Noel McAllister (b. 1943)
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Noel McAllister (b. 1943)


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Following the death of John McAllister in a farming accident, his brother Charlie took over the farm which their nephew, Noel McAllister, later inherited. Both Michael and Benny McAllister were active in 1916, and Noel has seen Michael’s witness statement. The battle of Ashbourne, in which twenty of the forty strong Fingal Brigade took part, is discussed. Noel gives a detailed description of the event and he recalls his Uncle Benny discussing it with his father. The McAllister farm was located at Beaverstown, near Donabate. Noel’s grandfather, Christopher, was a Redmondite and was pro Home Rule, though his sons were of a different view. They would have known Charlie Weston in Turvey quite well, and Benny McAllister was married to Kathleen Lawless of Saucerstown. Noel explains that he remembers very little discussion taking place about Thomas Ashe, but he recalls Benny McAllister saying that the most frightening night of his life was the night he spent minding the dead after the battle. Noel himself got most of his information from various witness statements. Benny McAllister was sent to Frongoch Camp in Wales after the Rising. Michael and John refused to surrender. John was picked up later but Michael escaped to the USA. Noel’s father, Philip McAllister, was married to Mary McNally of Lusk, and he died when Noel was 14 years old. He had suffered a leg injury around the time of the Rising which is why he did not take part. Noel explains that he heard some stories about life on the run from his uncle Charlie. Charlie McAllister’s role in 1916 was to act as a runner, ensuring that Benny and John McAllister and Charlie Weston were provided with food and clothing while they were staying away from home. They knew that the home farm was being watched so they had to avoid the place. Thomasina Weston, sister of Charlie Weston, was a member of Cumann na mBan, and just recently Noel has discovered that she hid Mike McAllister in her home to prevent his arrest. Noel reflects on the unpopularity of the Rising among the people of north Co. Dublin in general. An anecdote is told about a British officer who cursed the McAllisters’ house in Turvey, and his ghost which has apparently been seen by several people. Noel’s wife, Catherine, describes what she saw in1969. The McAllister family farmhouse was raided several times by the Black and Tans and badly damaged. If the McAllister men came home to help on the farm they would be informed upon and the house would be raided. Noel recounts an anecdote told to him by his mother about an incident involving Benny McAllister during his service in the Free State Army and stationed in Balbriggan. A photograph album is examined and the photographs discussed. Noel explains that Benny McAllister got one of the last guns from the boat at the Howth gun-running in 1914. Noel talks about his own immediate family and expresses his pride in the role played by his relatives a century ago. He has been involved in the Fingal Old IRA Commemorative Society for many decades, and he says that the older members have told him that the national commemorations in 1966 ignored the contribution of Fingal. Benny McAllister is buried in Swords but there is no indication on his headstone of his involvement in the Rising. One of the possible proposals from the committee would be to list the men involved, and Noel reflects on the possible difficulties relating to this.

Additional information



Audio series:

The 1916 Rising Oral History Collections


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

40.22 MB

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Benny McAllister, Michael McAllister and John McAllister (Interviewee’s uncles)

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore