1916, Mallin began preparing ICA members for the imminent armed revolution. In the week before the Rising, he communicated orders to the ICA members throughout the city.

On Easter Monday, Mallin departed from Liberty Hall at 11:30 am to take up a position at St Stephen's Green with a small force of ICA men and women. Upon arriving at the park they ordered civilians out of it, dug trenches, erected kitchen and first aid stations, and built barricades in the surrounding streets.

Early Tuesday morning the British Army forces in the Shelbourne began firing down on the encamped rebels. Under intense machine-gun fire, Mallin ordered his troops to retreat to the Royal College of Surgeons on the west side of the park.

The garrison remained in the barricaded building for the remainder of the week. By Thursday it was cut-off from the rebel headquarters at the General Post Office (GPO) and running out of food and ammunition.

On Sunday 30 April 1916, just one week after the commencement of the Easter Rising and the declaration of the Irish Republic, Commandant Michael Mallin, Chief of Staff of the Irish Citizen Army was ordered to surrender his garrison at the College of Surgeons, St Stephen's Green.

Mallin was brought to Richmond Barracks which was around the corner from where he lived in Inchicore, court-martialled and sentenced to death.

The night before his execution he was visited in his cell by his mother, three of his siblings, his pregnant wife and their four children. He was executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol on May 8th 1916.

“I am satisfied I have done my duty to my beloved Ireland.”

Fuair sé bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann

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