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“Mother Operated On Successfully Today”

Brothers Tim and Eugene Ring worked as telegraphers in the British Transatlantic Cable Station on Valentia Island, off the coast of Kerry. Tim was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and in early 1916 he was contacted by Patrick Pearse and the other members of the IRB Supreme Council and given a very important task in connection with the Easter Rising.

On getting word from Dublin, Ring was to cable a coded message to John Devoy, leader of Clan na Gael, the American wing of the Republican movement in New York that the Rising had started. As he and his brother Eugene were experts at their job they were the ideal choice.

Eugene recalls what happened.

The message was “Mother operated on successfully today in Dublin. Signed Kathleen”.

The message was sent successfully but was not only seen by Devoy. The British Ambassador in New York also saw the cable and immediately contacted London to confirm the report. This was the first indication the British had that something serious was underway.

Suspicion immediately fell on the Ring brothers who were soon arrested. Tim was interned in Frongoch Camp, Wales while Eugene was imprisoned in Cahirciveen Barracks.

Eugene Ring was interviewed for the programme 'Pieces of Land : Valentia Island' broadcast 07 June 1976.


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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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