Thomás Ashe, 100th Anniversary & 1916 Societies National Hunger Strike Commemoration/

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Thomás Ashe, 100th Anniversary.

The 1916 Societies will be hosting their annual Hunger Strike Commemoration in Glasnevin, we will be gathering at the G.P.O at 2pm Sunday 24th of September for a procession to Glasnevin Cemetary.

As always our events are non-party political and family friendly,

ALL ARE WELCOME.


In August 1917, Thomás Ashe was arrested and charged with sedition for a speech that he made in Ballinalee, County Longford. He went on the run but was captured in Dublin and detained at the Curragh but was then transferred to Mountjoy Prison in Dublin.

He was convicted and sentenced to two years hard labour. Ashe and other prisoners, including other Kerrymen Fionán Lynch and Austin Stack, demanded prisoner of war status. As this protest evolved Ashe again went on hunger strike on 20 September 1917. As this was a breach of prison discipline the authorities retaliated by taking away the prisoners' beds, bedding, and boots. After five or six days lying on a cold stone floor, the prisoners were subjected to forcible feeding. On 25 September 1917, Fionan Lynch saw Ashe being carried away to receive this treatment and called out to him: ' Stick it Tom boy'. Ashe called back 'I'll stick it, Fin'. That was the last time they spoke to each other. Ashe was carried back, blue in the face and unconscious. He was removed to the Mater Misericordiae Hospital (which actually faces the prison) where he died within a few hours. "Tom Ashe's body lay in state in the hospital morgue, dressed in his Volunteer Republican uniform, and 30,000 mourners filed by.

At the inquest into his death, the jury condemned the staff at the prison for the "inhuman and dangerous operation performed on the prisoner, and other acts of unfeeling and barbaric conduct".

The death of Thomas Ashe and the subsequent funeral procession had a striking effect on the attitude of the Irish people and became a rallying call to the standard of the Irish Republic. Though not on the scale of O'Donovan Rossa's funeral two years previous, the military aspect of the funeral proved that the Irish Volunteers were well on their way to being restored to pre-1916 levels.

Thomas Ashe's remains lay in state in Dublin's City Hall before a funeral procession of over 30,000 marched to Glasnevin Cemetery on 30 September 1917. Michael Collins delivered the funeral eulogy in Irish and English, following the firing of a volley by uniformed Irish Volunteers. The English eulogy being " nothing additional remains to be said. That volley which we have just heard is the only speech which is proper to make above the grave of a dead Fenian".
 
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