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“It Was A Colossal Shock, A Most Unbelievable Shock”

Although both Liam O’Briain and Harry Nicholls were members of the Irish Volunteers, during the Easter Rising they fought with the Irish Citizen Army under the command of Michael Mallin in the vicinity of the College of Surgeons.

Nicholls, who was Captain of ‘A’ Company 4th Battalion recalls all the officers being summoned back to the College on Sunday morning where Mallin informed them of the surrender. The officers in turn had to relay the information to their sections and bring the men and women back to the building from where they would surrender.

O’Briain describes how Mallin addressed the men and Countess Markievicz was trying to keep up their spirits saying.

I trust Connolly, I trust Connolly.

Before the garrison surrendered, Commandant Mallin ordered his officers to mix among the rank and file in order to save them from idenification.

They know Madame and myself but they don’t know anybody else and there’s no need to give them any further information. 

Michael Mallin was executed in Kimainham Gaol on 8 May. He was forty-one years old.

Liam O’Briain was a member of ‘F’ Company, 1st Battalion, Dublin Brigade, Irish Volunteers. Harry Nicholls was Captain of ‘A’ Company, 4th Battalion, Dublin Brigade, Irish Volunteers.

Liam O'Briain and Harry Nicholls were interviewed for the television programme 'I Remember Easter' broadcast on Telefís Éireann, 22 April 1962.


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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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