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Easter 1916

I have now no clear recollection of having been told by anyone that the Rising in Easter 1916 was due to take place. In accordance with orders, I did parade on Easter Sunday at Ardmore. The company, however, was dismissed as a result of the notice inserted in the Dublin Sunday papers by Eoin McNeill, countermanding the previous order. Before being dismissed, we were instructed to report again at Ardmore on the following day, Easter Monday, at 3 p.m.

On Easter Monday the company paraded at the appointed time. Orders were given to collect all firearms in the district. My memory of these events leads me to think that the job of collecting guns went on for two or three nights. In addition to the Cloona parish, firearms in the parishes of Kilfenora and Kilnaboy were also taken up. By Wednesday night, there was a shotgun available for every Volunteer in the Company.

Other events which occurred in the district during Easter Week 1916 were the cutting of telephone poles and wires between Ennistymon and Ennis. This was done by Thomas O'Loghlen and Seamus Murrihy. They came to Lickeen on Easter Tuesday evening, bringing with them several hundred yards of wire, a hatchet and wire cutters which they left in a field outside my house and which I had to hide. O'Loghlen went on to Carron in North Clare.

Another incident involved one of the teachers in Cahersherkin National School. This man came to me about the middle of Easter Week and said he had got a written note from Thomas O'Loghlen to tell Peadar O'Loghlen, one of the leading men in the Cloona company, to attack the Ennistymon R.I.C. barracks, and that the Doolin and Liscannor companies would also participate in the operation. The authenticity of this message was suspected and it was decided to ignore it. It occurred to some of us, however, that the incident might, with profit, be further investigated as this teacher could be an 'agent provocateur', of whom Clare had some bitter experiences in the Fenian days. Nothing definite could be done for over a month as O'Loghlen had been arrested during the week after the Rising and he was kept in jail for a few weeks. On his release, he came back to Ennistymon where he lived. He denied all knowledge of the alleged message and was very indignant about the whole matter. He refused, however, to countenance any action against the teacher, saying, 'Obviously a British agent has been unearthed. We know him now. If he is shot or removed, he will be replaced and we may never find out his successor'. This advice was not accepted by some people, as the teacher was boycotted for some time after, but, in fairness, I should add that, though he lived amongst us through very exciting times later on, he never again came under unfavourable notice.

Due to the fact that in Cloona, no word came to us from anywhere after receiving orders to mobilise on Easter Sunday and that we held ourselves ready during the ensuing week to meet for armed action at a moment's notice, it was a disappointing experience for the younger volunteers. The only people arrested in North Clare after the Rising were Thomas O'Loghlen and Eamonn Waldron. The former was advanced in years and was detained only for a few weeks but Waldron was deported to England. No guns were surrendered by us in response to Sir John Maxell's proclamation calling for a general surrender of arms after the hostilities in Dublin had ceased. The Cloona company kept together and held meetings in quiet places, but not as regular or as frequently as prior to the Rising. By means of I.R.B. sources principally, contacts were made with revolutionary elements in outside districts. Through the medium of new songs in praise of the Easter Rising and of the men who fought in it, the youth soon began to be interested. Concerts and dances were organised to raise money for dependants of the men imprisoned for their part in the Rising. By Christmas, 1916, when the first batch of the prisoners were released from England, I would say that, as far as the parishes of Kilfenora and Cloona are concerned, the position of the Irish Volunteer movement was sounder and stronger than ever before.

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