How many were really ‘out’ for Easter Rising 1916?

Military Pensions Archive publishes list of all those who were involved in Easter Week

After almost 100 years we may at last have the definitive answer to an age-old question - how many were “out” in 1916?

The figure is 2,558 involved on the rebel side, according to the Military Pensions Archive.

(Check the list: check the Military Pension Archives for your relative's name)

This is the sum total of those persons who applied for a pension, an allowance or a 1916 Easter Rising medal in the wake of the rebellion.


The original figure supplied by the Department of Defence was 2,497, but further research carried out during the digitisation of the archive has increased that figure by 61.

‘Definitive figure’

"We're pretty sure this is the definitive figure," said Pat Brennan senior military archivist.

The only known absentee from the list is Cathal Brugha, who was second in command at the South Dublin Union under Cmdt Éamonn Ceannt and was later killed on the anti-treaty side during the civil war.

Nobody from his family ever claimed a pension, allowance or medal.

Ironically, the military pensions archive which will be opened to the public later this year is housed in the barracks named after him in Dublin.

Mr Brennan said the list showed the Rising was a more national affair than many people realise.

Map of engagements

It is accompanied by a map of engagements such as the little remembered blowing up of railway lines at Maganey near Portlaoise during Easter Week.

"Everybody is concentrating on Dublin. You get couriers, women mostly, who show up in Waterford and Cork on their travels during Easter Week giving the word that the Rising order has been countermanded."

The list, which is published on the military pensions archive, will be used to identify those relatives who wish to participate in the parades and gatherings surrounding the Easter 1916 commemorations next year.

Relatives of those who believe somebody belonging to them was “out” in 1916 but are not included among the 2,558 names have until September to inform the Department of Defence if they want to be eligible for inclusion.

The military pensions archives also provide a definitive answer to the question which has been the butt of many jokes over the generations - how many were in the GPO during Easter Week? The answer is 508.

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney said the release of all the names associated with the Rising was a "very significant milestone in our understanding and historical appreciation of the identity of the men and women, from many different backgrounds, who lit the spark at Easter 1916 which a short time later led to the formation of a resurgent revolutionary movement that ultimately led to the War of Independence."

Was a relative of yours out in 1916? Check the Military Pensions Archive.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times