Paying a price for Irish freedom

One of last surviving children of Easter Rising veterans remembers father’s service

Liam Keogh  at his home in Walkinstown with his father’s memorabilia. Edward (Ned) Keogh fought in the 1916 rising. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Liam Keogh at his home in Walkinstown with his father’s memorabilia. Edward (Ned) Keogh fought in the 1916 rising. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Fri, Jan 17, 2014, 01:00


The last veteran of the struggle for independence, Lieut Col Seán Clancy, died in 2006 at the age of 105. The direct connection to those involved in the Easter Rising and the War of Independence lives on through their children, but most of them are in their 80s or 90s.

Liam Keogh (95) is one of the oldest surviving children of the veterans of the Rising. His father Edward fought at St Stephen’s Green under the command of Michael Mallin and second-in-command Countess Markievicz, when they occupied the Royal College of Surgeons.

Liam was born in 1919, just a few weeks after the start of the War of Independence; his mother had to bring him down to her father’s house in Kilkenny for his own safety.

Edward Keogh paid a high price for his involvement in both the Easter Rising and the Civil War, losing his job in the Inchicore railway works on two occasions before being reinstated by Joe McGrath, a minister in the Free State government. Liam remembers his father, who died in 1957, receiving an IRA pension of the princely sum of £5 a month. He had handwritten about some of his experiences in a copy book. Liam says he was “well aware” of his father’s service, but does not recall his father ever receiving preferential treatment on foot of it.

Edward Keogh applied for and was successful in getting a military service pension in respect of his service with the Irish Citizen Army between April 1st, 1916, and March 31st 1917, and with the IRA between April 1920 and September 1923. The records state that he was interned after the Rising and rejoined the Irish Citizen Army on his release.

According to his own accounts, he was involved in the burning of Chapelizod barracks in 1919 and a raid on the Inchicore works in March 1921, and was involved in an armed exchange with British forces at Red Cow in west Dublin.

During the truce period (July 12th, 1921, to June 30th, 1922) he was involved in the occupation of the Four Courts and Kilmainham Gaol.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Keogh claimed to have been involved in the takeover of Stanley Street in Grangegorman and in the attempted destruction of the bridge at Bohernabreena near Tallaght. He was arrested in October 1922 and took part in a hunger strike before being released in November 1923.