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George and Elizabeth Fullerton: Fighting for the Future


In this article, historian and author Hugh Gault delves into lives of George and Elizabeth Fullerton, local Irish revolutionaries now interned in St James graveyard  Click here for Aaron O Maonaigh

Hugh Gault

Padraig Pearse’s Proclamation at the General Post Office in Dublin at the start of the 1916 Easter Rising referred to the military organisations the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) that were ready to fight for Ireland’s freedom. The ICA had been formed by James Connolly in autumn 1913[1] in response to the brutal policing of the Irish Transport Workers Union (ITWU) rally that resulted in 500 casualties on ‘Bloody Sunday’ 31 August 1913.[2] The rally in O’Connell Street (then called Sackville Street) was a consequence of the Dublin Lockout by employers when workers were being asked to pledge that they would have nothing further to do with the Transport Union started by Jim Larkin in 1909. Over 400 employers on one side were faced by more than a third of the Dublin population, 100,000 people, spread across forty Unions on the other.[3] The ICA was set up originally to defend the ITWU (subsequently the ITGWU) as the latter sought ‘self-determination, industrially, politically, and nationally’, both as workers and as citizens.[4]

There were 363 people registered as members of the ICA by the time of the Easter Rising in 1916 and George Fullerton had joined as the 140th member. He was preceded by Joseph Byrne as number 139 while John Donnelly was number 141. Captain Byrne’s story is told by his grand-daughter:

‘He joined the British army in 1907, but refused service during World War I and instead joined the Irish Citizen Army. Byrne was a docker in Dublin and a member of the ITGWU.  He … was imprisoned following the Rising, but escaped and fled to Glasgow, where he worked on the docks.’[5]

There are several references to John Donnelly in witness statements to the Bureau of Military History, but not necessarily to this one. They had not been the first to join but they were far from the last. Thirty-two of them,[6] including Fullerton and Joseph Byrne, were deployed at St Stephen’s Green on Easter Monday until they and others who had joined them there were forced to retreat to the College of Surgeons the following day.[7]

Elizabeth Fullerton, George’s wife, served in Cumann na mBan the women’s organisation during the Rising,[8] and both would continue the fight for their and Ireland’s future through the turmoil that followed. But, rather than repeat Ó Maonaigh’s article about the period after 1916, this one seeks to ask what drove them to this position in the first place. Many must have felt like taking the fight to the establishment, but only a few did – even counting those who limited their involvement to passive resistance and less compromising support for the freedom fighters themselves. What made the difference to the Fullertons, and why given their young family did they act on it?

In his recent book Fergal Keane has asked similar questions of his forebears in Kerry: why did some get involved and not others, and why did some neighbours choose to actively participate, while others stood aside or even in some cases were on the opposite side?[9] Temperament and opportunity played their part of course, and while some would have been more attuned to the injustices than others, many will have preferred to hang on to what they had and not put it at risk. A few were perhaps less risk averse or found that their sense of injustice outweighed the risk in any case. However, the ability to take this stance implies a certain degree of financial security as well as moral certainty, as JK Galbraith explains in citing Michal Kalecki’s aphorism that ‘the lower a man’s income, the greater, were he rational, his aversion to risk’.[10] Given the poverty in which many people lived, and the absence of a welfare state, some will have been dependent on charity, which has often been used to maintain the status quo and ‘defuse class resentment, not to bring about economic or social equality’.[11] Some may have been grateful, tacitly accepting this as their place in society, while others may have been enraged by the inequity that made their family dependent on handouts from those who had too much. The initial hostile response in Ireland to the Rising provides a broader indication of this acceptance of the status quo and the received establishment; it was only after the British over-reaction and the peremptory executions that views changed.

One key difference between the Keane family and the Fullertons is that the former were mainly involved in the 1919-1923 period, first in the war of independence from Britain and then the civil war between pro-and anti-treaty forces in Ireland. This was in large measure a consequence of living in a rural area that, primed to join the uprising in 1916 stood down on receipt of MacNeill’s premature order calling off the Easter rising, and so were no longer able to provide supporting action in the country once those in Dublin decided to go ahead.  George and Elizabeth Fullerton on the other hand were involved from before 1916 and remained so.


Family Background

George Fullerton was born in 1880 at Inchicore in Dublin. The 1881 and 1891 Census returns for Ireland were pulped during the First World War and in the 1901 return, the first that remains, George was living with his parents and six younger siblings at no. 7 Richmond Cottages, New Kilmainham in North Dublin. ‘Cottages’ makes it sound idyllic, and their house was slightly better than those of many of their neighbours in that it had two windows to the front, enabling it to be designated as a second rather than third class house (those with just one window), but ‘cottages’ is the general name for cheap rented property for working-men and all nine of the family were crammed into two rooms. Only those who could afford them lived in houses. As Ó Maonaigh noted in his article, the Fullerton cottage was ‘part of a fifteen house terrace of similarly sized dwellings, the largest of which contained only three rooms’.[12] This was no. 6 next door occupied by three families and like the Fullertons comprising nine people in all. The Fullerton family were the largest in the terrace, though a family of eight lived at no. 13 and there were two families of seven at both nos. 5 and 11.

George Fullerton was then working as a sawer (an old term for ‘sawyer’), his forty-five year-old father John as a gas stoker and his forty-two year-old mother Mary as a housekeeper. His brothers John and Christopher, aged seventeen and fifteen at the time, were employed as a machine boy and labourer respectively, but their four sisters were still at school (Eileen then aged thirteen, Ethel eleven, Anastasia nine and Cristina seven). There would have been five incomes coming into the house therefore and, while most would have been small, in aggregate may have enabled the family to do more than just exist for virtually the first time in their lives.

Ten years later the parents, John and Mary Fullerton, and their three youngest daughters were still at the same address. This suggests either an inability to move (perhaps because the ‘cottage’ was tied to John Fullerton’s work) or no desire to do so. If the latter, their house was less over-crowded, perhaps was convenient for work, and the community and their neighbours may have suited them. John remained employed as a gas stoker, and his daughters Ethel and Anastasia were working as domestic servants, but neither Mary nor the youngest daughter Cristina were in work. To help supplement their income they had taken in a boarder, a single man Patrick Hogan working as a farm labourer. It may be that he occupied one of the two rooms, meaning that the five Fullertons lived in the other, an arrangement they may have grown used to when their three working sons were at home.  Hogan was a Roman Catholic like the Fullerton family but, whereas they all gave County Dublin as their place of birth in both 1901 and 1911, he had been born in the city itself.

Kilmainham and Inchicore neighbour each other and are to the south of Phoenix Park, separated from it by the river Liffey. They were outside the city boundary until 1900 so this would not preclude any of the family having been born there. In the 1880s Inchicore was best known for the railway works of the Great Southern and Western Railway (GSWR) that had been established in 1844[13] and for Inchicore House in the grounds of which Parnell was to hold an election meeting in 1891, a meeting that had started with a horse-drawn procession from James Street.[14] Parnell died four months later.

Mary Fullerton claimed her age to be fifty in 1911, rather than fifty-two as might have been expected on the basis of the 1901 return, but the most noticeable aspect is a new category added to the 1911 Census asking for the length of marriage, the number of children born and the number still alive. In the thirty-two years they had been married John and Mary had eight children and it must be assumed, therefore, that one had died before 1901, probably having been born in the four years between George and John (junior), as there were otherwise two year gaps between all their other children after the parents’ first year of marriage. According to the return, only four were still alive. As well as the three children still at home, the younger John Fullerton aged twenty-seven, now a fully-fledged machinist, was living with his wife Ellen and their three young children in another two-room cottage at no. 27 Richmond Cottages, only a few houses along from his parents. There are no records of either a Christopher Fullerton aged twenty-five or an Eileen Fullerton aged twenty-three. Eileen may have married and thus changed her surname, making her impossible to trace through the Census alone, or both may have been dead. Alternatively, they may have disappeared, perhaps emigrated, or simply fallen out with their parents. However, it may be instructive that the Fullerton family tree shows neither marriage nor children for Christopher or Eileen and that their brothers George and John (junior) named one son Christopher and the only girl Eileen respectively.

In any case at least five of John and Mary Fullerton’s children were still alive for their oldest child George completed a separate Census return in 1911 for no. 125 James Street, Usher’s Quay in Dublin. It is probable that the Census enumerator had made a mistake in noting four Fullerton children had already died or, if not, perhaps his parents had disowned George. He lived with his wife Elizabeth McDonnell and their three boys George, Christopher and Joseph aged five, three and one respectively. George and Elizabeth had married in 1904, when she was twenty, and another of their children had already died by 1911. James Street was to the east of Kilmainham, nearer the centre of Dublin, and ran parallel to the Liffey. This part of the street was a mixture of residential tenements and commercial premises, with a shop next door at no. 124, others at nos. 105, 118 and 119, two pubs, brewery offices and at nos. 91-96 the Guinness brewery.

George Fullerton and his family shared no. 125 with three other families, the four Connollys, five Tobins and two Tennertys. There were therefore sixteen people in all, each family in one of the four rooms. There were three families next door at no. 126 and some buildings in this part of the street were shared by five or more families. A twenty-eight year-old Joseph Byrne, the man who preceded George into the ICA, lived nearby at no. 52 James St. (There were fourteen people called John Donnelly aged twenty to thirty living in Dublin at the time of the 1911 Ireland Census, one of whom lived nearby at no. 10 School Street, Usher’s Quay.) The house in which Byrne lived with his father had five rooms and accommodated nine other families, two families to a room. Conversely a number of the other buildings comprised one family each. The area was therefore mixed as well as mixed use, and the difference in living conditions would have been apparent to all. One of the supplicant letters to Archbishop Byrne highlighted in Earner-Byrne’s analysis came from Anne C of James Street.[15]

There were two Elizabeth McDonnells aged seventeen in Dublin in 1901, one living with her parents Patrick and Ellen in a three-roomed house at no. 8, New Wapping, North Dock. Her fifty-seven year-old father Patrick was a general labourer, presumably in the docks. The other Elizabeth, her parents and three siblings lived with five other families in a four-roomed building over a shop at no. 11, George’s Quay. Her father, also a general labourer called Patrick, was aged sixty and her two older brothers Nicholas and John were also working. (There were also two Elizabeth McDonnells in Dublin aged nineteen, but neither is the one that married George Fullerton. One was the only Roman Catholic and a servant in a large Protestant household in Glasnevin and the other lived in Swords.)


Political Engagement and Political Action

Arguably, it is more straightforward to identify factors that would deter people from becoming directly involved and taking action. The existence of a young dependant family might be one such and this might be more of a deterrent for mothers than fathers or certainly for both parents at the same time. Yet both George and Elizabeth clearly felt justified in fighting for the cause of freedom despite their young children. Indeed, it is conceivable that this spurred them on for they may have felt that it was only by securing freedom that their children would have a future. If the worst happened, they must have hoped relatives or friends would take the children in to their homes rather than them falling into the industrial school system. What might be surprising though is that, as well as the three sons they had by 1911, they went on to have another five girls: Margaret was born in 1912, Ethel a year after the Dublin Lockout in 1914 and the Republican triplets Kathleen, Grace and Constance in 1917 after the Easter Rising. The triplets were known as such because ‘Their baptismal ceremony in July 1917 was officiated by 1916 Rising leaders Countess Constance Markievicz and Dr Kathleen Lynn, chief medical officer of the Irish Citizen Army’.[16]

For Roman Catholics there was in addition the 1891 papal encyclical Rerum Novarum which specified how employers and employees should act towards each other. This was primarily concerned with industrial disputes but by implication set out the attitudes of tolerance and mutual respect that should inform any society and its citizens. The Dublin Lockout had tested the papal injunctions against violent protest by employees, injury to property or even outraging the employer, but just as the ITGWU judged that employers had failed to deliver on their part of the agreement by preventing Trade Union membership, so the Fullertons may have considered the British establishment to have abandoned its part of the social contract and thus opposition was necessary as well as inevitable.

In both cases, though, it is probable that neither deterrent failed on a one-off, all-or-none basis. What is more likely is that events weakened these deterrents incrementally and progressively over time. That George and Elizabeth went on to have four girls after the Lockout demonstrates both the strength of their relationship as well as their religion and that these factors outweighed any other considerations. Their only alternative would have been abstinence.

On the other side of the equation were the precipitating factors that, almost certainly in combination since each was unlikely to be sufficient on its own, tipped the balance towards action. The Fullerton analysis would be a situational or circumstantial one; that is to say, their actions evolved in response to the events and positions in which they found themselves. As Coogan notes, ‘Change is effected, and history made, by a combination of will and circumstances’.[17] It would in any case only be a handful of people, if any, who opposed the British establishment and then their fellow countrymen in the civil war simply because of personality or for the hell of it. The overwhelming majority had been driven to opposition and it could only be this, and the absence of effective alternatives, that would enable people to withstand the years of lawlessness and terror that followed.

As well as the precipitating factors that started George and Elizabeth Fullerton on their journey from oppressed Catholics to Nationalist freedom fighters, there may well have been sustaining ones that confirmed this as not only the appropriate, but even to their mind the only acceptable, path.


Precipitating Factors

The industrial dispute brought by the ITGWU in 1913 was originally about the right of Dublin tram employees to belong to a Trades Union. The Dublin United Tram Company (DUTC), owned by William Murphy, refused to concede this. Murphy was also the proprietor of the largest selling newspaper in Ireland the Irish Independent, as well as of the Evening Herald, and had been involved in the successful use of the lockout tactic in response to a GSWR dispute in 1911. Shortly after this he had founded the Dublin Employers’ Federation and it is Yeates’ contention that he may have ‘already secured the support of other large employers for a city-wide lockout of ITGWU employees’ in 1913.[18] Murphy and the establishment therefore signally contributed to the escalation of the dispute and the events of Bloody Sunday were simply a further extension of this attempt at suppression, with the police wading into an unarmed crowd of demonstrators. Even the events of the day before, when police had chased strikers through the streets of Dublin, lashing out indiscriminately, had been enough to convert some to Republicanism.[19] The police response to the Beresford Place rally on Saturday 30 August was self-defeating but their reaction was even more heavy-handed the following day when Larkin appeared in disguise on the balcony of William Murphy’s Imperial Hotel in Sackville Street as he had promised he would. The police promptly arrested him and ‘fearing that the crowd would rescue him from their custody, made a charge, in which twenty-three people were injured. Later … there was fighting in the Inchicore district, where tramcars were again attacked … Altogether the number of persons treated at the hospitals is stated to be 400.’[20] There were at least two deaths and eighty arrests, with one policeman struck by a hammer and another stabbed with his own sword.

That the fighting should extend as far as Inchicore should not be all that surprising for ‘Inchicore was a storm centre of the strike. Here was a tram-garage where non-union drivers had to face mass pickets of men, women and children’. When police arrested a picket near the tramway depot that Sunday he was rescued by a crowd of strikers as the police led him past the local Transport Union headquarters. Later women and children were told to go home and ‘leave the men to settle accounts with the police’. The fight went on till past midnight with hundreds of people injured.[21]

The Lockout was not just thought an injustice but was experienced as a physical and psychological blow as well. Men had not been allowed to join a union but their families would starve. This was the first precipitating factor, for there was little enough work around anyway and the few that had it were being deprived in order that the employers could make a point about who held the power. The second would have been the brutality with which the strike was policed, a precursor to the over-reaction with which the British would deal with the Easter Rising. But, by making their point in such extreme fashions, the establishment, in this case the police and the employers, had built up further resentment that would be unleashed in later years.

For some people, perhaps particularly those outside Dublin in rural parts of the country such as Cork or Wexford, there were historic injustices that stretched back beyond the famines in the middle of the nineteenth century to the centuries before it. In places such as Drogheda it might be the mistreatment by Cromwell’s troops that was recalled, while for others it would be the rebellion of 1798. Ned Broy, by then Commissioner of the Irish Police but an informer for Michael Collins in the war of independence, remembered

‘I come from Kildare. We were reared in a grimmer condition than most. We remembered ’98, the yeomanry and what they did. There was a church near where I was born and the Yeos rounded up the women and children, locked them in and set fire to the church. We remembered that, the pitch-capping and the flogging and we talked about Wolfe Tone and the Fenians …’[22]

Such horrors were not easily forgotten, particularly if they were passed down from one generation to the next, and no doubt were what motivated some. But, it is worth noting that Broy continued ‘… the Fenians were riddled with informers. After 1916 I felt it was time we learned the lesson’. It might reasonably be asked therefore whether a rationale based solely on history is a sufficient explanation or sometimes simply a justification. After all it was the British administration Broy had joined before going on to spy for Collins. No doubt some found it both an explanation and the necessary justification for their actions.

In most instances though it would be the immediate injustices that figured largest, and for many of those who lived in urban areas, particularly Dublin, this meant the appalling housing circumstances in which they were forced to live. Ostensibly this was because their poverty did not allow them to afford anything better, but the private sector had little else to offer and in any case found slum tenements were both occupied and profitable.

Ruth McManus judged ‘Ireland’s rural labourers among the best housed of their class in Western Europe’ by 1914, ‘whilst there had been almost no improvement in the plight of the urban slum dweller.[23] Jacinta Prunty is equally telling.[24] Even in the 1926 Census almost half the Dublin population lived in overcrowded dwellings and almost a quarter of those in the city lived four to a room.[25] For Ó Maonaigh, housing conditions such as these ‘inspired many of the prevailing socialist movements in Ireland … to bring about a positive change in the living standards of the Irish working-classes’.[26] Poor housing, and particularly perhaps the accompanying recognition of injustice and inequality, was identified at the time as one of the likely causes of dissatisfaction with the establishment, and therefore of the Rising: ‘… the housing conditions of the working classes in the City of Dublin might have accounted for an underlying sense of dissatisfaction with existing authority’.[27] Nor is the future Trade Union leader Frank Robbins the only commentator to have noted that ‘These conditions were directly related to the emergence of the first real workers’ movement in Ireland, … those who struggled to make a living and survive in the squalor of early twentieth century Dublin …’[28]

Yeates had expanded on this in his earlier book on the Lockout:

‘Housing was an emotive issue in Dublin at the best of times, and seven deaths [in a tenement collapse] brought it to boiling-point. In 1913 there were 25,822 families living in tenements.  Four out of five of these families lived in one room and 1,560 of them lived in cellars …

‘The prevalence of slums in Dublin was in large part due to official neglect …

‘Dublin slum clearance policies were puny. Between 1904 and 1913 the corporation was able to re-house only 4,442 people, leaving over 60,000 living in conditions that its own housing department condemned as unfit for habitation. The municipal effort compared poorly with voluntary housing initiatives. Some of the largest of these had been undertaken by the more progressive and paternalistic of the employers [including Guinness and, perhaps surprisingly, both the GSWR and Murphy’s DUTC].’[29]

However, none of these had benefitted the Fullertons, whether in Richmond Cottages or James Street, and nor had the main voluntary initiatives of the Iveagh (Guinness) Trust or the Dublin Artisans’ Dwelling Company. Consequently,

‘The great majority of working-class families remained dependent on slum landlords for a ceiling over their heads. It suited both tenants and landlords to connive at overcrowding – tenants because they could not afford better, and landlords because it enabled them to squeeze extra income out of these slum properties …

‘[Also,] many councillors were themselves slum landlords … [and it was widely believed] that the corporation’s sanitary officers turned a blind eye to landlords’ breaches of the law.’[30]

Only twenty-six houses were closed as insanitary in the last quarter of 1913, though over 22,000 had been inspected, and not a single landlord was prosecuted for overcrowding. Yet Dublin had the highest death rate of any city in Britain and the sense of injustice must have been profound.

In another of his books, Fox identifies further factors that may have propelled some from industrial protest and socialism to a militant nationalism.[31] In March 1914 the British Army ‘mutinied’ on the Curragh, refusing to take any action against the Ulster Volunteers of Edward Carson who were prepared to fight for partition rather than see Ulster become part of an overall Home Rule Ireland (as the British government was then proposing). In response the ICA produced an anti-partition manifesto and argued that, if it was lawful for Carson to arm, then the workers were equally entitled to do so. This led the ICA leader, James Connolly, to put forward the view that there were ‘no real Nationalists in Ireland outside the Irish Labour Movement’.[32] He concluded that, as in the days of Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet and the Land League (to name but three examples), it would be up to the working men to fight while ‘the capitalists sold out and the lawyers bluffed’.

There may have been other factors, such as the wage discrepancy between Irish workers and those in Britain, both skilled and unskilled, and the reservoir of unskilled workers in Dublin (an estimated 45,000 in 1911 or one-third of the Dublin workforce)[33] that enabled employers to exploit this group with relative impunity. But a grievance over comparative wage rates with Britain might prove academic compared to the risk and likely consequence of unemployment.


Sustaining Factors

Prime among the sustaining factors might have been George Fullerton’s admiration for James Connolly and his horror at Connolly’s execution after the Easter Rising for Connolly, the last to die, ‘was suffering so badly from a bullet wound in the ankle that he had to be given morphine to sleep and strapped into a chair to be shot’.[34] Michael Collins also thought highly of Connolly: ‘Of Pearse and Connolly I admire the latter the most. Connolly was a realist, Pearse the direct opposite. There was an air of earthy directness about Connolly. It impressed me. I would have followed him through hell, had such action been necessary.’[35]

It may be that Fullerton subsequently re-directed his admiration to Collins himself, for they were among the many Irish internees held after the Easter Rising at Frongoch camp in north Wales; and, perhaps additionally, Frongoch proved a university of rebellion for many of those held there (as internment camps often do). Either might explain George and Elizabeth Fullerton fighting on in the war of independence from Britain, though after the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922 Collins and Fullerton were on opposite sides (pro- and anti-Treaty respectively).

Batches of prisoners were released through the remainder of 1916, until Redmond appealed to the new Prime Minister Lloyd George on 19 December that year for the release of the rest. The final batch of 600 Frongoch prisoners were freed on 22 December 1916.[36] However, Fullerton was not among them for, according to Ó Maonaigh, he had been released in July 1916[37] three months after the Easter Rising while Asquith was still Prime Minister. Asquith’s criterion for release was supposedly that people should not be a danger if returned to Ireland, though the assessment was clearly misguided, perhaps more for the sake of appearance than in reality, in Fullerton’s and no doubt many other cases. It would be 17 June 1917 before there was a general amnesty and the leaders released. Dublin crowds celebrated their return, while the ICA laid on a victory parade to welcome back Countess Markievicz.[38]



Overarching all other factors though would have to be beliefs that became stronger as events developed. Becoming such active participants in the Irish fight for freedom implies that George and Elizabeth Fullerton prioritised this ahead of putting bread on the table for their young and growing family, or that they took a longer view in which the latter depended on the former and might do so for generations to come. The pursuit of self-determination was not just an end in itself, therefore, but their way of shaping a future preferable to the present as well as the past.[39]


4869 (5267) words


Fullerton article for FRG


Hugh Gault is a writer and historian.  His most recent book ‘1900 Liverpool Lives: The Threads That Bind’ will be published later in 2019.


[1] Ann Matthews, The Irish Citizen Army (Cork, 2014); Tim Pat Coogan, The twelve apostles: Michael Collins, the squad and Ireland’s fight for freedom (London, 2016), pp 27-28

[2] Padraig Yeates, Lockout: Dublin 1913 (Dublin, 2000), pp 58-75

[3] R. M. Fox, The history of the Irish Citizen Army (Dublin, 1943), p. 3

[4] Ibid, pp 7, 11, 16-40

[5] Interview with Noreen Byrne (28 Dec. 2017)

[6] Fox, History of ICA, p. 145

[7] Matthews, ICA, pp 188-211 (Appendix 1)

[8] Aaron Ó Maonaigh, ‘George Fullerton – Irish revolutionary and local hero’ available at Foundation Resource Group p. 1 (22 Aug. 2017)

[9] Fergal Keane, Wounds: a memoir of love and war (London, 2017)

[10] J. K. Galbraith, A life in our times: memoirs (London, 1981), p. 75

[11] Lindsey Earner-Byrne, Letters of the Catholic poor: poverty in independent Ireland, 1920-1940 (Cambridge, 2017), p. 51

[12] Ó Maonaigh, George Fullerton, p. 1

[13] (7 Dec. 2017)

[14] Seosamh O’Broin, Inchicore, Kilmainham and District (Dublin, 1999), p. 134.

[15] Earner-Byrne, Letters, pp 177-178

[16] Photograph available at (29 Dec. 2017)

[17] Coogan, The twelve apostles, p. 13

[18] Yeates, Lockout, p. 24

[19] Ibid, p. 51

[20] The Times, 1 Sept. 1913

[21] Fox, History of ICA, p. 53

[22] Coogan, The twelve apostles, pp 109-110

[23] Ruth McManus, Dublin, 1910-1940: shaping the city and suburbs (Dublin, 2002), p. 41.  Also cited in Padraig Yeates, A city in turmoil: Dublin 1919-1921 (Dublin, 2012), p. 42

[24] Jacinta Prunty, Dublin slums 1800-1925: a study in urban geography (Dublin, 1999)

[25] Earner-Byrne, Letters, p. 39

[26] Ó Maonaigh, George Fullerton, p. 1

[27] Royal Commission on the rebellion in Ireland: report of Commission [Cd 8279], H. C. 1916, p. 7

[28] Frank Robbins, ‘Labour and Easter week 1916’ in Dublin Historical Record, 28 (1974), pp 21-29

[29] Yeates, Lockout, pp 107-108

[30] Ibid, p. 109

[31] R. M. Fox, Labour in the national struggle (Dublin, 1947), pp 4-5

[32] Irish Worker, 30 May 1914

[33] Yeates, Lockout, p. 31

[34] Coogan, The twelve apostles, p. 37

[35] Ibid, p. 7 (originally in Coogan’s 1990 biography of Collins)

[36] Fox, History of ICA, p. 189; Matthews, ICA, p. 152

[37] Ó Maonaigh, George Fullerton, p. 4

[38] Fox, History of ICA, pp 195-196

[39] My thanks to Jennifer Houghton for bringing Aaron Ó Maonaigh’s article to my attention and suggesting that I might be interested to find out more about her great-uncle George Fullerton; to Eileen Hard for information on the Fullerton family; and to Lindsey Earner-Byrne of University College, Dublin for comments on an earlier draft.

9 Responses

  1. Seán Ryan says:

    George Fullerton brother John Fullerton Died on the Somme October 1916 while serving with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.Both men also my Great Uncles

  2. Emm says:

    I am sitting here with John Fullertons grandaughter maureen from the UK. She is delighted to fund this Article.

  3. Derek J Fullerton says:

    I am Derek J Fullerton, son of George Fullerton who was the first born of my grandparents George and Elizabeth Fullerton. My Father George was born in 1906, and I was born in 1947 at 52 Bow Lane where Jim Larkin and many of the members of the citizen army would meet in Grandfathers small shop, below the flat where I was born..
    I love this article.

  4. Hugh Gault says:

    Dear Derek,

    Many thanks for getting in touch and for your positive comments on the article.

    I will pass your message on to the Fullertons’ great niece who first alerted me to their story. You may know her already but she may wish to get in touch if not.

    Best wishes,

  5. Hello Hugh,
    Many thanks,
    I inherited some memorabilia of that period from my Father George when he passed in 1985. I have quite a number of letters my Grandfather wrote to his wife Elizabeth when he was imprisoned in Mount Joy Jail and also from the Curragh Camp in Kildare during the period of the Civil War.
    These letters are amazing as they give an amazing account of just what these men endured.
    His commitment was total and he was working on teaching himself his native tongue. I have been working on the translation as they are written in old Gaelic.
    His account of conditions there brought tears to my eyes, as it describes what he endured. There are references to Dr. Cathleen Lynn and others. Feel free to email if you have further interest. There are also various booklets and pamphlets that date from this period that may be of interest.

  6. Hello Hugh,
    Many thanks,
    I inherited some memorabilia of that period from my Father George when he passed in 1985. I have quite a number of letters my Grandfather wrote to his wife Elizabeth when he was imprisoned in Mount Joy Jail and also from the Curragh Camp in Kildare during the period of the Civil War.
    These letters are amazing as they give an amazing account of just what these men endured.
    His commitment was total and he was working on teaching himself his native tongue. I have been working on the translation as they are written in old Gaelic.
    His account of conditions there brought tears to my eyes, as it describes what he endured. There are references to Dr. Cathleen Lynn and others. Feel free to email if you have further interest. There are also various booklets and pamphlets that date from this period that may be of interest.
    I would love to contact his great niece, as I have no idea who she is. This article fills in many blanks and enabled me to connect with Sean Ryan and others of the extended family.
    Best to you,

  7. Liam Fullerton says:

    Just wondering are u any connection to donegal Fullerton s

  8. Leonard Thornton says:

    Hello Derek

    I was hoping to get in touch, I’m the son of Michael Brennan, your cousin I believe as his mother was Kathleen Fullerton, married to Thomas Brennan.

    My email is

    I’d love to talk more about the family history and learn as much as possible.

  9. Leonard Thornton says:

    Hello Derek,

    I was hoping to get in contact if you return to this article.

    I’m the son of your cousin, Michael Brennan, who’s parents were Kathleen Fullerton (your aunt) and Thomas Brennan.

    My email is if you can please get in contact, I’d love to discuss the family more.

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