Saturday 1 October 2016

Civilian victim of the Rising: Family denied chance to claim victim's body

Published 24/04/2016 | 02:30

Rosanna Heffernan, who died on 27 April 1916, two days after being hit during crossfire between the Volunteers in the South Dublin Union (now James's Hospital) and British soldiers (The Royal Irish Regiment)
Rosanna Heffernan, who died on 27 April 1916, two days after being hit during crossfire between the Volunteers in the South Dublin Union (now James's Hospital) and British soldiers (The Royal Irish Regiment)

Rosanna Heffernan, died on April 27, 1916, two days after being hit during crossfire between the Volunteers in the South Dublin Union (now James's Hospital) and British soldiers (The Royal Irish Regiment)

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For Rosanna

Your name, used over three generations, trips off the tongue easily,

a tribute to your legacy, which we now hold dear,

recalling how, on that April morning,

you ushered your lodgers to the safety of the upstairs room,

only to be struck in the neck by a Mauser bullet which

claimed your life two days later,

and of your hurried burial in burning quicklime,

denying your family their time to grieve:

 

Now as patriots' names are vaunted and wreaths are laid at their last resting places,

we must seek out your quicklime grave to pay respects, long overdue,

and honour your short life,

carrying with us still the dark skin and brown eyes that haunt us from a faded

sepia photograph, as your needless passing torments us:

Rosanna, victim, cherished great-grandmother, who lies among

fallen soldiers in a hospital grounds, It is our purpose to acknowledge you.

Declan Collinge 16/4/16

 

Declan Collinge wrote this tribute to his great-grandmother, Rosanna Heffernan, who died on April 27, 1916, two days after being hit during crossfire between the Volunteers in the South Dublin Union (now James's Hospital) and British soldiers (The Royal Irish Regiment).

The family could not claim the body as she was buried hastily, in a quicklime grave, we believe, in the grounds of Steevens's Hospital (Now the HSE headquarters).

The military historian, Conor Dodd managed to find her death cert and a photo of her, which the Evening Herald published in May 1916. This also appears in Joe Duffy's book, 'Children of the Rising'.

Sunday Independent

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