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  • Writer's pictureFriends of Sinn Féin USA

Thomas MacDonagh Born Today 1878

Thomas with wife Muriel and son Donagh

Thomas MacDonagh, Born on this day in 1878 was an Irish political activist and revolutionary leader. He was one of the seven leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising and a signatory of the Proclamation. He was executed for his part in the Rising at the age of thirty-eight.

Born in Tipperary, Thomas grew up in a literary family and taught english, latin and french at St Coleman's College In Cork. Later while teaching at St. Enda's School in Dublin he met Padraig Pearse with whom he was a founding member of the Irish Volunteers. Thomas was married to Muriel MacDonagh, they had three children together. His son Donagh became a lawyer and later a district court judge in Dublin.

Thomas in his IRB uniform

Thomas later joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1915. During the rising, he was commander of the 2nd Battalion stationed at Jacob's biscuit factory. Following the surrender, Thomas was court-martialed and executed by firing squad on 3 May 1916 at Kilmainham Jail. Thomas was the third signatory of the Proclamation to be shot.

It is said that as he was taken from his cell to be executed, he whistled.

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