New publication tells amazing stories from Easter Rising trials

A view of O'Connell Bridge during the 1916 Easter Rising

A new book has catalogued the remarkable final moments of the leader of Ireland’s 1916 Rising.

Judge and historian Sean Enright has told their stories from the trial records of the Easter rebellion.

The remarkable book recalls how Kilmainham Gaol inmate Countess Markievicz ‘crawled’ on the ground in distress at the executions. Her own death sentence was later commuted to life.

Amongst the amazing stories in the new book is that of Citizens’ Army leader James Connolly who was brought to his death on a stretcher, and not in a chair as many believe.

Enright also claims that Major John MacBride ‘wished to die’ according to opinion given in the official legal records.

The Irish Independent reports that the new book - ‘Easter Rising 1916: The Trials’ - reveals previously unpublished trial records.

These include the records of Harry Boland and Desmond Fitzgerald who both went on to become ministers in the first Irish parliament.

Author Enright told the paper that consulted records that were released from Britain’s national archives in 2002. He also discovered 16 unreleased files.

He said that 160 people were tried after the Rising without lawyers and in the absence of any media. Most cases lasted 20 minutes and the whole process took 16 days.

He revealed that the trial records were not released at the time because the British army feared they would damage their war effort and recruitment in Ireland.

He added: “I decided to write the book as it is a fascinating and enduring subject - some of it’s never been written before.”

Enright explained that prisoners were shot underneath the window of Countess Markievicz’s cell.  He wrote: “She just crawled when the executions were taking place.

“Similarly, John MacBride did not put forward any defence at his trial and seems to have courted his sentence.”