Here at the blog the team has been delighted and honoured over the years to make the acquaintances of descendants and relatives of very many of the Custom House Men. It has always been a real pleasure to meet, swap information and find out more about the Lads who carried out the Burning.

Every year brings new discoveries and new faces, long may that continue.

Regular Readers will know that a full list of all Custom House attackers remains a dream. We will probably never know the names of all of those great patriots from the War of Independence…

Yet, none of us ever know what information is out there.

Some unique, often spectacular stories have been revealed – for the first time in history – right here!

Past Hints

We do have lists from various sources and have been writing up the lives behind the names. One group in particular is the men arrested on 25 May 1921. We have managed to work out the major life events for them all (apart from one – isn’t there’s always one!).

Some of them had high profiles, like members of the Squad. Quite a few were Coy officers. Of course, most were ‘ordinary’ Volunteers. Several are well-documented in history while the majority were not. A few have sadly slipped from memory. Still, many of them appear in the brilliant photos taken in Kilmainham Gaol.

Burning of Dublin Custom House 1921
Courtesy of the McCabe Family, Co,. Monaghan

For example our newly revealed featured photo (above) shows (left-right): Back row – Charlie McCabe, Tom Kehoe, Paddy Lawson. Front row – Not sure, Frank Bolster, not sure. And, as for the two men in the background…

So, as long as a name – or photo – appears in connection with the Burning, we will do our best to write about the man involved.

But it’s not always possible to tell their full stories. Because, on the list of almost 100 prisoners, there are quite a few whose living relatives or descendants have yet to be identified.

Nevertheless we have previously run articles on a number of them, for example Sean Ward.

Glad to say, some of the men’s stories have come to the notice of their families and we have gotten feedback and even met relatives.

But others have produced no contacts or comments as yet.

Hint, Hint

So, in the hope of catching the attention of someone who has a family tie to those men or knows about any of them, we are beginning a series of profiles of Custom House Fire Brigade Men not already covered here.

In many cases there is more information available to flesh out the subjects a bit more.

Just Snippets

However, in the interest of getting maximum exposure in minimum timescale, brief summary profiles will appear – before more detailed articles are written in due course.

These profiles will be posted in no particular order.

Not Exclusive!

Just to mention one thing. If you do not see a profile for your family’s Custom House hero appearing over the next while, do not be disappointed. If you’ve been in touch here or on our Facebook page, we reckon we have enough information on hand – or available with co-operation from your good self – to be able to write a decent story on him. Or you are most welcome to write it yourself, like a few other relatives have – fair play to them for great stories.

At the end of the day, you are totally free to decide!

Please Tell Us More!

In any event. all contributions – whether from family knowledge, something you’ve picked up or you’ve read, or any information at all – will be gratefully received. Just leave a comment here or email us at

The first profile to appear very shortly will be for Dubliner Jim Foley who used the alias Stephen O’Neill when he was arrested at the Custom House.

The Team