Plaque to Thomas O'Loghlen at Ennistymon
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Joins I.R.B.

I wasn’t more than sixteen years of age when I made my first contact with the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Some members of that organization, whose names I do not now remember, explained its aims and objects to another young fellow, Peadar O’Loghlen, from Tullaha, and myself, and asked us if we were willing to join. We both agreed, and we were then told to call a few nights later to Markham’s of Clogher, Kilfenora. The I.R.B. centre of the North Clare circle was Thomas O'Loghlen, a native of the Carron district who was then staying in Ennistymon. We met him at Markham’s and we were sworn in by him that night. He gave us a lecture in which he stressed, the following points: -

  1. Never to discuss the I.R.B. with anyone other than a member;
  2. Never to be seen in public places with other members who are known to be suspected by the R.I.C. as being in the organisation;
  3. Never to speak above a whisper where there was a possibility of being overheard;
  4. Never to sign a statement for the R.I.C. about anything.

O'Loghlen also questioned us on our knowledge of firearms and, on learning that neither of us knew anything about a rifle, he arranged later on to give us some training on a Winchester (.3850) rifle, its care and mechanism. He also gave us the loan of one of these rifles and a few round of ammunition with which to practise. The North Clare circle had at least three or four of these Winchester rifles which were procured by O'Loghlen through a merchant in Gort, Co. Galway, but whose name I now forget. O'Loghlen, I believe, paid for some of these guns out of his own pocket, but a few members of the circle subscribed between themselves to pay for one.

Between 1912 and 1915, meetings of our I.R.B. circle were held from time to time, mostly in Markham’s place. O'Loghlen was usually present, spoke on a couple of occasions about meetings of the Supreme Council which he attended, and appeared to be on terms of close friendship with Tom Clarke, later executed after the 1916 Rising. At one meeting, he gave us to understand that arms from America might be landed at Liscannor or Doolin in North Clare. After the inception of the Irish Volunteers, O'Loghlen did not openly play a prominent part in that movement, but he continued to be the centre for North Clare until his death in 1918. In the build-up of the Volunteers in the district, the men whom he had enrolled in the I.R.B. came in time to be the officers of the Irish Volunteers and the I.R.A.

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