Royal Irish Academy

A Revolution in Profiles - Co. Offaly

In association with The Royal Irish Academy

Peter Fahey 1893-1916

Peter Fahey was born at Birr in 1893 to Patrick and Ellen Fahey. At the time of the 1901 census, the Faheys’ were living at Chapel Lane, ten years later they had relocated to Mill Street. Patrick Fahey was a shoemaker employed in Birr Workhouse. Three of Peters brothers enlisted in the British army and served with the Leinster Regiment during the Great War. Private Gregory Fahey was hospitalised with shellshock in October 1916, and Sergeant Patrick Fahey was wounded in March 1917.

When the 1916 Rising erupted Peter Fahey was working as a tailor in Dublin. He was recently married, and his wife Catherine was expecting the couple’s first child.

Eoin MacNeill’s cancellation of the Volunteer mobilisation on Easter Sunday and the confusion that followed, meant that rebel leaders had less men under their command than anticipated when the Rising finally did go ahead on Monday 24 April.

Without sufficient manpower to secure Kingsbridge railway station, James Connolly ordered volunteers under Sean Heuston occupy the Mendicity Institute in Ushers Island. The Mendicity was Georgian townhouse repurposed to provide meals and charity to the city’s poor. Heuston and his men were expected to impede the advance of troops from the Royal Barracks (Now Collins Barracks) towards the Four Courts for a few hours, but the occupation ended up lasting two days. During that time, fierce gun battles raged between the building’s defenders and British forces.

On the night of 25 April, Peter Fahey was staying at the home of his sister in Ushers Island. Having recited the rosary, he was shot dead by a stray bullet which was almost certainly fired during the fighting around the Mendicity Institute. Fahey was one of the 262 civilians killed during Easter Week amongst a total death toll of 485 people.

He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

 

The author wishes to acknowledge the research of Dr. Philip McConway into Offaly natives and the 1916 Rising.


Sources:

1901 and 1911 Census. Search online at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search/

Dr. Philip McConway. ‘Offaly’s links to the 1916 Rising’. Online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkEiuHJc8J0

Dr Phillip McConway. ‘Offaly Civilians and the 1916 Rising’ in conjunction with Offaly County Council and Irelands 2016 in Rising’ In Offaly Heritage 9 edited by Ciaran Reilly. (Tullamore) 2016.

Daithí O Corráin and Eunan O’Halpin. The dead of the Irish Revolution. (Yale) 2020. 

Dublin Daily Express 9 May 1916.

Leinster Reporter 12 August 1916. 28 April 1917.

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