Rosemary Thompson Beckett (b. 1948)
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Rosemary Thompson Beckett (b. 1948)


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Rosemary Thompson Beckett (née O’Hanrahan) recalls her father, Micheál O’Hanrahan, discussing Irish freedom with his friends during her childhood. He had been named for his uncle, Micheál O’Hanrahan. Rosemary’s grandfather, Edward O’Hanrahan, was from New Ross, Co. Wexford. He worked in the postal service and lived in various parts of the country, and his son, Micheál, was born in 1918 in Galway, two years after the execution of his uncle Micheál O’Hanrahan. He was the youngest of the six children of Edward and Margaret O’Hanrahan. He was proud of his uncle’s involvement and wished to see a thirty-two county Ireland, his daughter explains. The executed patriot Micheál O’Hanrahan’s parents were Richard O’Hanrahan and Mary Williams. Rosemary’s father, Micheál O’Hanrahan, moved to Oxford for work and was eventually to set up an Irish public house business there. He had started out as a journalist, as had his uncle. Three of his aunts were involved in the struggle. They were also actors and were known as the ‘three disgraces’! Micheál O’Hanrahan was 39 years old when he was executed for his part in the 1916 Rising, during which he was based at Jacob’s Factory. He was a teacher, spoke eleven languages and was a writer at the time of the Troubles. Rosemary discusses General Maxwell who gave the orders for the executions. It is her opinion that the men gave their lives for Ireland. In Rosemary’s experience, the most outstanding historical commemoration was the 75th anniversary of the Rising. She recalls her visit to New Ross seeking information about Micheál O’Hanrahan, following which the family received an invitation from Councillor Jim Walsh to the celebrations in 1991. Her father was honoured to be asked to lay a wreath at the Tholsel in New Ross. The O’Hanrahan family moved to the South Circular Road in Dublin, and after the Rising, they experienced difficult times financially. Rosemary remembers hearing stories about raids by the Black and Tans when some of the family lived at Corrig Avenue in Dún Laoghaire. Her father did not speak to her about the family history but as she got older she began to ask questions. Her mother was Betty Dandridge who was English born, and the couple had married in 1945 and were living in Dún Laoghaire when Rosemary was born. The immediate family accepted Betty but Micheál’s sisters were affronted by her nationality, Rosemary says, though Betty knew nothing about Irish history. Rosemary remembers that the sisters would cross the road rather than encounter her mother, though she feels that this was due to a lack of understanding on their part. Rosemary is a poet, and here she reads a poem about the Irish struggle for freedom, written in 2014. She explains that Micheál O’Hanrahan played the uilleann pipes for the Pope on one occasion and that her father was a great singer. Before Rosemary was born, her father started a private car hire business. His mother, Margaret Mary Keegan, widow of Edward O’Hanrahan, lived with the family for a time. Her Kilkenny family were coach painters. She is remembered as being lady-like, and when angry she would whistle a tune! A postcard from Mrs O’Hanrahan to Betty O’Hanrahan is read. Rosemary describes the role of her father in extinguishing a fire at the Guinness brewery in Dublin. Her grandfather’s career as a postmaster is recalled. At one time, the family lived in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, having moved from Salthill in Galway. Rosemary speaks again about the 75th 1916 commemoration in New Ross. Her father was presented with a medal, crafted by Séamus Furlong, which made her very proud. She examines and discusses some family memorabilia, and reads another poem entitled The Leaving. In conclusion, she reflects on how patriot Micheál O’Hanrahan might feel about the Ireland of today.

Additional information



Audio series:

The 1916 Rising Oral History Collections


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

39.51 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Micheál O’Hanrahan (Interviewee’s granduncle)

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