skip to main content

“Pearse Whispered To Us To Hide Our Arms”

During the Easter Rising Enniscorthy town was taken and held by the Wexford Brigade, Irish Volunteers who established their headquarters in the Athenaeum. Volunteers from the surrounding areas took over the RIC barracks in Ferns. Despite this initial local success on 30 April news arrived from Dublin that the Rising was over, Patrick Pearse had surrendered to the British forces.

Volunteers Seamus Doyle and Sean Etchingham were given permission to travel to Dublin and meet with Pearse to get confirmation of the order.

On reaching Dublin they were brought to Arbour Hill Prison where Pearse was being detained. Seamus Doyle remembers that although he seemed very tired Pearse was in good spirits. He then wrote an order for them to lay down their arms.

Managing to get a few moments alone with their Commander in Chief, Doyle states that Pearse had another message for the Volunteers. That message was to hide their arms, not give them up completely.

…They will be needed later. 

Doyle and Etchingham returned to Enniscorthy and relayed Pearse’s instructions. After laying down their arms the Volunteers were arrested.

At the time of the Easter Rising Seamus Doyle held the rank of Adjutant, Wexford Brigade, Irish Volunteers. He later went on to command the Brigade in the War of Independence.

Seamus Doyle was interviewed for the programme 'The Boys of Wexford', broadcast on Radio Éireann, 11 April 1966. Photograph of Arbour Hill Prison courtesy of 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.

RTÉ Commercial Enterprises Limited, Registered in Dublin, Registration Number:155076.
Registered Office: Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland.