Sheila O'Leary is a relative of Jacob Mc Loughlin in 5th Class. Her father Thomas Francis Byrne, known as Byrne the Boer, and her mother Lucy Agnes Smyth, of Cumann na mBan, were both at the GPO during the 1916 Easter Rising. She recounts her family's incredible history.
My uncle's mother Sheila is the only person alive now, whose parents were both in the G.P.O during the Easter rising.
She told me ‘’my mother ( Lucy Agnes Smyth ) used to hide her gun in my pram’’
When the call came to rise, Tom Byrne and 15 volunteers in Maynooth marched to Dublin. Their feet were swollen from their exertions and Lucy Smyth offered him a bowl of warm water to ease the pain. Later Byrne gave his future wife his watch and money for safekeeping.
Now 93, O’Leary is understandably proud of her parents and their part in securing Irish freedom. Her father was 39 in 1916 and had already lived an extraordinary life.
By Jacob McLoughlin