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Remembering Michael O'Hanrahan

Remembering Michael O'Hanrahan

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

He was born as Michael Hanrahan in New Ross, County Wexford on January 16th 1877, the son of Richard Hanrahan, a cork cutter, and Mary Williams. his father was involved in the Fenian Rising 1867.

The family moved to Carlow, where Michael was educated at Carlow Christian Brothers' School and Carlow College Academy. On leaving school he worked various jobs including a period alongside his father in the cork-cutting business.

In 1898 he joined the Gaelic League and in 1899 founded the League's first Carlow branch and became its secretary. By 1903 he was in Dublin, where he was working as a proof-reader for the Gaelic League printer Cló Cumann.

He published journalism under the by-lines 'Art' and 'Irish Reader' in several nationalist newspapers, including Sinn Féin and the Irish Volunteer. He was the author of two novels A Swordsman of the Brigade (1914) and When the Norman Came (published posthumously in 1918).

In 1903 King Edward VII visited Ireland, O'Hanrahan helped with Maud Gonne and Arthur Griffith's campaign against the visit which led him to join Sinn Fein when it formed in 1905, he also joined the IRB but it's not known when he joined.

In November 1913 he joined the Irish Volunteers. O'Hanrahan was later employed as an administrator on the Volunteers headquarters staff. He was made quartermaster general of the 2nd Battalion. He and the commandant of the 2nd Battalion Thomas MacDonagh became close friends.

During the Easter Rising, he was second in command of Dublin's 2nd battalion under Commandant Thomas MacDonagh. He fought at Jacob's Biscuit Factory, though the battalion saw little action other than intense sniping throughout Easter week, as the British Army largely kept clear of the impregnable factory dominating the road from Portobello Barracks on one side and Dublin Castle on the other.

After the surrender, Michael O'Hanrahan was court-martialed and sentenced to death.

O'Hanrahan was executed by firing squad on May 4th 1916 at Kilmainham Gaol. His brother, Henry O'Hanrahan, was sentenced to penal servitude for life for his role in the Easter Rising.

Wexford railway station is named in commemoration of O'Hanrahan, as is the road bridge over the River Barrow at New Ross. O'Hanrahans GAA Club Carlow was founded in 1919 and is still, consistently, one of the top teams in the County.

Fuair sé bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann

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