Child shot dead during Easter Rising given headstone 102 years on

Inchicore eight-year-old Eugene Lynch among 40 children killed during rebellion

On the Friday of Easter Week 1916, eight-year-old Eugene Lynch was playing outside his family's home on Vincent's Street in Inchicore, Dublin.

A trigger-happy and jumpy British soldier - probably an Irishman - was stood on a green opposite. Suddenly a gunshot came towards where the children were playing football, and Eugene was fatally wounded.

His body was taken and laid out on a table in his grandmother’s pub, and two days later he was buried in Goldenbridge Cemetery - just yards from his home and where he had probably played among the tombstones.

Broadcaster Joe Duffy, whose book The Children of the Rising highlighted the stories of the 40 children killed during the events of Easter Week, became emotional as he recalled the circumstances of Eugene's funeral, which took place on Sunday, April 29th, a day after the rebels surrendered.

He was buried in a wooden box measuring 4 ft 10ins (1.5m) in length, with the funeral costing £2.

“Here he played and here he is laid. At 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning as they carried that box through that gate, we reckon there were three people at his funeral,” Duffy said.

Eugene had lain for 102 years in an unmarked grave with other members of his family. But on Friday, unlike the day of his funeral, hundreds gathered for the dedication of his gravestone.

The headstone was provided by Glasnevin Trust, which has reopened Goldenbridge Cemetery to the public after many years of closure.

‘Prisoner’

Eugene's headstone is just metres away from the graves of the only father and son to lead the State, WT and Liam Cosgrave. The latter had often spoken of his father "being a prisoner in his grave" because of the closure of the cemetery.

Members of the Lynch family were there for the unveiling including Eugene's nephew, who was named after him. Children from three Inchicore schools were present, Our Lady of Lourdes National School, the Mercy Secondary School and Scoil Mhuire Gán Smál.

Musician Declan O'Rourke sang his song The Children of 16, before a piper led the Lynch family to the grave for the unveiling.

Glasnevin Trust chairman John Green said people had previously looked at the Easter Rising only through the eyes of its leaders, and that it had taken 100 years to remember the rest.

“Those people who died in 1916 have become all the more real to us all. No book has had a greater impact that Children of the Rising,” he said.

Sixth class pupils from Scoil Mhuire Gán Smál read a poem in honour of Eugene. It begins: ‘For far too long in Inchicore, I did not know your name/The Rising’s History was peopled by those men of greater fame’.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times

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