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“He Received Us With Open Arms”

On Easter Monday Eilís Ní Riain, her sister Áine and Emily Elliot went to the GPO but were refused entry. Determined to take part in the Rising they made their way to Reis’s Chambers across the street and were let into the building by ‘Blimey’ O’Connor.

Eliís recalls that the men in Reis’s were starving having eaten all their rations. In need of food the three women returned to the GPO under heavy fire but were stopped by a sentry at the door.

We forced our way through them.

Eventually they saw the ‘Food Controller’ Desmond Fitzgerald who refused to give the women any food as they had not brought an order from their Commanding Officer. He demanded they return to get the order. The women refused and in clear terms told Fitzgerald what they would do.

If you’re not giving it to us we’ll take it.

Finally he relented and gave them a small ration for the garrison and Eilís and her comrades returned safely to Reis’s.

Eilís Ní Riain (later Eilís Bean Ui Chonaill) was a member of the Central Branch, Cumann na mBan.

Eilís Ní Riain (Eilís Bean Ui Chonaill) was interviewed for the programme 'Donncha's Sunday Women of the 1916 Rising' broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1, 27 April 1986. Photograph of Eilís Ní Riain in uniform courtesy of Military Archives.


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