skip to main content

“Wasn’t It A Full Life Lillie And Isn’t This A Good End”

James Connolly was dying from a gunshot wound to the ankle received while inspecting an outpost of the GPO on Thursday 27 April. After Patrick Pearse surrendered to General Lowe, Connolly was taken prisoner to Dublin Castle. Despite the fact that he was not going to live, as a leader of the Rising, he was court martialed and like his fellow signatories sentenced to death.

On the eve of his execution Connolly’s wife Lillie and eldest daughter Nora visited him in the Castle. Nora, recalling the last time she would see her father remembers him trying to remain strong for the family. As his eldest child that responsibility would now fall on Nora’s shoulders.

When no one was looking he slipped her a copy of the statement he made at his court martial which she was to have published.

Finally word came that they had to leave.

Then they told us time was up and we would have to go he was to be shot at dawn.

James Connolly was executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol on 12 May. He was forty-seven years old.

Nora Connolly was Chief Officer, ‘Betsy Gray’ Sluagh, Na Fianna Éireann and O/C Cumann na mBan, Belfast.

Nora Connolly O'Brien was interviewed for the RTÉ Television project 'Portraits 1916' on 30 October 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.