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

Happy Birthday Emily

On this day 1867 Emily was born at Windsor Terrace, Edenderry, County Offaly, then King’s County.

On this day one hundred years ago Emily turned 54. At the time a treaty between Ireland and Britain was in the process of being ironed out between both sides. But there was there was a lot more to do with many letters, telegrams and phone calls crisscrossed the Irish Sea until the situation came to a head in December. He spoke at an event in aid of Irish Republican Prisoners in Shelbourne Park, Dublin, that Emily if she was in Dublin at the time would have attended.


Derry Journal 25 September 1867

30 September 1921 – Freeman’s Journal – Dublin, Dublin, Republic o

Custom House Cat

After the Truce the violence that had become commonplace during the War of Independence had all stopped, at least for the time being. The ordinary citizens could go about their business without the fear of walking into an ambush or other violent episodes. After years of wars, uprisings and blight of one kind or another an optimistic of not miraculous news story was greatly welcome.

During the clean up to the Custom House, which had stood in ruin since May of that year workers came across a cat, who had been locked in one of the cellars. Having no way of getting in or out of the basement of the building the workers believed that the lucky creature who had survived a total of 77 days, without food and practically no fresh air, was skin and bone barely able to stand on its four legs.

The foreman took it home, fed it and nursed it back to health. The cat made a full recovery.

The cat was taken home by the foreman to recover and is expected to survive. 



Freeman’s Journal 16 August 1921

Cease Fire

The picture below appeared in the Illustrated London News in July 1921. If the photograph had background noise it would have been the low pitched chant of the Rosary, which was in fact recited when it was taken. The prayerful crowd of men, women and children had assembled outside the Mansion House, Dublin to petition the heavens for peace after a long drawn out war which had claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 over its two and a half year duration. Inside the delegates from both sides were deep in negotiation to determine Ireland’s future.

At midday on Monday July 11th 1921 the the Truce between the IRA and the British Crown Forces came into effect. The cease fire had been negotiated a week before on July 4th, between Eamon de Valera and Arthur Griffith on the Irish side and representing the British was the leader of the British Army in Ireland, Neville Mcready. The Truce was officially announced on July 8th, allowing a week for both sides to lay down arms. In its own way the Truce was a small victory for the Irish side as Britain had never acknowledged that they were at war with the country. They viewed the situation more as a series of violent ambushes and killing by the ‘murder gang’ not the official Irish Republican Army. The Truce validated the fact that a war had taken place, which in turn was a minor victory for the IRA, which would have boded very well with Republicans like Emily.

The general public breathed a sigh of relief. For the first time in a long time they could go about their daily business without the specter of violence looming on the streets. The sporadic turned frequent echoes of gunfire on the streets of Dublin and larger urban centres would fall silent replaced by the more natural sound of human traffic and children playing.

When the ceasefire was announced, it was met with great cheer, and just a little superstition. “Friday is a lucky day they say down the country”. More took a more prayerful view; “And they say again down the country God grant it”.

In Dublin there was a air of festivity with the sounding of sirens on the docks, workers given the day off and children were encouraged to celebrate.

“Back in Ireland, midday on 11 July 1921 was also being marked. At Dublin Port, for instance, American and British steamships signalled support for the truce by sounding their sirens, while many workers, including over 300 corporation labourers and 1,600 men at the Inchicore railway works, were let off from their workplaces, released to enjoy a Monday afternoon in the midst of a July heat wave. Some Dublin schoolchildren were similarly indulged.”


Retail and business took advantage of the festive mood in the hopes that the new lease on life would bring in customers. Some shops even offered special ‘Truce’ discounts on clothing. Their advertising campaign suggests that their clothes would be perfect attire to were to Truce celebrations!


A Truce? Ireland’s Own, Centenary Souvenir Edition 1921 2021; by Eoin Swithin Walsh.

Weekly Freeman’s Journal 30 July 1921


Dublin Evening Telegraph 11 July 1921

Irish Times 11 July 1921

Download PagePrint Page Back to Search Results Image (purchased)

Illustrated London News 16 July 1921

One Hundred Years Apart

In the early summer of 1921 the Anglo Irish War was hurtling to an end, with the IRA depleted in ammunition and many of them in jail. The Crown forces could not quite call victory either as the IRA members still on the streets continued their guerrilla campaign will marginal success. There was no real end in sight until a truce was called at the beginning of July. Emily remained on active service with Cumman na mBan, still willing to fight for her country till the bitter end.

Republicans including women being arrested after the Burning of the Custom House

One hundred years earlier Emily’s great grandfather, Daniel Graisberry, Freeman of Dublin took his place on the city’s Grand Jury. Back in 1821 Daniel Graisberry, who did well out of the establishment of the time, could not have imagined that one of his female descendants would try to dismantle it.


Saunders’s News-Letter 30 April 182

The Irish War of Independence – A Brief Overview

The Sphere 04 June 1921