Did your relatives attend the O’Donovan Rossa funeral in 1915?

Do you recognise any of your relatives from this photo? If so, the Derry Easter Rising Commemoration Committee want to hear from you.
Do you recognise any of your relatives from this photo? If so, the Derry Easter Rising Commemoration Committee want to hear from you.

The Sinn Fein 1916 Easter Rising Commemoration Committee is appealing to ‘Journal’ readers to ask if any of their relatives attended the funeral of the ‘unrepentant Fenian’, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa in 1915.

It is believed that up to 50 people from Derry travelled to Glasnevin cemetery for the funeral on August 1, 1915.

Sinn Féin will be launching its 1916 commemoration programme on August 1 with a historical re-enactment in Dublin of this seminal moment in Irish history; the funeral of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.

The Derry 1916 Commemorative Committee is anxious to hear from anyone who may either be able to identify individuals in the picture above or who would have any artefacts or memorabilia relating to this occasion or the period 1913-1923.

The O’Donovan Rossa funeral brought together all strands of Irish Nationalism marking the last time the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Cumann na mBan and the Irish Citizen Army appeared together.

The event also formed the link between the Fenian Movement and those who took part in the Easter Rising the following year.

More than 100,000 people turned out to watch the spectacle of the funeral, thronging Dame Street and O’Connell Street, Dublin to see the cortege.

At the graveside, a relatively unknown, Patrick Pearse, stepped forward to give a graveside oration that would go down in history, with the last section of that speech now widely seen as the call to arms for the 1916 Easter Rising.

“They [the British armed forces/government] 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,” said Pearse on the day of the funeral.

Barney O’Hagan from the Derry Easter Rising Commemoration Committee explained how people can get involved.

“There will be a number of commemorative events and re-enactments staged in Derry in the period between now and 2023.

“If you would like to participate or assist in these commemorative events, we are keen to hear from you. If you can provide or loan artefacts or materials from the period we can, in the case of photographs or other visual materials, have them scanned, with the originals immediately returned to the owner.

“We can also scan written materials and, if the owner wishes, we can transcribe interviews or recordings by their ancestors on to video or audio tape which can then be reproduced in digital format as part of an exhibition.”

To donate, loan or have materials copied, scanned/digitised and to help make the project a success, please contact Barney O’Hagan on 028 71 377551.

Anyone wishing to travel to Glasnevin for the re-enactment on Saturday August 1 please contact the Sinn Féin Constituency Office at Ráth Mór on the same number.