Lecture – 2002
Author – Curtis, Bairbre
“Little has been written about the footsoldiers, the ordinary men and women who supported the bid for Independence”. In this paper the author focuses on the social and cultural background of the men of the Fifth Fingal Brigade, with special reference to Thomas Ashe and Richard Coleman. They achieved one of the few convincing military successes during the brief rebellion, at Ashbourne, Co. Meath. Thomas Ashe, who was Commandant of the Ashbourne Brigade, was possibly the main influence in cultivating the spirit of Nationalism in the area. Schoolmaster at Corduff. He was a member of the same branch of the Gaelic League in Dublin, the Keating Branch, which included Thomas McDonagh, Richard Mulcahy, Cathal Brugha and Michael Collins. He was a popular teacher as he did not believe in corporal punishment, and held Irish classes in Lusk library and Irish dancing classes also. A dramatic society flourished under his direction and he founded the Black Raven Pipers around 1910. Three years later, they won the Irish championship in Galway.