Today, May 3, marks the 100th anniversary of the first executions carried out by the British of Irish rebel figures of the 1916 rebellion. Three of the signatories to the Easter Proclamation were executed by firing squad in the prison yard at Kilmainham Jail: Padraic Pearse, Tom Clarke and Thomas McDonagh.
Their bodies were not returned to their families for burial; instead the British, acting in their usual civilising manner, buried them in quicklime graves at Arbour Hill prison. This also meant the bodies couldn’t be exhumed later for proper burial.
In all, 15 of the leading rebels and one who was simply a younger brother of Pearse, would be executed. Fifteen were executed by firing squad and one (Sir Roger Casement) was hanged.
Least we forget.