Kieran Jordan (b. 1959)
7.0015.00 Select options

Kieran Jordan (b. 1959)


Want unlimited access to the Irish Life and Lore Oral History Archive? Subscribe by purchasing Gold Subscription, Silver Subscription or Bronze Subscription!

Kieran Jordan recalls his grandfather, Stephen Jordan, who was born in 1887 in Athenry in Co. Galway. His father, Mark Jordan, had been involved with the Fenians and the IRB. Kieran remarks that in the early 1900s Stephen played football with a team named the Athenry De Wets, named after a South African general who defeated the British in battles during the Boer War. In 1906 he joined the IRB and two years later he was charged in court in relation to driving cattle to knock walls at a time when he was involved in property and land agitation. He joined the local branch of the Irish Volunteers in 1914 and became a local organiser. Other significant republican names in the area were Liam Mellows, Larry Lardiner and Tom Kenny. On Easter weekend, Stephen Jordan went to Dublin with Larry Lardiner, apparently to attend a GAA convention at which republicanism would also be discussed. They returned home on Easter Sunday and on the Monday Stephen was sent to Galway to spread the news of the mobilisation. Skirmishes which took place during the following week in Co. Galway, and the reaction by the authorities are discussed. On the Tuesday, about 700 men went from Athenry to the agricultural college initially, and later to Moyode Castle. Stephen was in charge of parties sent out to procure food. Kieran emphasises the fact that the men were poorly armed but were fired by enthusiasm. The group later moved to Lime Park. Kieran discusses the support that the men received locally, and suggests that a search of the records might indicate how deep and widespread that support actually was. He explains that his grandfather died when he himself was a teenager, a time when he had little interest in family and local history. Some years after Independence, Stephen Jordan was elected a Fianna Fáil TD for Athenry. Apparently he did not have any involvement in the Civil War though he supported the anti-Treaty side. Kieran reflects on what he has learned about his grandfather from reading his witness statement, and says that a huge amount of organisation and training took place in the local area. He does not know whether or not any of Stephen’s siblings were involved in the struggle, though he has discovered that another Jordan man was in jail with his grandfather at one time. Most of the family emigrated, he says. Kieran reflects on some of the documents he has discovered, including his grandfather’s pension application which is very detailed. He refers to the code of silence and the absence of boasting by the participants. He considers that his grandfather was quietly proud of his part in the struggle and expounded on this only in confidential documents such as his witness statement and pension application. The information Stephen’s children would have had about their father’s part in 1916 is considered. During their childhood he would have been serving as a TD and acting as a GAA referee, among other activities. Kieran feels that his father was republican, though in an aspirational sense rather than in an active role. Stephen Jordan stood for election to the Dáil after the Civil War but was not elected until 1927. He was re-elected in 1932 and 1933. The modern and the earlier Sinn Féin parties are contrasted. The different terminology used depending on one’s point of view with regard to whether or not the men of 1916 were terrorists is considered. By trade, Stephen Jordan was a shoemaker and licensed publican until his election as T.D. in 1927. He was not re-elected in 1936 and Kieran is unclear about what he worked at thereafter. He was very much involved in the GAA and with the organisation of the local agricultural show in Athenry. Kieran has read some of the correspondence relating to the military service pension which indicates that his grandfather did need the pension. He did not qualify for pension as a former T.D. His grandfather’s medals are with his cousin, Kieran explains, and he comments on the quiet satisfaction within the family that Stephen took a small part in winning Independence for Ireland. He also discusses the reason why his grandfather apparently took no part in the Civil War. Kieran has recently conducted some research into the archive of the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Stephen Jordan is mentioned in the Intelligence reports at a time when he was in Dublin. Records of his periods of imprisonment between 1918 and 1921 at Frongoch, Knutsford and Birmingham are also extant. Kieran has found a reference to open internment in England whereby Stephen had to report daily to the post office in Ross in Surrey. Kieran discusses the disbandment of the men from Lime Park on the Friday of Easter Week 1916. Some men returned to their homes while others went on the run. He references a remark made by a modern journalist with which he disagrees. The men were under fire from all sides and had very few armaments, he says. Stephen Jordan, with £500 on his head, was on the run for six months along with Richard Murphy. Murphy was injured and eventually the two men gave themselves up. Kieran believes that his grandfather met his future wife, Ellen Haverty, on an occasion when he returned home from prison. She was among a group of nurses who had come to the railway station to await the arrival of returning prisoners. He recalls his grandfather as he knew him, and the fact that he gave no indication of his activities in earlier life. Kieran has discovered this information through his own researches.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The 1916 Rising Oral History Collections


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

42.53 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Stephen Jordan (Interviewee’s grandfather)

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore