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Thursday 8 December 2016

'Fighting was fierce indeed, with casualties heavy among the British'

Rebel Stories

Fionan O Loinsigh
Fionan O Loinsigh

FIonan Lynch was born in 1889 in Kilmakerin, near Cahirsiveen in Co Kerry.

He trained as a teacher and taught in St Michan's School in Dublin from 1912 to 1916.

He was also an Irish scholar and was a member of the Keating Branch of the Gaelic League.

Fionan performed in plays in Irish during 1914 and 1915 and also translated a play from French to Irish for this purpose.

He joined the Irish Volunteers on their formation in November 1913 and trained - and led training - in north Dublin.

Captain

He was subsequently recruited into the IRB by his friend Sean MacDermott.

On Easter Monday 1916 Fionan's 1st battalion of the Irish Volunteers, in which he served as captain of F Company, assembled at Blackhall Place before marching to the nearby Four Courts.

The area was generally quiet until Wednesday but after that the Four Courts was continuously under fire, day and night.

Fionan and his men were active in the areas of Church Street, North King Street and at locations adjacent to the Four Courts.

In a later statement to the Bureau of Military History he wrote: "There was little fighting in our area until the Wednesday, but from that on until the surrender on Saturday evening the fighting was intense.

"I do not wish to boast about valour of my men - I shall merely say that it was a great honour for any man to be their captain."

In a note made in 1965 Fionan stated: "From [Wednesday] on the fighting was very fierce indeed, casualties very heavy among the British when they turned into Cuckoo Lane from North King Street.

Savagery

"Probably explains the savagery of the British in shooting quite innocuous people in North King Street houses. This was unknown to us at the time."

When the surrender order came to the battalion they felt they could continue the fight but Cmdt Ned Daly insisted that the order be obeyed.

After the surrender Fionan was detained in Kilmainham Gaol and sentenced to death.

This was commuted to 10 years penal servitude. He was first sent to Portland prison in Dorset, England and later to Frongoch internment camp in Wales, where he was held until December 1916.

On his release in 1917 he continued his revolutionary activities. He was jailed and undertook a hunger strike in Mountjoy Prison in 1918 to secure political status.

During the War of Independence he preached drilling and arming.

Fionan served on the secretariat of the Irish delegation that travelled to London in 1921 to negotiate the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

He supported the Treaty and later entered politics, serving as both a TD and minister in the 1920s.

He was also appointed a Circuit Court judge. Fionan Lynch died in 1966.

Details submitted by Fionan's son, Dermot Lynch

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