Nelson Pillar in 1916 after the Easter Rising.WikiCommons

Paul Horan, an assistant professor at Trinity College Dublin, asserts that Nurse Margaret Keogh is the forgotten first victim of the Easter Rising. He claims that Keogh, from Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow and a grand niece of Captain Myles Keogh, was shot dead by British soldiers as she rushed to help the wounded.

Horan explained he only stumbled upon her story as he searched for his own family’s connection to the Rising. Horan told the Irish Daily Mirror, “I was reading through reports on the Easter Rising and totally by accident, I learned about this lady, and I got curious.

“That’s how I found who she was. Margaret was working as a nurse in the South Dublin Union and she had been on the top floor of the building when she heard shots. So she came down the stairs to see to the patients and she was shot dead by a British soldier,” Horan explained.

He added that, “She would have been wearing her uniform so I find it very distasteful.”

Horan also discovered that Volunteer Commander Eamon Ceant referred to Margaret as the first martyr of the Rising. Despite being known at the time of the Rising, Margaret’s story has largely been left out of history.

Horan explained, “I think she was airbrushed out of history because the British were in charge of the propaganda, and they didn’t want the world to know that a British soldier had shot a nurse in uniform. It didn’t paint them in a good light.”

The shell of the G.P.O. on Sackville Street (later O'Connell Street), Dublin in the aftermath of the 1916 Rising. Image: Wikicommons.

The shell of the G.P.O. on Sackville Street (later O'Connell Street), Dublin in the aftermath of the 1916 Rising. Image: Wikicommons.

He went on to elaborate that “it’s tragic to say but the Irish had so many martyrs at the same time, they had their executed leaders, so they didn’t necessarily feel the need to tell her story.”

Horan, like many others, believes we should right this wrong. He said, “I’d like Margaret Keogh to become a symbol of reconciliation and peace.”

H/T: Irish Mirror