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Remembering Willie Pearse

Remembering Willie Pearse

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

William (Willie) Pearse was born on November 15th, 1881, two years after his brother Patrick in the same house on Great Brunswick Street(Now Pearse Street). From his birth to his death Willie was the closest friend his brother ever had.

Willie inherited his father's artistic abilities and became a sculptor. He was educated at the Christian Brothers School, Westland Row and later studied at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin, the Kensington School of Art in London, and for a while, he also studied art in Paris.

With his sister Mary Brigid, he formed the Leinster Stage Society, which put on plays at the Abbey Theatre for the financial benefit of St. Enda’s the school he helped his brother run in 1908, giving up on his father's stonemason business.

Willie was a member of the Irish Volunteers and held the rank of Staff Captain. During Easter Week he was the aide-de-camp to his brother and served as a courier for his brother, making sure orders were delivered to rebel-held positions around Dublin.

Following the surrender, he was court-martialled and sentenced to be killed. It has been said that as he was only a minor player in the struggle, it was his surname that condemned him.

The British tried to bring Willie from Richmond Barracks to visit Patrick before he was shot at Kilmainham, but when he got to the Gaol, he was told he was “Too late.”

But unlike Patrick, he was visited the night before his execution by his mother and sister Margaret. Willie was executed in Kilmainham Gaol on the morning of May 4th 1916.

He and his brother were the only two brothers to be executed after the Easter Rising.

Fuair sé bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann

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