skip to main content

“We Were Hoping For The Best But We Didn’t Expect It”

Rónán Ceannt was nine years old in 1916 and the only child of Éamonn and Áine Ceannt.

Although at first many of the citizens of Dublin were hostile to the Volunteers, their attitude began to change after the first executions began on 3 May. After the death of John MacBride on 5 May, suddenly the executions stopped. As one of the leaders it was very unlikely that Ceannt would not be executed.

Remembering that time Rónán Ceannt states that he and his mother were told that his father was sentenced to three years penal servitude. Despite his young age Rónán didn’t quite believe the newspaper reports,

I realised that was a little bit too much to hope for.

Despite what the newspapers had reported, at dawn on the 8 May, Éamonn Ceannt, Michael Mallin, Con Colbert and Seán Heuston were executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol.

Although devastated after his father’s execution Rónán recalls that

There was so much excitement… so many masses and so forth were being said, one was buoyed up.


Rónán Ceannt was interviewed for the RTÉ Television project 'Portraits 1916' on 21 November 1965.


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.