Sunday 19 August 2018

Boy George travels to Ireland for genealogy show and discovers uncle's tragic fate with the IRA

Boy George on BBC's Who Do You Think You Are
Boy George on BBC's Who Do You Think You Are
Boy George on BBC's Who Do You Think You Are
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Boy George said he is both "proud" and "sad" at learning of his uncle's fate in Ireland on Who Do You Think You Are?

The Karma Chameleon singer (57), whose real name is George Alan O'Dowd, travelled to Ireland for his episode of the popular BBC series, in which celebrities trace their family trees. He learned that his great uncle Thomas Bryan was charged with treason after his part in an attempted attack on a police truck in Dublin's Drumcondra in 1921. He was also an active member of the IRA.

Bryan was 23 when he was executed at Mountjoy Prison alongside nine other prisoners and buried in an unmarked grave. "I'm proud and I’m sad. I think that is the best way to describe how I feel," he said.

His widow Annie was pregnant at the time of his death and the baby did not survive. He was arrested just four months after getting married.

"It’s amazing to think that my great aunt married Thomas Bryan and within four months he is arrested on very serious charges and is in prison," he said.

"Her future must have been so uncertain at that point, but I imagine she knew what she was getting involved in.

Boy George on BBC's Who Do You Think You Are
Boy George on BBC's Who Do You Think You Are

"Maybe that is what attracted her to Thomas? His passion… He was a very handsome man."

George was born in London in 1961 to Irish parents Jerry and Dinah O'Dowd.

He described the finding as "overwhelming".

"It’s amazing to discover that this is part of my family history. That is incredible," he added.

"'It’s such an incredible story and mad that no one has ever talked about it. They will now, I will make sure they do."

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