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Rebels’ Priests: The Capuchin Friars and the 1916 Rising / Alice Cashel and The Lights of Leaca Bán

15:30 - 18:00

Capuchin Friary Church

Joe Little’s introduction will include a reflection on his two forbears, PJ Little and Dr Christopher O’Brien, who – like the Capuchin friars – risked their lives during the events surrounding Easter Week 1916 without being combatants.


Rebels’ Priests: The Capuchin Friars and the 1916 Rising

“I went up to the Capuchin Friary in Church Street not expecting anything tragic” – Elizabeth Colbert

This is the story of the Capuchin Friars who found themselves in the thick of the fighting of Easter Week, as British forces repeatedly attacked Volunteer positions around Church Street and at the Four Courts. The Friars were in constant attendance, providing consolations to the combatants, conveying the wounded to Richmond Hospital and hearing the confessions of the Volunteers. Subsequently, the Capuchins mediated negotiations between the British Army and the Rebel leaders, and ministered to the leaders awaiting execution in Kilmainham Gaol.

Dr Brian Kirby, Archivist, Irish Capuchin Archives.


Music from The Doyle Family Ensemble


Alice Cashel and The Lights of Leaca Bán 

Illustrated talk and live music remembering Alice M. Cashel (1878-1958). A member of Sinn Féin since its inception, Cashel was active in the Easter Rising in Cork. Her many roles included organiser for Cumann na mBan, spy, Sinn Féin judge, vice-chairwoman of Galway County Council and educator. Though her name is not widely known, her pro-rebellion young people’s novel The Lights of Leaca Bán (1935) was taught in schools in the early years of the Irish Free State. Christine Cozzens, Professor of English, Agnes Scott College, Georgia, USA.

Dr Christine Cozzens, Charles A. Dana Professor, Agnes Scott College, Georgia, US.

Following Christine Cozzens’ talk, Na Tonnta will perform some traditional Irish songs in their own style. Dynamic five-piece Dundalk trad Irish group Na Tonnta interpret the words of Alice Cashel when they perform the hauntingly beautiful Leaca Bán, arranged by Stephanie Caffrey. Leaca Bán emerges into 2016 in glorious reprose through the hands of young, skilled and creative musicians.

Photograph courtesy of the RTÉ Archives


Abbey Theatre, An Garda Siochana, Association of Professional Genealogists Ireland, Band of An Garda Siochana, Buswells Hotel, Capuchin Friary, Century Ireland, Cobblestone, Conradh na Gaeilge, Dubray Books Grafton Street, Dublin Fire Brigade Pipe Band, Dublin Institute of Technology, Eason’s O’Connell Street, Gallery of Photography. Garda Historical Society, Generator Hostel, Glasnevin Trust, Grafton Barbers, Hodges Figgis Dawson Street, Irish Film Archive, Irish Veteran & Vintage Car Club. John Shevlin Millinery, Little Museum of Dublin, Louis Copeland & Sons, Manning's Bakery, Massey Funeral Directors, Maynooth University, Merrion Square Artists Association, National College of Art and Design, National Library of Ireland, National Museum at Collins Barracks, National Transport Museum of Ireland, NUI Galway, Poetry Ireland, Queen's University Belfast, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association, Royal Hibernian Academy, St Michan's Church of Ireland Parish, St Michan's Roman Catholic Parish, St Vincent de Paul, SIPTU, The Four Courts, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Limerick, University of Ulster, Whyte’s Irish Art & Collectables, National Print Museum, Irish Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers, ICA, Feltmakers Ireland, Irish Woodturners Guild, Doran Barber Shop The Pram Doctor, The Merrion Square Artists Association, The Dice Bar, Third Space, The Family Resource Centre St. Michael’s Estate, Brown Bag Films, The Stoneybatter and Smithfield People’s History Project, The Revenue Museum,

RTÉ would like to gratefully acknowledge the support and participation of the individual speakers who were kind enough to share their research and private collections with the public as part of the RTÉ Reflecting the Rising project. A big thanks also to the many volunteers and actors who gave their time so generously to help make RTÉ Reflecting the Rising a memorable and successful day.

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