DNA testing of remains from the grounds of a former prison in Cork recently confirmed that Kent was buried there.
Per the Kent family’s wishes, on September 18, his remains will be exhumed from the prison grounds and re-interred with full honors at the family’s plot in Castlelyons, in northern County Cork.
“Thomas Kent was one of many young men who, in pursuit of the goal of Irish freedom, paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Taoiseach Enda Kenny commented as he announced the funeral details.
Kent (51) and his three brothers, Richard, David and William, had intended upon joining the Rising in Dublin, but when the mobilization order was countermanded they stayed at the farm, Bawnard House.
When the Rising went ahead in Dublin the Royal Irish Constabulary were sent to arrest all known sympathizers. They were met at Bawnard House by resistance from the Kent brothers, and engaged in a gunfight that lasted for four hours.
During the fight an RIC officer, Head Constable William Rowe, was killed, and David Kent was seriously wounded. Eventually the Kents surrendered, though Richard made a last minute dash for freedom and was fatally wounded.
Thomas Kent was court-martialed, charged with armed rebellion, and sentenced to execution. William was acquitted and David was sent to Dublin where he was charged with the same offense as Thomas, but his sentence was commuted and he served five years of penal servitude.
Thomas was executed by firing squad on the morning of May 9, 1916, and he was buried mere yards from where he was killed, on the grounds of the Military Detention Barracks – now Cork Prison, Collins Barracks.
The precise location of Kent’s grave had been forgotten until this year, although a plaque on the prison wall commemorates him.
1916’s “Forgotten Rebel” will now receive a Christian burial with full state honors on September 18.
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