Kathleen O’Carroll (b. 1932)
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Kathleen O’Carroll (b. 1932)


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The O’Carroll family lived in Manor Street in Dublin, and Liam, James and Peadar O’Carroll were members of the Irish Volunteers. Their brother Michael was a member of Fianna Éireann and their sister Mary was in Cumann na mBan. They were all members of Colmcille Branch of the Gaelic League in Blackhall Street. Peadar and Liam joined A Company Irish Volunteers at the Rotunda. At Easter Week, Liam O’Carroll was an officer in the Four Courts Garrison, and Peadar was at Reilly’s Fort. Jim O’Carroll was in Jacobs Factory. After the surrender, Liam and Peadar were arrested and detained at Frongoch where they were visited by their mother. Kathleen recalls the fact that later her uncle Liam went on hunger strike in Mountjoy Prison. Kathleen explains that her mother was Annie O’Keeffe who was also a member of the Gaelic League and of Cumann na mBan. The function of the Cumann na mBan organisation is considered and discussed. Kathleen’s mother died in 1965 and Kathleen attended the 1966 commemorative events with her father. She recalls attending a State reception at Dublin Castle, and they were also invited to the Savoy Cinema for the premiere of Louis Marcus’s film An Tine Bheo. She examines a photograph of her father and her uncles. Also included is Larry Lawlor who had fought at the Mendicity Institution during the Rising and had married her aunt, Mary O’Carroll. Kathleen explains that she never heard any details about the Rising from her father or uncles. Their medals were worn at certain events, including the final rallies held by Fianna Fáil prior to an election when an honour guard of old IRA men was formed for candidates such as Éamon de Valera. During the War of Independence Peadar O’Carroll and his brothers were on the run. Kathleen explains that in October 1920 her grandfather, Peter O’Carroll, was shot dead by the Black and Tans because he refused to disclose the whereabouts of his sons. His remains were taken to Richmond Hospital. Kathleen further explains that her 8 year old uncle was brought to identify his remains so that his older brothers would not have to come out of hiding and face arrest. She credits the Capuchin priests at Church Street with sheltering the men on the run, saying that her father sheltered on some nights in the organ loft of Church Street chapel. Kathleen’s grandmother, Annie (née Scully) O’Carroll, originally from Garristown in north Co. Dublin, died in the early 1950s, and her strong character is remembered. After her husband’s murder, their shop was closed and Annie moved to live further up the street. Kathleen remembers being told that when her grandmother was burning her son’s mouldy uniform some years later, bullets went off in the pockets. Peadar O’Carroll married Annie O’Keeffe in 1921, a year after his father’s murder. They were married at Halston Street church but the Black and Tans were waiting for them at Aughrim Street, Kathleen says. Their first child, Áine, was born the following year. Peadar qualified as an electrician and Kathleen recalls the many places where they lived. Her father worked until he was 72 years of age. He and his brothers had opposed the Treaty. Kathleen discusses the part played by the O’Carrolls in the Civil War, and explains that her grand-nephew has done much research on the family. Her parents, grandparents and her uncle Liam are buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, and her grandfather’s headstone indicates the cause of his death. Peadar O’Carroll was afforded a military funeral. Kathleen examines a certificate that states that her mother rendered active service with Cumann na mBan, Colmcille Branch during the War of Independence. The certificate is co-signed by Commandant Margaret Kennedy and Josephine Flood. She also has her father’s certificate for the period 1916-1921 which is signed by his brother Liam Ó Cearbhaill, Paddy Houlihan, Tommy O’Brien and Oscar Traynor. Kathleen also treasures the 1916 and Black and Tan medals. Her aunt, Mary O’Carroll, was a member of Cumann na mBan, as was her mother’s sister, Kathleen O’Keeffe, who died in 1928. Kathleen discusses a document written by her grandmother, Annie O’Carroll, which lists the dates of birth, marriage and death of her own parents and their ten children. She explains that her father and uncles were among the first men to join the Irish Volunteers in 1913. She recalls the meetings of the Cumann na mBan members. A photograph taken when Kilmainham Gaol was opened in the 1930s is examined. The group includes Éamon de Valera, Frank Carney, Peadar O’Carroll and Frank Aiken. Frank Carney and Peadar O’Carroll were friends and Kathleen remembers his frequent visits to their home. She explains that her uncle Liam never married and neither Michael nor Jim O’Carroll’s children survive. Kathleen describes her father as a quiet man and her mother as more outgoing in character. She again emphasises the importance of appropriate recognition being given to these people for the part they played in Irish history. Kathleen worked at the New Ireland Assurance Company in Dawson Street in Dublin from 1948, and her career there extended over four decades. She says that many others who were related to the insurgents were employed at the company.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The 1916 Rising Oral History Collections


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

41.68 MB

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Peadar O’Carroll (Interviewee’s father), Liam, James and Michael O’Carroll and Mary O’Carroll (Interviewee’s uncles and aunt)

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