Written by Brian Ciepieriski (Originally Published in Apr/May 2016 issue of Ballinasloe Life Magazine)
Even though Dr. Ada English was a member of Cumman na mBan and there was a strong Conradh Organisation in the town through the staff of St. Bridgids the towns peoples involvement in the turbulent events of 100 Easters ago appears somewhat muted.
The East Galway Democrat of May 6th 1916 reported that all the local motorcars were commandeered ‘for the conveyance of the police to the Moyode farm (Athenry). It was feared that there might be a famine in bread but three local bakers motored to Mullingar on yesterday (Sunday) and secured yeast there which relieved the situation ‘as there is an abundance of flour in the town ‘. On account of the dislocation of traffic - eggs were sold on Saturday at 10s per score’
The paper mentions: ‘It was reported in Castlerea on Friday that Ballinasloe was in the hands of the Sinn Feiners and that the streets were wrecked and many people killed. Anxious mothers there sent motor cars for their daughters who were attending the Junior Mistresses Examination, to convey them home”.
A bridal couple on their way to Dublin to spend their honeymoon there could only travel as far as Ballinasloe where they were ‘held up’ since Tuesday but they ‘left the town by car today for Athlone”.
On May 13th the paper reported the arrest of Mr. J. O’Reilly, Manual Instructor in the Ballinasloe Technical School and Mr. Gaffney, Professor in St. Joseph’s College. Both men were handcuffed and handed over to the military authorities in Athenry as ‘suspected Sinn Feiners’.
Taken in 1966, Creagh NS children walking to Mass in St Michael’s for the 50th Anniversary celebration of 1916.
The photo was taken by the late PJ McGuane.
100 years on Ireland marks the centenary of the infamous Rising which occurred April 23rd 1916. St Brigid’s Hospital Heritage Group is spearheading a community based commemoration of this historic event alongside multiple groups and societies from the area.
Taking place on the afternoon of the 23rd of April, there will be several fun and educational activities happening. There will be a parade, a concert and a wreath laying ceremony! Also it is anticipated that camogie matches will be played in honour of Ada English Cumann.
The library will host many interesting activities as well! There will be literature, pictures from the period, stories about the Rising, speakers and more.
Jon Johnston from the group has stated ‘’we want this to be an inclusive that commemorates the events of 100 years ago in our area and the country, which helped shape where we are today’’.