Thursday, July 29, 2010

Patrick Moran and the Athy Connection

Seven years ago I wrote an eye on Patrick Moran, the County Roscommon man who worked in Athy some nine or ten years before he was hanged in Mountjoy Jail on 14th March 1921. Just a month before his execution John Moran (no relation) but also connected with Athy through his father William who was a native of the town was shot by the Black and Tans in Drogheda. Both men featured in the Eye on the Past No. 541 which appeared in February 2003.

Last week I attended the launch in Kilmainham Jail of May Moran’s book, ‘Executed for Ireland – the Patrick Moran Story’. Published by Mercier Press and written by Patrick Moran’s niece the book tells the story of the young man who took part in the 1916 Rising after which he was imprisoned in Knutsford and Frongoch. He continued his active involvement in the Volunteers after his release.

Born in Crossna near Boyle in County Roscommon in March 1888 Patrick Moran came to Athy in or about September 1910 after serving his time as a grocer’s assistant in Boyle. When he left Boyle he intended to work in Dublin but a job he sought in Doyle’s pub on the North side of Dublin did not materialise. How or why he turned his sights southwards towards Athy 42 miles from Dublin we do not know. Whatever the reason he took up a position as a grocer’s assistant with Stanislaus George Glynn who in 1911 was 52 years old and married to Mary Miriam Glynn from County Armagh. Glynn carried on business as a grocer, wine and spirit merchant and employed a number of people at his premises at No. 42 Duke Street, Athy. Two grocer’s assistants worked on the premises in addition to a porter/messenger who in 1911 was 19 year old Patrick Byrne. In addition there was a domestic servant employed in the house, a position then held by 20 year old Margaret Wall.

Local newspaper reports indicate that while in Athy Patrick Moran played football for the local Geraldine Football Club and as well was a member of the Catholic Young Men’s Society in Stanhope Street. He was also reported as having played an acting part in local amateur dramatics. His fellow worker in Glynns was Carlow man 28 year old Joseph O’Brien who enlisted at the start of the First World War Patrick Moran left Athy in or about July 1912 after he got a job with Doyles of Phibsboro.

May Moran in her excellent book quotes a letter which Stanislaus Glynn wrote in 1915 to Patrick Moran asking him to consider returning to work for him in Athy. In the letter Glynn wrote:-

‘Our Joe of late has a tendency to be careless about the business and I fear the tendency to get tired of constant work may lead him in a wrong direction. I find it hard to keep him from boozers’ company; he is well inclined but very easily led astray so I have decided to make a change in my assistants. We could find no men since O’Brien left for the army, so I tried girls but they are all an utter failure ..... Would you be willing to come to us, your political and other opinions coincide with our own and they will help keep Joe straight ..... The Gaelic League wants a bit of energetic organisation as it is at sixes and sevens and you are just the man to get them together again ..... If you consider this offer let me know your terms, I may say that at present trade being under the average owing to the war I could not afford to pay a big salary .....’

Patrick Moran did not return to Athy but instead stayed in Dublin where soon after joining the Irish Volunteers he was elected adjutant of D. Company Second Battalion of the Dublin Brigade. D. Company was comprised of men who worked in the bar and grocery trade. He was later a member of the Jacobs factory garrison under the command of Eamon De Valera and following the ceasefire and surrender he was imprisoned, initially in Knutsford and later in Frongoch internment camp in North Wales from where he was released on 27th July 1916. He worked in a number of different bars throughout Dublin before becoming foreman in McGees of Blackrock just a few weeks before his final arrest.

All the time he was actively involved in the Volunteer Movement and took a leading part in the events of Bloody Sunday on 22nd November 1920 when British intelligent officers were executed by raiding parties of the Volunteer Movement. May Moran has done enormous research for her book and has been able to discover Patrick Moran’s leading part in the execution of two British intelligent officers who were living in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin.

The story of Patrick Moran’s arrest and subsequent execution in Mountjoy Jail on 14th March 1921 is well recorded. What perhaps is not so well known is that Patrick Moran was a man who was familiar with this town and its people in the years prior to the First World War and who played an active part in the social life of Athy while he lived here. During his term of imprisonment in Mountjoy Jail while awaiting execution he associated with another man whose family were subsequently to have and still have links with the South Kildare town. Frank Flood, one of a number of Flood brothers who were actively involved in the Republican Movement in Dublin during the War of Independence, was also hanged in Mountjoy Jail and his brother Tom Flood subsequently came to live in Athy where he operated the Railway Hotel in Leinster Street.

This well written book should be of great interest to Athy people.

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