The Irish 1916 Rising, with its centenary coming up next year, is all over the place today, Easter Monday, anniversary of the rebellion in Easter, 1916 the consequences of which (to cut a long story short) resulted in the end of British Colonial rule in the majority of the country, and the establishment of the Republic of Ireland. I’ll be heading into the centre of town,where they have re-created Dublin in 1915 for the day – should prove interesting.
My own family’s Rebellion hero – although not a great national hero like many – is an interesting man by all accounts – one JJ or Jimmie Mulkerns. He was a strolling player and aspiring actor at the time of the rising, and who also worked on the Great Western Railway. Family lore has it that he stopped the train he was driving from the West in the middle of Athlone bridge in order to stop troops being transported to Dublin to quash the event, subsequently hopping in a vehicle that was going to Dublin so he could participate in the rebellion.
That may well be third-generation family legend, perhaps, so I’m standing by for various family members – or anybody else – to correct me on this, if you have facts. But there is one fantastic story you won’t read anywhere else, originally published in 1997 in “The Irish Echo” – around the time that Neil Jordan’s film, “Michael Collins” was released. Family lore or not, a lot of it seems to add up – it solves an old Hollywood mystery, and it certainly makes a great yarn.
To read, What Did you do in the War, Grandpa? which first appeared in New York’s Irish Echo newspaper, click on the image at the right, or here. A downloadable PDF of the piece’s full text, for easier reading, will be available later today.