We have not established definite Old IRA connections for six of the men arrested at the Custom House and interned in Kilmainham. Their names and addresses appear on the Prisoner List drawn up by the British military but not in any list from IRA or other sources. Witness Statements make no reference to them. None appear in any known Kilmainham autograph book. They are not on the Army Census. And there are no relevant Military Service Pension files online. In addition, any family death notices discovered make no mention of Old IRA service.

In any event, Old IRA or not, these men were all arrested and spent almost 6 months in detention accused of hostile action against crown rule. They deserve to be remembered for that punishment and sacrifice.

On the face of it, all the names are those of actual people whose lives can be tracked through public records. But, apart from one of these men, no living family has been traced to contribute to their stories.

Perhaps some Kind Reader will be able to help us out. Is there a name you recognise as an ancestor or relative? Or even an old family friend or neighbour of your parents or grandparents? Or can you spot a familiar address?

In alphabetical order the third man is Michael Byrne from 8 Talbot Place, off Talbot Street. That continues into Store Street which leads to Beresford Place and the Custom House. Another arrested man was Joseph Ryan, from 10 Talbot Place, whose IRA connection has also not been confirmed. Coincidences?

Very little is known about this man who may have served – ‘anonomously’ – in two armies!

  • Born: About 1898 (no record found) in south Dublin City.
  • Parents: Mathew Byrne (Coal Porter) and Anne Leonard, his second wife – Dubliners.
  • Siblings known: Thomas and James (half-brothers), Sarah.
  • Other addresses: 8 Moss Street (1901), 5 Mabbot Street (1911).
  • Occupation: British Soldier, Labourer.
  • Marriage: 8 October 1917 to Elizabeth Laird from 3 Foley Street at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Lower Gloucester (now Sean MacDermott) Street. Soldier.
  • Death: 10 January 1937 aged 39 at St Kevin’s Hospital (now James’ Hospital). A married Labourer late of 8 Talbot Place.
  • Burial: Deansgrange Cemetery, plot Y1/20, West section.
  • Children: Buried in the same plot, a son Mark, born c1933, whose address at his death in 1992 was 126 Clanranald Road, Donnycarney, Dublin 5.
  • Comments:
    • No British military record found. Michael may have used a false name, or his record was possibly destroyed in the WW2 Blitz.
    • His widow Elizabeth lived to the age of 83. At the time of her death in 1978 she lived at 27 St Brendan’s Terrace, Coolock, Dublin 5.

(With thanks to Reader Peter Johnson for inputs leading to above information).

Next time we feature Walter Doolan.