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“Of Course He Didn’t Know Willie Would Be Dying”

Margaret was the older sister of Patrick and William Pearse. After Patrick had been sentenced to death he requested to see his mother and sister. Dublin city was still a war zone. With sniping and gun fire all around they could not make their way to Kilmainham Gaol.

Unable to say goodbye to his mother in person, Pearse wrote her a letter from his cell in the early hours of 3 May. Margaret recalls that he mentioned all of those who were dear to him and referred to his older sister by her pet name ‘Wow Wow’. As she says

The boys never called me Maggie.

Although he knew that he would most certainly die for his part in the Rising, Patrick believed that his younger brother William would no doubt be imprisoned but would survive. That was not to be the case.

Patrick Pearse was executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol on 3 May 1916. The next day, at the very same spot in the Stonebreakers’ Yard, Kilmainham Gaol, William Pearse was also executed.

Margaret Pearse was a teacher and helped her brother in the running of St Enda’s School. She was a founding member of Fianna Fáil and was elected to Dáil Éireann and was later appointed to Seanad Éireann (Senate). She was a founding member of Ardscoil Éanna, Crumlin. Senator Margaret Pearse died in 1968, she was eighty years old.

Margaret Pearse was interviewed for the television series 'On Behalf of the Provisional Government', broadcast on 12 April 1966.


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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