Saturday 18 November 2017

Connolly's close pal who fought at Cuffe Street and Stephen's Green

Rebel stories

Patrick Bradley
Patrick Bradley

Patrick (Paddy) Bradley was born in Athboy, Co Meath in 1893, one of a family of 10 children who lived on a modest farm of land.

At the age of 20 he moved to Dublin where he worked at the Great Southern Railway depot in Inchicore.

He joined the IRB in 1913 and took part in the strike of that year as a committed trade unionist.

During the strike Paddy attended James Larkin's address from the balcony of the Imperial Hotel and around this time he befriended James Connolly, becoming one of the first recruits to join Connolly's Irish Citizen Army (ICA).


A strong friendship developed between the pair and Paddy would later assist Connolly in making ammunition for the Rising.

Paddy also attended rifle training at Liberty Hall and joined street marches at night to learn street fighting tactics. He later took part in operations in the Dublin mountains.

When the Rising started on Easter Monday Paddy was assigned to the College of Surgeons Garrison, off St Stephen's Green.

He is recorded as having fought at a number of locations during Easter week, including at Little's public house at Cuffe Street and the Royal College of Surgeons, under the command of Michael Mallin.

The rebels at the latter outpost took part in the defence of St Stephen's Green against British forces stationed at the Shelbourne Hotel.

Paddy was transferred for a brief period during the week to James Connolly's Dublin brigade at the GPO to assist in the ammunition supply.

He was arrested on Monday May 1, two days after the surrender order was issued by Pearse, and imprisoned.


He later recounted that he was deeply saddened at the arrest and subsequent execution of Connolly, as he saw himself as closer to Connolly than to any of the other Rising leaders (though he also developed a loose friendship with Eamon de Valera).

After his arrest he was sent to Stafford Prison in England and then on to Wormword Scrubs.

He was later transferred to Frongoch internment camp in Wales.

His friend Eamonn Dore recalled: "Bradley was restless and confrontational during this period of confinement and challenged the authorities every chance he got. I believe the grief he suffered after the shooting of Connolly played a big part in his frustrations."

Paddy was released in December 1916 and returned to Dublin. He joined the Irish Volunteers and remained an active member until 1918, at which time he left Dublin.

He worked in Co Laois, where he met his wife-to-be, and eventually moved to Newport, Co Tipperary, where he married in 1920.

He was a strong supporter of de Valera's politics and became an active member of Fianna Fail.

Paddy had a brother Luke, who also played an active role in the Rising.

Paddy Bradley died in 1972.

Details submitted by Patrick Bradley (grandson)

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