Frances Daly (b. 1947)
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Frances Daly (b. 1947)


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Frances Daly recalls her Crennigan grandfather who came from Co. Westmeath, and his wife, Annie MacAnally from near Dunboyne. They married in 1893 and Jack was their first child. Tom came next, followed by James. The children were christened in different places from which it is obvious that the family moved from place to place for work. Frances has letters from her father, James Crennigan, written when he was incarcerated in Lewes and Wormwood Scrubs prisons. She describes the meeting of James and Jack Crennigan at the Lawless home at the beginning of the Rising, from where they proceeded to Knocksidane Bridge. The group was divided into those who went to Ashbourne and those, including James, who went to the Mendicity Institute. After the Rising, James was arrested, brought to Richmond Barracks and then imprisoned in England. Jack Crennigan was killed during the Battle of Ashbourne. Frances explains that her father James never spoke much about the period, and she recounts a story that he did tell her about eating a message he had in his possession when he had been caught by the police. Frances reads a letter her father wrote to his mother in October 1916 and she also reads another, written in the previous month from Wormwood Scrubs Prison. She was unaware of these letters until she was a teenager and says her father kept all of these things in a trunk. After her mother died in 1967, James destroyed the contents of the trunk. However, Frances does have his medals and her cousin has her uncle Jack’s medals. She describes her father as a reserved man who was involved with the Fingalian football team and was a founding member of the Fingal Ravens Club. Frances is keen to get involved in family research and she remarks that her daughter and grand-daughter are both interested in history. She reflects upon the fact that James and Jack fought for their country, what James could have known at 15 or 16 years of age, and his bravery. It is recalled that The Old IRA Welfare Society fundraised in 1966 for the erection of headstones for the graves of Jack Crennigan and Thomas Rafferty, the two men killed at Ashbourne in 1916. Frances is very proud of the family history. Since childhood, she attended the Easter Mass, the location for which rotated every year around the area. This was a way of keeping the contact alive. James Crennigan worked for the Lawless Dairy. He looked after the horses and every Sunday he would deliver milk to children’s homes. One of the visits on his round was to Sister Eithne Lawless at the Gloucester Street convent. Eithne had worked as Michael Collins’ secretary The contents of James Crennigan’s letters are discussed, in particular his concerns about people and their welfare. He was very much a community man, his daughter remarks. Frances does not know which side James supported during the Civil War. He was active in the War of Independence. Her uncle, Tom Crennigan, appears to have been the watch for the area. Her father was on the run for a period and lived away from home. Frances recounts an anecdote about this time in his life when one of his companions had to hide in a ditch for three days. A further letter from James, written at Wormwood Scrubs Prison, is read. At this time he was aware that his brother Jack had been killed. It appears from what he writes that he was in agreement with Home Rule. James made an application for the Old IRA pension and Frances has a copy of the written application. She reads from the application made by her grandmother Annie in respect of the death of Jack Crennigan. The middle brother Tom was a member of the Army from 1922 to 1924 and he also made an application which is read by Frances. She knew Tom Crennigan well but he never spoke to her about his experiences.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The 1916 Rising Oral History Collections


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

49.10 MB

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Product ID:



James Crennigan (Interviewee’s father) and Jack Crennigan (Interviewee’s uncle)

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore