Were your grandparents at O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral?

Glasnevin Trust seeks public’s help to identify members of cortege at 1915 funeral

Do you see your grandfather or grandmother in this photograph? A total of 63 individuals have been individually numbered in the hope that they might be identified by the public. About 12 have been identified. <a href="http://www.glasnevintrust.ie/visit-glasnevin/news/the-fools-the-fools-the-fools/ODonovanRossa_PaintByNumbers.pdf"> Photograph: </a> courtesy of Glasnevin Trust.

Do you see your grandfather or grandmother in this photograph? A total of 63 individuals have been individually numbered in the hope that they might be identified by the public. About 12 have been identified. Photograph: courtesy of Glasnevin Trust.

 

An appeal has been issued to the public for help in identifying members of the cortege in an historic photograph of the funeral of Fenian leader O’Donovan Rossa in August, 1915.

Cork-born O’Donovan Rossa was a prominent member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and was returned for burial to Ireland following his death in New York in 1915.

It was at his graveside in Glasnevin Cemetery that an oration, recognised to be one of the most important speeches in 20th century Irish history, was delivered by Pádraig Pearse.

 

Appeal for assistance

Ahead of the 100th anniversary of the funeral, the Glasnevin Trust has appealed for assistance from the public in identifying those in the photograph, which is believed to have been taken just minutes before Pearse delivered his oration.

“It’s incredible how the photographer that day couldn’t have had a clue exactly how historic a moment he was capturing for us to look back on now, one hundred years later,” said historian and curator at Glasnevin museum, Conor Dodd.

“When you look closely at Pearse you can see what appears to be a folded piece of paper under his arms which is obviously the speech. He’s just about to start it. You look at him with the head bowed and you wonder if he is nervous about what he is going to say because it was an extremely risky speech to give. It was no small feat standing up and delivering a speech like that because of what was included in it,” said Mr Dodd.

 

Rallying point

The funeral was a rallying point for Irish nationalism and marks the last occasion where the Irish Volunteers, the Irish National Volunteers, Cumann na mBan and the Irish Citizen Army appeared together.

Pearse’s speech struck a chord within Irish nationalism that would have ramifications for years to come.

“You see a pathway opening up beside that grave which will lead us to the 1916 Rising, of course, which changes the history of the country forever. It is hugely, hugely, important.”

Making the connection in his speech between the Fenian movement that preceded the Irish Volunteers and the movement that he was now a part of, Pearse ended his oration with the lines:

“They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools – they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.”

The photograph was taken by Keogh Bros Ltd, a photographic agency retained by Thomas James "Tom" Clarke to photograph the funeral.

Click here to download a high-res image.

To get in touch, please contact, Mr Dodd at the museum on +353 (0)1 882 6550 or email CDodd@glasnevintrust.ie

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