“We Have Struck The First Successful Blow to Freedom”

Although Kathleen Clarke had no active role in the Easter Rising, she was arrested and held prisoner in Ship Street Barracks. In the early hours of Wednesday 3 May she was taken from Ship Street and brought to Kilmainham Gaol.

The purpose of the visit was to see her husband Tom Clarke who was to be executed a few hours later. The cell she recalls was only lit by a candle in a jam pot. In the hour they had together she remembers they did not talk about the present but the future.

Before they parted Tom gave Kathleen a message for the Irish people to explain why they had chosen to fight. His words were.

We have struck the first successful blow to freedom. Freedom is coming. But between this and freedom Ireland will go through hell. But Ireland will never lie down again.

Tom Clarke, first signatory of the Proclamation was executed in Kilmainham Gaol on 3 May.

Kathleen Clarke was a member of the Central Branch, Cumann na mBan.

 


Kathleen Clarke was interviewed for the television series 'On Behalf of the Provisional Government', broadcast on 10 April 1966.

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