Attracta Maher (b. 1930) and Sr. Joanna (Phyllis) Brennan-Whitmore (b. 1927)
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Attracta Maher (b. 1930) and Sr. Joanna (Phyllis) Brennan-Whitmore (b. 1927)


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Track 1: The background to the Brennan-Whitmore name is explained by Attracta Maher (née Brennan-Whitmore), and her sister, Sr. Joanna, as are details of William Brennan-Whitmore’s family circumstances. He was stationed in India with the British Army as a young man, where he met his mentor and friend, Fr. Mullen, who introduced him to Irish nationalism. Track 2: Due to ill health, Brennan-Whitmore resigned from the army, and in 1910 he joined Sinn Féin and began to train Irish Volunteers in Wexford. His lack of awareness of the existence of the IRB is discussed, as is his admiration for James Connolly. His preference for guerrilla warfare over the stand taken by the revolutionaries in 1916, and the blood sacrifice involved therewith, is explored. During the Rising, he was Officer Commanding in the North Earl Street area. Track 3: This track contains details of the promise made by Brennan-Whitmore to his comrades in Frongoch Camp, North Wales, following the Rising, that he would utilise his journalistic skills to write a book detailing their experiences there. This book, With the Irish in Frongoch, was published in 1917. A discussion follows on the circumstances surrounding his decision to write his second book, Dublin Burning. Track 4: The effects of the Civil War on Commandant W. J.Brennan-Whitmore are discussed, as is his purchase of a farm near Gorey, Co. Wexford, from the Land Commission, where he reared his family. His friendship with Michael Collins is explored. A discussion follows on the shooting at Béal na Bláth, and Brennan-Whitmore’s assertion that the responsibility for Collins’s death lay with his own side. Track 5: W. J. Brennan-Whitmore’s support of Eoin O’Duffy is recalled, though he was never a member of the Blueshirts. His attempts to set up an Occupational Guild System of National Government are explained. His strongly-held belief that guerrilla warfare, instead of a Rising in 1916, would have had a more successful outcome, and his writing of a pamphlet on this subject at the time, is discussed. His daughters further discuss his retirement from the Irish Army in 1926, and his views on politics during his lifetime. Track 6: The 1966 Commemorations are recalled, as is W. J. Brennan-Whitmore’s reluctance to attend. Military medals, family records and pensions are discussed. Track 7: Reference is made to Brennan-Whitmore’s closest friends, and his work on the production of The Echo newspaper in Gorey, Co. Wexford.

Additional information



Audio series:

The 1916 Rising Oral History Collections


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

6.28 MB, 7.66 MB, 7.72 MB, 6.29 MB, 13.68 MB, 6.89 MB
5.44 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Brennan-Whitmore, William J. (Interviewees’ father)

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore