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Séumas had always been nationalistic and
conscious of the many injustices in Ireland at the
time and was a contributor to the United Irishman,
published by Arthur Griffith ­ who had been a com-
positor in the Leinster Leader's rival paper, the Kildare
Observer,
also published in Naas.
Around 1911, Séumas suffered a severe attack of
rheumatic fever, which left him with a chronic heart
condition. He continued to write extensively and
with increasing skill publishing verse and short
stories; he collaborated with Count Casimir de Mar-
kievicz on the one-act play Lustre. Séumas became
editor of the Dublin Saturday Evening Post in 1912
and moved to Dublin, where he lived in Drumcon-
dra. His editorship at the Leinster Leader was taken
up by his brother, Michael. Séumas attended the
inaugural meeting of the Irish Volunteers, with his
nephew, in November 1913, at the Rotunda. Around
the same time that he moved to Dublin Séumas
began writing a series of Irish sketches for the Man-
chester Guardian,
turning down a permanent job on
the paper.
Séumas O'Kelly left the Evening Post in 1915
because of continuing ill-health. He was offered the
editorship of the Sunday Freeman, but had to retire
after two weeks and returned to live in Naas, in
January 1916. When Michael O'Kelly was arrested
and interned after the Easter Rising he resumed the
editorship of the Leinster Leader until his brother's
In the aftermath of the Rising there were some local
arrests and Michael O'Kelly and his nephew,
Alphonsus Sweeney, were among those picked up.
O'Kelly was imprisoned in the Glasshouse, at the
Curragh and Richmond Barracks, Dublin. He was
deported on 8 May and interned in Wandsworth
Detention Camp and Wakefield Barracks, England.
In early June 1916, after a month in detention, he
was released and resumed editorship of the Leinster
Leader
in August.
Séumas O'Kelly continued to live in Naas until May
1918 when Arthur Griffith was arrested and
deported during the German Plot scare. Despite his
failing health, Séumas assumed editorship of
Nationality. During celebrations after the Armistice
of November 1918 a crowd of soldiers and separa-
tion women attacked the paper's premises, which
were also the headquarters of Sinn Féin. O'Kelly
feebly defended himself with his walking stick, but
suffered a cerebral haemorrhage, which led to his
death in Jervis Street Nursing Home, Dublin, on 14
November 1918. His funeral to Glasnevin Cemetery,
Dublin, turned into a major political demonstration
and his status as a nationalist martyr led to the post-
humous publication of many of his works.
The procession which started at noon from the
Church of St. Teresa, Clarendon Street, was of impos-
ing proportion, while along the route to the cem-
etery the streets were thronged with spectators.
Previous to the removal of the remains from the
church Requiem Mass for the spiritual repose of the
Séumas moved to Naas, Co. Kildare, in 1906, to take up
the post of editor of the Leinster Leader. He lived first in
the town's Main Street, but then in `Abbeyville' a four-
chimney house by the Grand Canal, which provided
the inspiration for his linked series of short stories, The
Golden Barque.
That same year he published his first
major work, By the stream of Kilmeen, a collection of
short stories and sketches.
He brought his father, his sister Nora, and his
nephew, Alphonsus Sweeney, to live with him in
Naas, in 1907. Meanwhile, he had founded a local
branch of the Gaelic League, became an early
member of Naas Sinn Féin, and played host to many
visitors, including Countess Markievicz, who
attended the yearly June commemorations at
Wolfe Tone's grave in nearby Bodenstown. His jour-
nalistic career was accompanied by his develop-
ment as a writer, publishing stories in a variety of
outlets, including the Irish Rosary and the Irish
Packet. He eventually became master of the short
story form.
release in June 1916, his work was complicated by
his having to get all controversial articles passed by
the censor in Dublin Castle.
The strongly nationalistic views of editor, Michael
O'Kelly, were reflected in the Leinster Leader, espe-
cially in reports concerning the British army and its
war effort. In October 1914 O'Kelly wrote a long
editorial on `Ireland and the war' in which he
attacked the `unholy lust of capitalism and others'
and argued that Ireland's quarrel was with Britain
and not Germany. He became President of Naas
Sinn Féin Club and Officer Commanding Naas Com-
pany, Irish Volunteers. In early 1916 a meeting was
held in Michael O'Kelly's home at Gleann na Greine,
Naas, to prepare for local action in support of a gen-
eral rising planned for Easter week. Eoin MacNeill's
countermanding order generated huge confusion
and very few Volunteers mobilized for action at
Easter 1916.