Dr. Francis Bourke

S. Mac P.: And… what did it mean for you, the Rising?

F. B.: Well, at that time, it didn’t mean anything very much. It was a surprise. We saw the lights in the city at night, saw the fires, the reflection, and… we saw the Sherwood Foresters marching in. But… of course, we were all in sympathy, needless to remark, even the priests, with the insurgents.

S. Mac. P.: Everybody?

F. B.: Ah yes. As far as I could see, yes. Everybody. As a matter of fact, I remember one of the, one of the… two of the priests… We were all down on the pitch at the time, on the cricket pitch, I think it was, I think it was cricket had started when the news of Kitchener’s death came in. And there was a general cheer, including the priests that were there. But that was, I think that was… before actually, the 1916 insurrection. Now, I’m not sure whether it was before or after it. But it was a great surprise to everyone.

S. Mac P.: The Rising?

F. B.: Yeah, in the Rising. And afterwards we had… Roddy Connolly, James Connolly’s son, and Eoin Mac Neill’s two sons came after the rising, they came to the college. I think they had been in Saint Enda’s, I’m not sure of that.

S. Mac P.: I would have thought, possibly, that before the Rising happened, that when it happened that people weren’t that Nationalistic. That they might have seen the Volunteers, you know, as rebels against their people who were out fighting in France and that? There was a lot of Irishmen in France…

F. B.: Yes, Yes. Well, no that wasn’t so in the college, among the boys there, and I think even among the priests. I’m not quite sure. I wouldn’t know about many of the priests, but some of them at least.

S. Mac P.: It was a fairly Nationalistic place, would you say?

F. B.: I would say so.

S. Mac P.: But yet it was like, a very respectable school. Wasn’t it? And fairly anglicised, was it not?

F. B.: Ah no. Not anglicised like I would say…Clongowes, or Belvedere, for instance.

S. Mac P.: What would have been the difference, d’you think? You played cricket and all that.

F. B.: We did. We played rugby and cricket. Actually, we started hurling in Blackrock College. That was the year I left, or the year after I left, and that was unusual. It wasn’t played in places like Clongowes. And it had to be given up, I think, because they couldn’t get enough of the secondary colleges to compete with them.

S. Mac P.: So the Rising then, for you, just meant you could see the flames in the distance?

F. B.: That’s all. I was only about fifteen at the time.

S. Mac P.: And did you go into Dublin to see the damage?

F. B.: Oh no. We weren’t allowed out, no. Well, not till everything was well settled down.

S. Mac P.: And then, in the aftermath of the Rising then, would you say, there was a great upsurge of sympathy for the shot leaders and that type of thing?

F. B.: Well, by the time, that was, that would be in eh, April. By the time I went home in July, or June or July, I would say there was great sympathy then. I don’t know what the ordinary people in Dublin thought before the executions.

  • Informant
    Dr. Francis Bourke (F. B.)
  • Age
  • Address
    Rathgar, Dublin 6
  • Collector
    Séamas Mac Philib (S. Mac P.)
  • Date of recording
  • Recording context
    Informant’s home
  • Reference
    (ms.) NFC 1963: 47-53, (audio) UFP 0153
  • Faisnéiseoir
    Dr. Francis Bourke (F. B.)
  • Aois
  • Seoladh
    Rathgar, Dublin 6
  • Bailitheoir
    Séamas Mac Philib (S. Mac P.)
  • Dáta Taifeadta
  • Comhthéacs Taifeadta
    Teach an fhaisnéiseora
  • Tagairt
    (ls.) CBÉ 1963: 47-53, (fuaim) UFP 0153
O’Connell Street, looking south as viewed from Nelson’s Pillar [Tomás Ó Muircheartaigh circa 1930]