independent

Monday 27 January 2020

Two 1916 Rising families reconcile

Patrick McHugh from Australia and Raymond Keogh from Bray shake hands outside Trinity College Dublin
Patrick McHugh from Australia and Raymond Keogh from Bray shake hands outside Trinity College Dublin

Mary Fogarty

Patrick McHugh born in Cairns, North Queensland, Australia and Raymond Keogh from Bray, County Wicklow, as well as other members of the Keogh family met at Trinity College last week for the unveiling of a plaque by Dublin City Council to commemorate the death of Irish Volunteer Gerald Keogh, Raymond's grand-uncle.

Gerald Keogh was reputedly shot outside Trinity College on April 25, 1916, by Australian soldier (Anzac trooper) Mick McHugh - the great-great-uncle of Patrick - during the Easter Rising 1916.

Irish Volunteer Gerald Keogh and Australian trooper Mick McHugh were both young soldiers of the same age (22) but on opposite sides in the 1916 Rising.

Mick was ordered to defend Trinity College during Easter week and is reputed to have killed Gerald while the Irish Volunteer was carrying out direct orders from Patrick Pearse.

Their countries were not at war; their families were not enemies.

In recognition of these facts Raymond handed over a copy of his forthcoming book Shelter and Shadows to Paddy.

The handover took place within the college railings at the foot of Grafton Street, near where Gerald was said to have been killed.

Gerald Keogh was gunned down outside the College on April 25, 1916.

He was killed by soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) who were on leave from front-line duties in France during WWI.

Ironically, Easter Tuesday was the first anniversary of 'Anzac Day', the day that troops of both these southern hemisphere nations suffered losses as they landed on the beaches of Gallipoli.

More poignantly, Gerald was killed at dawn-the very hour that Australians and New Zealanders cherish to remember their own fallen in war.

Gerald had been sent out by Pearse from the GPO late on Monday evening with orders to bring a contingent of 30 volunteers of the Kimmage Garrison to rebel HQ.

These volunteers were waiting instructions at Larkfield House, the home of Joseph Mary Plunkett.

Due to the fact that the Anzacs were under strict orders not to fire first, this contingent was allowed to march past Trinity, four abreast at 1.30 a.m.

Gerald was detained, most likely at Saint Stephen's Green, until dawn.

It is probably no coincidence that shortly after British troops began to rake the area with gunfire from the Shelbourne Hotel and other buildings overlooking the Green, Gerald left that area with dispatches for the GPO.

It was while pelting down Grafton Street on his bicycle, accompanied by two other volunteers, that he came within sight of the Anzacs.

Unfortunately for him, the order not to fire first had been reversed.

Singers-songwriters Kevin McCarthy and Geoff McArthur composed 'Digger in Dublin' which is Mick McHugh's lament for having killed Gerald.

Mick was the only Australian on the roof of Trinity that day.

He was born to Irish parents who hailed from Galway and had migrated to Australia.

Raymond Keogh has been researching the family and published findings on ourownidentity.com.

His book Shelter and Shadows, which deals with his family and Irish Identity is to be published in September 2016.

Bray People

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