Hallow Eve 1916

After the Easter Rising more than 3,000 were arrested for their part or their supposed part. One was Emily, who was held on Remand at Tullamore Gaol for a week, for “…acting in such a manner as to give reasonable grounds for suspecting that she was about to act in a manner prejudicial to the Defense of the Realm”. The Act was passed when WWI broke out in 1914 to control communications at the ports around Britain and Ireland, and subject civilians to the rule of military courts. It was also under D.O.R.A the leaders of the Rising were tried and condemned to death under. Those who were not given the Death Penalty, were given various sentences, the more extreme rebels were sent to prisons across Britain, such as Emily’s friend Darrell Figgis. One such prison was Frongoch in Wales.

The abandoned distillery was repurposed as a prisoner of war camp during WWI

Frongoch, an abandoned distillery was initially used to house prisoners of war. It was sort of repurposed as a detention centre for prisoners of the Rising. The camp comprised of cold, dank, rat infested huts, equally if not more dismal than prison cells. The internees only real comfort was that they were free to mix and mingle with one another. Nevertheless they overheated in the summer and frozen in the colder months of late autumn and early winter, but were ‘saved by the bell’ when they were released just before Christmas 1916 otherwise some may have perished during coldest time of the year. As early as the summer Irish MP, Mr. Ginnell put it to the Home Secretary whether the food given to the Irish prisoners was sufficient for the healthy young countrymen. Mr. Samuel replied; “The diet is identical with that supplied to military and naval prisoners of war and is amply sufficient to keep the prisoners in good health”. It was not. But the Committee of the Irish National Aid and volunteer Dependents’ Fund, which Emily collected and gave generously to, intervened. They set out to make sure that the internees were not deprived of ‘celebrating’ “Hallow Eve”. They put the notice below in the newspapers:


Freeman’s Journal 27 October 1916



Frongoch Internment Camp


Sporting Times 26 December 1891