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Michael O'Kelly remained a prominent republican
activist throughout the revolutionary period. At
Naas Petty Sessions he was sentenced to a week in
Mountjoy Jail, in March 1918, for `unlawfully' selling
potatoes without having a licence from the British
Food Controller. After the evidence was given
Michael O'Kelly said, `I do not recognise the jurisdic-
tion of this court at all. I am a citizen and soldier of
the Irish Republic, and don't recognise this court.'
O'Kelly was interned in the Rath Camp in 1921 until
the General Amnesty in December; he was interned
again during the Civil War, in Newbridge Barracks, in
1923.
In later life he moved to Dublin and worked with the
Irish Independent. He lived at 76 Upper George's
Street, Dun Laoghaire. Michael O'Kelly died in
December 1955, aged eighty-two. His funeral took
place in Glasnevin Cemetery, following Requiem
Mass in the Church of St. Teresa, Clarendon Street,
from where his brother's remains had left thirty-
seven years earlier.
Unfortunately, Séumas O'Kelly has been neglected
in his own country, whereas abroad he has been the
subject of thesis, treatise and translation. It was only
many years after his death that Séumas O'Kelly
What is the Decade of Centenaries?
The period from 1912 to 1922 was one of the most
eventful in Ireland's history. From the campaign for
Home Rule, through World War One and the Easter
Rising of 1916 to the foundation of the Free State,
this was a decade of great change. Campaigns for
social reforms, highlighted by the suffrage move-
ment and the 1913 Lockout, for example, also went
hand in hand with political events. The Decade of
Centenaries programme aims to commemorate
each step that Ireland took between 1912 and 1922
in a tolerant, inclusive and respectful way.
deceased was celebrated by his brother, the Rev.
Father Alphonsus O'Kelly, O.D.C. Wreathes were
received from the Sinn Fein Executive, the staff of
Nationality, the staff of the Leinster Leader, the Co.
Kildare Gaelic League Executive, and Naas (Seán
Connolly) Sinn Fein Club. In the cortege were
Cumann na mBan and other women's organiza-
tions, Sinn Fein clubs, Fianna boys, Gaelic Leaguers,
and the general public. The pathways in the cem-
etery were lined by Volunteers, who were formally
dismissed by their officers, when the internment
had been completed. Some two hundred police
were stationed in the vicinity of Glasnevin.
Séumas O'Kelly was unmarried, but he is said to
have cherished a hopeless passion for the actress
and republican activist, Máire Nic Shiubhlaigh
(Mary Walker), for whom he wrote the play, The
Shuiler's Child
(1909). She was a founder member of
the Abbey theatre and was leading lady on its open-
ing night in 1904. As a member of Cumann na mBan
Nic Shiubhlaigh was at Jacob's Factory in Easter
Week 1916. She married former IRA Director of
Organisation, Eamon Price, in 1929, and died in
1958.
received greater eminence than he received when
he was alive. The twenty-fifth and fiftieth anniversa-
ries of his death saw various commemorations in
his honour. In 1968 a short-lived `Séumas O'Kelly
Society' was formed, in Dublin, to perpetuate his
memory. The following year on 5 December 1970
Gill and Macmillan published A land of loneliness, a
select body of O'Kelly's writings edited and intro-
duced by Eamonn Grennan, of Harvard University.
George Brandon Saul penned a monograph for
`The Irish Writers Series' (Bucknell University Press,
1971). Seumas O'Kelly is remembered too, in Naas,
with a plaque on Leinster Leader house on which
there is inscribed the tribute: `A gentle revolution-
ary.'
James Durney has recently been appointed as
Historian in Residence with Kildare County Council
to deliver the Commemorative Programme for
County Kildare during the Decade of Centenaries.
James is an author/historian who has written
twelve books on local and Irish history to date. His
latest book is `In a Time of War. Kildare 1914-1918',
published by Merrion Press.