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George Fullerton – Irish Revolutionary and Local Hero

George Fullerton – Irish Revolutionary and Local Hero

On Monday 25 April 2016 a special service took place at the graveyard adjoining the former Anglican Church on James’s Street in memory of 1916 Easter Rising veterans Lieutenant George Fullerton of the Irish Citizen Army and his wife, Elizabeth Fullerton who served in Cumann na mBan, both of whom lived at fifty-three Bow Lane West, James’s Street. The Fullertons are two of three Easter Rising rebels whose remains reside at St. James’ Graveyard, the other is John James O’Grady, a member of A Company, 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers, who was killed in action on 29 April 1916.[1] Whilst Seán J. Murphy has written an admirable pen-portrait of O’Grady and his part in the Rising no such treatment exists for the Fullertons.[2] This article attempts to redress that imbalance and provide as much as the evidence allows, an account of the Fullertons and their part in the national struggle 1913-1923.

George Fullerton was born at Inchicore in 1880, the eldest of three sons and four daughters of John Fullerton, a gas stoker, and Mary Fullerton, a house keeper.[3] At the time of the 1901 census all nine members of the Fullerton family were living in a miniscule two-roomed dwelling, no. 7  Richmond Cottages in New Kilmainham which was part of a fifteen house terrace of similarly sized dwellings, the largest of which contained only three rooms.[4] Conditions such as those in which the Fullertons lived inspired many of the prevailing socialist movements in Ireland-and indeed Citizen Army members-to bring about a positive change in the living standards of the Irish working-classes.[5] This was a point which was not lost upon the elitist composers of the Royal Commission on the Rebellion in Ireland, whose concluding report upon the causes of the Rising noted, somewhat reluctantly and perhaps understating the fact, that in the prevailing economic climate ‘…the housing conditions of the working classes in the City of Dublin might have accounted for an underlying sense of dissatisfaction with [the] existing authority […]’.[6]

At the age of twenty-four George Fullerton married Elizabeth McDonnell (1881-1963) in a Roman Catholic ceremony on 17 March 1904.[7] The newly-weds took up residence in 14 North King Street (1906), 3 Commons Buildings (1908) and later 125 James’s Street (1911) where they began to start a family, the first of which was a son named George who was born in 1906, George was followed by Christopher (1908), Joseph (1910), Margaret (1912), and Ethel (1914).[8]

In 1917 the Fullertons, then living at 52 Bow Lane, welcomed three new additions to their family, the so-called ‘Republican Triplets’ – Kathleen, Grace and Constance.[9] 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.[10]

A Member of the Irish Trade and General Workers Union (ITGWU) and a labourer at the Great Southern & Western Railway’s (G.S. & W.R.) Inchicore Works, in October 1913 George Fullerton joined the Inchicore-Crumlin branch of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA).[11] The ICA was created as a citizen’s militia aligned to the ITGWU and was established as a direct result of the violence which erupted on the streets of Dublin during ‘The Lockout’ in August 1913.[12] Continued police hostility to protesting workers following ‘Bloody Sunday’ highlighted the need for the trade unions to provide a protective defence-force for its members.[13]  Previous to the ICA’s formation and no later than a week after commencement of the Dublin Lockout, Bob de Coeur had called a meeting of the Aungier Street branch of the ITGWU which culminated in the establishment of a small defence corp; who armed with hurleys would act as a ‘bodyguard’ for any public trade union activities.[14]  This defence corp underwent further development when following a rousing speech by James Connolly at Dublin’s Liberty Hall on 13 October 1913 the Irish Citizen Army was established.[15]  During his speech, Connolly called for the establishment of a citizen’s army, proclaiming “we are going to have a worker’s army. We are not going to allow our members and our workers to be battened down by the armed and disciplined force, we are going to have a disciplined army”.[16] In order to train the fledgling force help was enlisted in the form of decorated Boer War veteran Jack White DSO.[17] Beginning in late October 1913, White proceeded to enlist and drill the force’s initial recruits at the ITGWU’s Croydon Park estate, from this point forward the small band of hurley-wielding men became known as the Irish Citizen Army.[18]  The Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers joined forces for the ensuing struggle only a few weeks prior to the Easter Rising, although, the need for a united front of Citizen Army and Volunteers had been realised some months prior.[19] Indeed the early years of both organisations were notable for a marked animosity between the two groups. Thomas Clarke, a senior figure in the Irish Republican Brotherhood and member of the Irish Volunteers, blamed a faction whom he believed was led by Seán O’Casey as the instigators of much of the ill-will towards the Volunteers.[20]

Initially the plan had been for Connolly’s small force to rise out alone-which threatened to scupper the plans of the secret Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) led military council- but following some coercion in the guise of Seán MacDiarmada and Pádraig Pearse of the IRB’s secret military council Connolly’s plan was shelved in favour of a cooperative endeavour undertaken by both parties.[21] In the lead up to the Rising the authorities frequently sought to suppress ‘seditious’ and avowedly nationalist publications, one such move resulted in the immediate mobilisation of the Citizen Army and threatened to prematurely trigger an outbreak of armed confrontation between Connolly’s force and the authorities. Tensions in the Citizen Army’s Liberty Hall headquarters reached fever pitch when on 24 March 1916 a number of the Dublin Metropolitan Police entered the shop of the Workers’ Co-Operative Society at no. 31 Eden Quay, and demanded every copy of The Gael.[22] Earlier in the day members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police had raided the Gaelic Press Works at 30 Upper Liffey Street where The Gael and other ‘seditious’ publications were produced.[23] Upon their arrival Rosie Hackett went next door to Liberty Hall to inform James Connolly of the police’s arrival and after a tense exchange-during which Connolly told the DMP men to “drop those papers or I’ll drop you”- the authorities were finally admitted to search the premises, albeit on condition that they produced a warrant.[24]  Embarrassingly for the DMP there were no copies of The Gael on the premises before the raid had taken place.[25] Nevertheless, the experience had aroused the suspicions of the authorities’ true intentions and led to Connolly calling into action the Citizen Army to defend Liberty Hall. Heeding the summons to mobilise, workers downed tools and poured in from their various workplaces, including the men of the Inchicore Works who upon collecting their kit from Emmet Hall marched towards their destination under the command of Michael Mallin.[26] The DMP report described the incident thus, ‘every door, window and passage leading to the building were [sic], from an early hour, guarded by men in uniform with rifles and fixed bayonets’.[27] From the evening of 24 March Liberty Hall was garrisoned by the Citizen Army who working in shifts conducted patrols of the building’s perimeter and guarded the various entry points until they marched out together in arms on the morning of Easter Monday 1916.[28]

At approximately 11.45 a.m. on Easter Monday the ICA bugler William Oman sounded the fall-in at Liberty Hall which gave the cue to the Citizen army to assemble and form sections.[29] The body of men, including Fullerton, under the command of Commandant Michael Mallin marched out from Beresford Place, went across Butt Bridge, down Tara Street and to the right to College Green, continuing up Grafton Street until they reached their destination, at St. Stephen’s Green.[30] The decision of the ICA-and by proxy, Commandant Michael Mallin- to occupy the open space at St. Stephen’s Green, the digging of trenches, and the failure to take over any of the numerous tall overlooking buildings in the vicinity, has garnered much criticism from historians and some contemporary commentators alike.[31]  Summarising the charges levelled against him, Mallin’s most recent biographer concedes that although much of the criticism is valid, ‘tactics aside, Mallin’s own individual performance, under immense strain, was impressive’.[32] Apart from the criticism, the occupation of the Green and the digging of trenches was a source of bemusement and bewilderment for those lodging in the vicinity, including the popular opera singer of the era Elsie McDermid, who was then staying at the Shelbourne Hotel overlooking the park. Much to her surprise, McDermid, who was in Dublin to perform in Gilbert and Sullivan shows at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, had unwittingly took up lodgings at the epicentre of the local fighting. Describing the scenes around the Green McDermid wrote, with some naivety, “there they were with fixed bayonets and digging trenches in the Green!”, “you would have thought you were at the war. Shot after shot – volleys after volleys [sic] …”[33]

The failure to occupy the Shelbourne Hotel with its commanding view of the Green rendered the Citizen Army’s trenches obsolete and allowed the British Troops within the overlooking hotel to rake, with little impunity, the rebels’ vulnerable position in the Green with machine gun fire.[34] Commandant Mallin detailed Frank Robbins-who had recently returned from the ICA outposts in the Portobello area-to take over the College of Surgeons, the object being to hold the building and also to obtain the arms and ammunition which were stored in the College, belonging to the officers’ training corps attached to the College and under the direction of the British Army.[35] Realising the situation in the Green was a perilous one Mallin gave the order to evacuate the Green and retreat to the RCSI at dawn on Tuesday morning; the rebel forces’ occupation of the Green lasted less than twenty hours.[36]

It was during this evacuation that George was shot and wounded at approximately 8 a.m. on 25th April 1916.[37] In his contemporaneous account of the Rising Dublin journalist James Stephens succinctly portrays the perilous situation the rebels found themselves in the St. Stephen’s Green area on the day that Fullerton was shot and wounded.

Inside the Green railings four bodies could be seen lying on the ground. They were dead Volunteers. The rain was falling now persistently, and persistently from the Green and from the Shelbourne Hotel snipers were exchanging bullets. Some distance beyond the Shelbourne I saw another Volunteer stretched out on a seat just within the railings. He was not dead, for, now and again, his hand moved feebly in a gesture for aid; the hand was completely red with blood. His face could not be seen. He was just a limp mass, upon which the rain beat pitilessly, and he was sodden and shapeless, and most miserable to see. His companions could not draw him in for the spot was covered by the snipers from the Shelbourne. Bystanders stated that several attempts had already been made to rescue him, but that he would have to remain there until the fall of night.[38]

On that same day at approx 3.30 p.m. Elizabeth Fullerton was busy carrying a dispatch from James Connolly in the GPO to Commandant Ned Daly’s outpost at North King Street; unbeknownst to Elizabeth, at the same time Commandant Daly’s sister Nora was active in the St. Stephen’s Green area tending to the wounded members of the garrison and ferrying despatches to and fro between the GPO and the Green.[39] Elizabeth had been to Liberty Hall earlier that day looking for news of her husband, she checked into the GPO and was assured that George was well. Connolly asked her if she would pass on a message to Commandant Ned Daly’s position.[40]  Cumann na mBan members weaved their way through the myriad of back lanes and narrow side streets of Dublin’s north inner-city, avoiding stray bullets as they carried their despatches between the Four Courts and the GPO. In addition to despatch duties, they administered first aid to wounded Volunteers in an improvised medical station at Father Matthew Hall on Church Street, which had been placed at Commandant Daly’s disposal by the Capuchin friars. On the Friday of Easter Week when the situation became untenable, despatches between the two rebel posts were ceased, and the members of the outpost on Church Street were evacuated to the Four Courts.[41]


Meanwhile, at the Citizen Army post in the RCSI, cut off from other rebel posts confusion reined. The machinegun fire that had bombarded the garrison from the Shelbourne Hotel throughout the week had largely subsided by Friday, and an eerie silence fell upon the area. When the surrender order arrived on the Saturday it took many of the garrison’s members by surprise, as Liam Ó Briain recalled ‘Ní fhéadfadh a leithéid de smaoineamh teacht inár n-aigne. Bhíomar ansin ag fanacht agus ag réitiú le haghaidh na troda a bhí le teacht fós’.[42] According to Liam Ó Briain and Harry Nicholls, before the St. Stephen’s Green garrison surrendered, in an act of unfettered selflessness Commandant Mallin ordered his officers to mix among the rank-and-file in order to save themselves from identification.[43]

When the surrender was received by the British counterparts the men and women of the garrisons were detained briefly at Dublin Castle before being sent onwards to Richmond Barracks. George Fullerton was among those arrested and temporarily detained at Richmond Barracks, Inchicore and following processing by the authorities he was deported alongside 307 fellow prisoners to Knutsford Detention Barracks, England on 2 May, from where he was subsequently moved and interned at Frongoch Internment Camp, Wales.[44] Whilst at Frongoch Fullerton- prisoner 1501-was domiciled in the South Camp in ‘The Huts’ which he shared with a number of men who would go on to play an integral part in the ensuing War of Independence such as Tom Maguire, Seán Prendergast and hut leader Captain Michael Staines.[45] As the shift in public opinion towards the rebels gained increasing traction and the pressure that such a large number of internees threatened to exert upon the British prison system became apparent, a committee of inquiry was established in late June 1916 to hear the appeals of the 1,846 Easter Rising prisoners then interned in various British prisons. Presided over by Sir John Sankey, the committee met over the summer of 1916 and made adjudications in the cases of all 1,846 internees then in custody.[46] Despite the refusal of many internees to with the ‘Sankey Inquiry’, the committee reached a verdict which recommended the continued internment of only 573 prisoners and the release of the remainder.[47]


Of the 1,804 prisoners interned at Frongoch, over half of them were released between the months of July and August 1916, the remainder continued their ‘post-graduate studies’ at the institution dubbed ‘The University of Revolution’.[48] Included in a batch of 450 men released from Frongoch in the third week of July 1916 were George Fullerton, Edward ‘Ned’ Keogh and several members of the Dublin IV’s F Company, 4th Battalion.[49] The last of the prisoners at Frongoch Camp were released at 6 p.m. on Friday, 22 December 1916. The first of which, numbering 130, landed at Dún Laoghaire (then Kingstown) travelling via the mail packet from Holyhead, Wales on Saturday morning; the remainder arrived by Christmas morning 1916.[50]  Fullerton, like many of his comrades returned home from their period of internment to find that they had been relieved of their employment whilst in absence. Fellow ICA veteran of the St. Stephen’s Green garrison and workmate of Fullerton, Edward Keogh recounted of his return from Frongoch that their employer the Great Southern and Western Railway (G.S. & W.R.) refused to re-employ him because of his activities during Easter Week. As such, he was resigned to seeking relief from the Irish National Aid Association and Volunteer Dependents’ Fund (INAAVDF) who later managed to procure temporary employment for him in Ballyhale, Co. Kilkenny.[51] Another veteran of 1916, Daniel Troy a coachbuilder from Bluebell and employee at the G.S. & W.R’s Inchicore depot claimed in his Military Service Application that ‘we were kept out as Sinn Féin deportees’.[52] Elizabeth Fullerton described her husband as having been ‘victimised’ by his employers upon his return.[53]  Most companies took a hard line on those who were ‘out’ in 1916 and refused to re-employee them. To compound matters further the G.S. & W.R’s treatment of Easter Rising veterans was in stark contrast to that of its employees who enlisted and fought in the First World War. By virtue of an arrangement agreed to by the company prior to the Armistice returning ex-servicemen stood to benefit in terms of employment opportunities, much to the chagrin of Easter Rising veterans.  As historian Peter Rigney has noted, the G.S. & W.R exceeded its brief in facilitating the employment and in many cases re-employment of ex-servicemen, allocating over fifty percent of its post Armistice vacancies to ex-servicemen.[54] The re-instatement of Easter rebels, however, was not treated with the same enthusiasm, or benevolence.

A total of thirty-two G.S. & W.R. employees were recorded as absent from work during Easter week, which naturally aroused suspicion as to their whereabouts and their activities during their absence.  In the case of the G.S. &W.R. the company was prompt and thorough in searching out those who had been out during the Rising and excuses for absence were sought of the thirty-two absentees; a practice which was applied by other railway companies such as the Great Northern (GNR) and the Dublin and South Eastern Railways (DSER).[55] Of the thirty-two employees absent from work during Easter Week 1916 twenty-nine of them, at least two ICA men and twenty-two Irish Volunteers, were arrested by the military and detained on suspicion of having taken part in the rebellion.[56] This fact can be established as these men later submitted a petition for their re-instatement to the Board of Management. The policy of the railway companies, in the case of the G.S. & W.R. articulated by company secretary Robert Crawford, was that the men who absented during Easter week had done so without sanctioned leave and had effectively dismissed themselves; the company declined, naturally, to address any issue of politics in their reply.[57]   The men’s petition for re-instatement was largely unsuccessful, however, following representation by the INAAVDF, reinstatement was offered to two of the twenty-nine men.[58] The two men who were invited to reapply for their positions were George Fullerton and Patrick McGrath, both of whom were labourers in the Inchicore Works. Neither man accepted the offer and no reasons for their decision were proffered, although it would not be incongruent to suggest that comradely solidarity prevailed in spite of partial economic reprieve. It should also be noted that some exceptions were made in the case of a small number of company men who were out in 1916 and others who were not involved in the Rising but were rounded up and detained during the rebellion’s aftermath as a consequence of their connections with the Irish Ireland movement.[59] Nor was that the end of the saga as the issue of the 1916 dismissals was raised again in 1922 when negotiations allegedly took place during the Truce between the G.S. & W.R. and Joe McGrath (then Minister for Labour) that resulted in an agreement on re-employment which also applied to the MGWR.[60] According to an internal G.S. & W.R. memo dated 19 April 1922 ‘seventeen men were prepared to resume work provided that they did not have to submit to a medical examination’, unfortunately the list of seventeen men referred to in the memo is not included in the company’s records.[61]

The [Dublin] Evening Herald reported on 4 January 1917 that George Fullerton had been arrested the previous night following an altercation outside the Empire Theatre on Dublin’s Dame Street.  Christopher ‘Con’ Butler, the man with whom Fullerton had been engaged in a bout of fisticuffs with prior to his arrest, was a member of the Dublin Brigade IRA’s F Company, 4th Battalion. A 1916 veteran, Butler had fought at the Jameson Distillery, Marrowbone Lane during the Rising.[62] He was deported after the surrender and detained first in Knutsford and subsequently at Frongoch; Butler was interned once again during the War of Independence at Ballykinlar Internment Camp, Co. Down.[63] At the time of the Rising he was working as a cooper in Guinness’ and lost his job as a result of his Volunteer activity. Described by fellow Volunteer Bob Holland, Butler was of an ‘exceptionally powerful build and about 5′ lO” in height’.[64] The newspaper report declines to mention the nature of the dispute between the two men but states that both Fullerton and Butler were charged at a sitting of the Dublin Southern Police Court with disorderly conduct and violently resisting arrest; Fullerton was also charged with assaulting a policeman and causing damage to his uniform. According to the testimony of one of the arresting officers-Constable Thomas Barrett-Fullerton resisted arrest, head-butting the witness in the stomach and attempted to strike same with a barrel stave, knocking the officers helmet from his head and breaking his whistle chain. Another [unnamed] policeman came to the aid of Constable Barrett and attempted to subdue Fullerton.[65]  When placed under arrest both men refused to walk to the police station and threw themselves upon the ground. Police reinforcements arrived from Dublin Castle and threatened Butler that if he continued to refuse to walk to the station that he would be carried there by his legs. Butler, clearly in a mood of defiance, replied that he “would obey no discipline save that of the Irish Volunteers”.[66] Both men were taken to Brunswick Street police station where they refused to give up their names until midnight. Presiding over the hearing at the Dublin Southern Police Court on 4 January 1917 Mr. Swifte fined Christopher Butler £5 and sent George Fullerton to prison for one month; ordering the latter to find bail, set at £5, or face a further fourteen days imprisonment on this conviction.[67] Fullerton appealed his sentence of one month’s imprisonment. However, his effort proved unsuccessful as he was issued with a £2 fine and remanded in police custody.[68]

The ICA after 1916 was in a dismal state of disarray, bereft of leading figures such as James Connolly, Michael Mallin and William Partridge the organisation lacked a clear political and military purpose, was rife with pithy squabbling between members and often obsessive in the petty application of formal discipline.[69] Aside from one incident in which members of the ICA fired on police during a proscribed commemoration event held for James Connolly, the organisation staged few if any military operations on its own initiative, functioning rather in a supportive capacity to the IRA. This lack of activity often prompted members of the force to join the larger and more pro-active IRA; although dual membership of the organisations was prohibited by the ICA from July 1919 onwards.[70] Unfortunately, little of George Fullerton’s service record in the post-Rising years is known. He did not submit a statement to The Bureau of Military History nor did he include any mention of his activities in his Military Service Pensions application; in fact, his application was completed by Dr. Kathleen Lynn, herself an ICA veteran, and Fullerton merely affixed his signature to the completed form.[71] In his pension application Fullerton is recorded as a member of the Irish Citizen Army from 1913-1923 and Óglaigh na hÉireann (IRA) from 1917 to 1923.[72] It was not uncommon for members of the ICA to join the ranks of the IRA in the post-Rising period as stated earlier, and as was the case with the ICA membership of the IRA was usually proscribed by location, which in Fullerton’s case would have dictated that he joined F Company of the Dublin Brigade IRA’s 4th Battalion. However, Fullerton did not provide any referees from F Company, 4th Battalion in his pension application; as such no written testimony of any detail concerning his service with that unit exists.[73] Although Fullerton’s name is absent from the nominal rolls of the Dublin Brigade IRA’s 4th Battalion these lists are not exhaustive.[74] Fullerton’s name is included on the 4th Battalion, Dublin Brigade IRA ‘Roll of Honour’ which is displayed in Kilmainham Gaol.

While no known record of any significant detail regarding Fullerton’s military service during the War of Independence exists it can be ascertained from a contemporary newspaper report that he remained under the suspicions of the authorities during the conflict. On the night of 5 December 1920 Fullerton was among fifty men who were captured and arrested following a co-ordinated series of raids aimed at rounding up ‘Sinn Féiners’ conducted by the military in the Usher’s Quay and St. James’ districts in the wake of Bloody Sunday.[75]

The Irish Independent’s 6 December issue also reports on the removal of between 100 and 200 prisoners bound for Ballykinlar internment camp in County Down, a fate which Fullerton appears to have escaped.[76] Despite the paucity of material regarding Fullerton’s war-time service it can be ascertained from a letter of reference from ICA Commandant John Hanratty on Fullerton’s behalf that he rejoined his unit upon release from Frongoch, attended all parades up until the Truce and later took part in the fighting in the O’Connell Street area (28 June-3 July) during the Civil War.[77] Hanratty’s statement is also corroborated by statements from Andrew McDonnell (O/C Dublin II Brigade) and Oscar Traynor (O/C Dublin I Brigade) in support of Fullerton’s Civil War service.[78] The initial fighting in Dublin was resplendent of the defensive warfare deployed in 1916 before heavy bombardment of anti-Treaty positions forced their retreat from the City to the Dublin and Wicklow mountains and a return to the guerilla-style tactics of the War of Independence.[79] As the ‘Battle for Dublin’ was petering out Elizabeth Fullerton was shot and wounded whilst walking in the vicinity of Harold’s Cross with one of her daughters on 30 July 1922. Writing in the [Dublin] Evening Herald Fullerton expressed her sincerest thanks to Superintendent F.J. Horne of the St. John’s Ambulance. Horne administered first aid to the wounded woman at the scene of the incident and secured a pony and trap to convey his patient to the nearby Meath Hospital, after which he left Fullerton’s young daughter home.[80] In late 1922 Fullerton was captured by Free State forces and interned firstly in Mountjoy Prison(15 September 1922) and later at Newbridge Internment Camp-“Tintown ‘A’”- until 20 December 1923 where he undertook a twenty-two day hunger strike which was to have a drastic result upon his health.[81] He contracted fistula and developed a gastric ulcer, attributed to his Civil War internment, which were operated on unsuccessfully in between the years 1924 to 1934 at Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital; during which time is health continued to decline. He died of pulmonary tuberculosis at Lourdes Hospital, Kill-O-the-Grange, County Dublin on 24 March 1934.[82] The remains of George Fullerton were removed to St. James’ RC Church on the evening of 26 March where a requiem mass for the deceased took place the following day in the presence of a large congregation which included many former comrades of the ICA, IRA, Cumann na mBan and members of Clann na Gael girl scouts and na Fianna Éireann.[83]

Following the ceremony Fullerton’s remains were laid to rest in St. James’ Churchyard, adjacent to the now defunct Church of Ireland church. On 23 August 1934, almost five months after his death, Fullerton was awarded a military service pension and certificate of military service for the 1916 period with the ICA (section commander), and for the period 1917-1923 with the IRA.[84] Elizabeth Fullerton survived her husband by almost thirty years, and died on 13 December 1963. She did not apply for a Military Service Pension in respect of her own service with Cumann na mBan; however, upon her husband’s death she was awarded a dependent’s pension.


Notes and references

[1] Brían Ó hUiginn (ed.), Wolfe Tone Annual: Special 1916 Number (Dublin, 1933), p. 23; A firsthand account of O’Grady’s death during Easter Week is recalled by his brother Charles J O’Grady in the latter’s Bureau of Military History witness statement,  Charles J. O’Grady, witness statement, Irish Military Archives, Bureau of Military History [hereafter: IE MA, BMH WS], WS 282.

[2] Seán J. Murphy, ‘1916 Rebel John J O’Grady Buried in St James’s Graveyard, Fountain Resource Group’,  23 May 2016; Available at ( (accessed on 21 June 2016)

[3] Birth of George Fullerton, Ireland Civil Registration Indexes, 1845-1958, General Register Office [Hereafter: ICRI, GRO], SR District/Registration Area – Dublin South, 10952252.

[4] Residents of a house 7 in Richmond Cottages, New Kilmainham, Dublin, National Archives of Ireland [NAI], Census of Ireland 1901; House and building return, Richmond Cottages, New Kilmainham, Dublin, NAI, Census of Ireland 1901.

[5] Frank Robbins, ‘Labour and Easter Week 1916’, Dublin Historical Record, vol. 28, no. 1 (Dec., 1974), pp 21-29; ‘These conditions were directly related to the emergence of the first real workers’ movement in Ireland, with those who struggled to make a living and survive in the squalor of early twentieth century Dublin[…]’,  Daithí Mac an Mháistir, The Irish Citizen Army: The World’s First Working-Class Army, unpublished MA thesis, Maynooth University, 2016, p.14.

[6] ‘Report of the Commission’, Royal Commission on the Rebellion in Ireland [Cd. 8279] (London, 1916), p. 7.

[7] Marriage of George Fullerton and Elizabeth McDonnell, ICRI, GRO, SR District/Reg. Area-Dublin South, 1860786.

[8] Residents of a house 125 James’s Street, Usher’s Quay, Dublin, NAI, Census of Ireland 1901.

[9] Irish Independent, 1 August 1917; Allison Bray, ‘It’s amazing, I walk now in my granddad’s footsteps during battle on the Green’, Irish Independent, 15 March 2016.

[10] Margaret Ó hÓgartaigh, Kathleen Lynn: Irishwoman, Patriot, Doctor (Dublin, 2006), p. 1.

[11] Document entitled “Full List of Members of Irish Citizen Army”, with an “X” marked beside the names of those who fought in the Easter Rising, 1916, undated [ca. 1916], National Library of Ireland [hereafter: NLI], William O’Brien papers, Ms. 15,673/10/5; Thomas Kain (Secretary to the Army Council of the Irish Citizen Army ), Notebook (roll no. 1) containing the names of members of the Irish Citizen Army, 1916, NLI, William O’Brien papers, Ms. 15,672/1 .

[12] Donal Nevin, ‘The Irish Citizen Army’ in Owen Dudley Edwards and Fergus Pyle (eds.) 1916: The Easter Rising (London, 1968), pp 119-131, p. 119.

[13] P. Ó Cathasaigh (Seán O’Casey), The Story of the Irish Citizen Army (Dublin, 1919), Chapter one ‘Founding of the Citizen Army’, pp 1-7.

[14] John Hanratty, IE MA, BMH WS 96, p. 2.

[15] Richard M. Fox, The History of the Irish Citizen Army (Dublin: repr., 2015), Chapter one, ‘Seedbed of the Citizen Army’, pp 16-40.

[16] ‘Formation of Irish Citizen Army 1913’,  interview with Frank Robbins, Here and Now, RTÉ Archives, originally broadcast on 16 December, 1977.

[17] D. R. O’Connor Lysaght, ‘The Irish Citizen Army, 1913-16: White, Larkin and Connolly’, History Ireland, vol. 14, no. 2, 1916: 90th Anniversary Issue (Mar. – Apr., 2006), pp 16-21, p. 17.

[18] ‘Formation of Irish Citizen Army 1913’, Frank Robbins.

[19] In the Irish Worker of 15 August 1915 Connolly noted that the prevailing war-time situation offered an opportunity for the ‘formation of a committee of all the earnest elements, outside as well as inside the Volunteers, to consider means to take and hold Ireland for the people of Ireland… We of the Citizen Army are ready for such co-operation’.

[20] William O’Brien, Partial typescript copy of ‘[A] History of the Citizen Army’, NLI, William O’Brien papers, MS 15,673/9/4.

[21] James J. Burke, ‘The Citizen Army in 1916’, An t-Óglach, vol. 4, no. 6, 20 February 1926, pp 3-5; Frank Robbins, Under the Starry Plough: Recollections of the Irish Citizen Army (Dublin, 1977), p.55.

[22] James Connolly, ‘The Call to Arms’, Workers’ Republic, 1 April 1916.

[23]  Chief Secretary’s Office, Crime Branch, Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) Detective Department report on the movement of Dublin extremists, 25 March 1916, NAI, CSO/JD/2/237.

[24] Frank Robbins, IE MA, BMH WS 585, pp 32-33.

[25] Ibid, p. 33.

[26] James O’Shea, IE MA, BMH WS 733, p. 26.

[27] DMP Report, 25 March 1916, NAI, CSO/JD/2/237.

[28] Fox, Irish Citizen Army, p. 117.

[29] William Oman, IE MA, BMH WS 421, p. 6.

[30] James O’Shea, IE MA, BMH WS 733, p.44

[31] For a thorough examination of these criticisms, see: Brian Hughes, 16 Lives: Michael Mallin, (Dublin, 2012), Chapter X, ‘1916-today, Critical Commentary on Mallin’s Rising’, pp 186-204.

[32] Hughes, Michael Mallin, p. 204.

[33] Elsie McDermid letter, Dublin City Public Libraries and Archive [hereafter: DCPLA], EMcD/003.

[34] Liam Ó Briain, ‘The Historic Rising of Easter Week – 1916’ in William G. Fitzgerald (ed.) The Voice of Ireland (Glór na h-Éireann): a survey of the race and nation from all angles (Dublin; Manchester; London; Blackburn, 1924), pp 132-139, p.137.

[35] Frank Robbins, ‘Remembering Easter Week 1916’, Dublin Historical Record, vol. 23, no. 2/3 (Dec., 1969), pp 95-100, p.98.

[36] Harry Nicholls, IE MA, BMH WS 296, p.8.

[37] An Rolla 1916:  Roll of Honour 1916 (Dublin, 1936), p.25.

[38] James Stephens, The Insurrection in Dublin (Dublin, 1916), pp 26-7.

[39] Nora O’Daly, ‘The Women of Easter Week: Cumann na mBan in St. Stephen’s Green and in the College of Surgeons’, An t-Óglach, 3 April 1926, pp 3-6.

[40] Eoghan Brunkard, ‘Blessing of Irish Heroes Graves in St James’ Graveyard’, Fountain Resource Group, 18 April 2016, (accessed on 21 June 2016)

[41] Eilis Bean Uí Chonail, ‘A Cumann na mBan Recalls Easter Week’, The Capuchin Annual 1966, pp 271-278.

[42] Liam Ó Briain, Cuimhní Cinn: Cuimhní an Éirí Amach (Baile Átha Cliath, 1951), p.138; (Trans.), ‘Such a thought couldn’t have come into our minds. We were there waiting and preparing for the fight that was still to come’.

[43] Liam Ó Briain and Harry Nicholls, interviewed for the television programme I Remember Easter first broadcast on Telefís Éireann, 22 April 1962.

[44] Weekly Irish Times, Sinn Féin Rebellion Handbook: Easter 1916 (Dublin, 1917), p. 73; Joseph E.A. Connell Jnr., Dublin in Rebellion: A Directory, 1913-1923 (Dublin, revised 2009 edn.), Appendix V, p.397.

[45] Commandant, Frongoch Camp to Under Secretary, Dublin Castle, 12 July 1916, including list of Sinn Féin prisoners released from Frongoch, NLI, Joseph Brennan papers, Ms. 26,196; Seán Prendergast, IE MA, BMH WS 755, p.200; Seán O’Mahony, Frongoch: University of Revolution (Dublin, 1987), appendix 1, p. 180; William J. Brennan-Whitmore, With the Irish in Frongoch (Cork: repr., 2013), pp 41-42.

[46] Michael J. O’Connor, Stone Walls an Irish Volunteer’s Experiences in Prison and Internment in England and Wales After the 1916 Rising (Dublin, 1966), p.54.

[47] For a detailed personal account of the interviews of appeal conducted by the ‘Sankey Inquiry’, see: Brennan-Whitmore, With the Irish in Frongoch, pp 77-83.

[48] John Brennan, ‘Frongoch University-and after 1916-1919’ in Brian Ó Conchubhair (series ed.) Dublin’s Fighting Story 1916-1921 (Cork, 2009), pp 213-235, p. 221.

[49] Commandant, Frongoch Camp to Under Secretary, Dublin Castle, 12 July 1916, including list of Sinn Fein prisoners released from Frongoch, NLI, Joseph Brennan papers, Ms. 26,196

[50] Weekly Irish Times, Sinn Féin Rebellion Handbook, p. 59.

[51] Edward ‘Ned’ Keogh, handwritten account of the Easter Rising 1916 [n.d] three page  manuscript, copy of the original in the author’s possession; Reproduced in part in The Ballyfermot Heritage Group, Ballyfermot Precious Memories, 1948-2014 (Dublin, 2014), pp 155-156.

[52] Daniel Troy, Military Service Pensions Application, Irish Military Archives, Military Service Pensions Collection [hereafter: IE MA, MSPCA], MSP/34/REF/235.

[53] George Fullerton, Military Service Pensions Application, IE MA, MSPCA 6/P/6810.

[54] Peter Rigney, ‘Military service and G.S. & W.R. staff 1914-1923’, Journal of the Irish Railway Records Society, vol. 22, no. 161 (Oct., 2006), pp 531-540, p. 540.

[55] Peter Rigney, ‘The Rising and Railway Workers’, Saothar, no. 41, 2016; I am very grateful to Peter Rigney for this reference and indeed for subsequent references from the IRRSA.

[56] A candidate for one of the three men who did not sign the petition for re-instatement but was an employee of the G.S. & W.R. and an active participant in the Easter Rising, Patrick Bradley, a member of the ICA who fought in the St. Stephen’s Green area and was subsequently interned at Frongoch. In his pension application Bradley states that he was refused re-instatement upon his release from Frongoch, see: Patrick Bradley, Military Service Pensions Application, IE MA, MSPCA 34/REF/5024; Two G.S. & W.R. employees were killed in the fighting during the Rising, George Geoghegan a member of the ICA and John S. Dwan a member of the IV. It is possible that these two men complete the trio of G.S. & W.R. employees who declined to sign the petition of reinstatement. Their deaths are not recorded in the records of the G.S. & W.R., however, they are recorded in The Catholic Bulletin (Dublin, 1916 – 1917) ‘Easter Week’ articles and the National Graves Association, The Last Post (Dublin, 1932)

[57] Robert Crawford (General Secretary, G.S. & W.R.) to Reverend Richard Bowden (Chairman, INVAADF), 9 November 1916, Irish Railway Records Society Archives [hereafter: IRRSA], ‘Sinn Féin Rebellion’ file no. 2659.

[58] ‘Memorial of men recently disemployed from Inchicore Works to the Board of Directors, Great Southern and Western Railway Company’, 1 November 1916, IRRSA, ‘Sinn Féin Rebellion’ file no.2659; Crawford To Bowden, 9 November 1916, IRSSA,  ‘Sinn Féin Rebellion’ file no. 2659.

[59] For information on the men who were re-instated see: Rigney, ‘The Rising and Railway Workers’; Several Easter Rising veterans, including some those who signed the twenty-nine man petition, namely Thomas Kavanagh, Michael Fox and Joseph Bowman later found work with various municipal bodies. See: David Flood, ‘Dublin Corporation employees involved in [the] 1916 Rising, with biographical notes’ in John Gibney (ed.), Dublin City Council and the 1916 Rising (Dublin, 2016), Appendix, pp 219-294.

[60] Three pension statements support the claim that a deal was cut between Joe McGrath and the G.S. & W.R. in 1922 regarding the re-employment of 1916 men. See: John Kenny (Seán Ó Cionaoith) Military Service Pensions Application, IE MA, MSPCA 24/SP/2573; Edward ‘Ned’ Keogh, Military Service Pensions Application, IE MA, MSPCA 34/REF/1344; Daniel Troy, Military Service Pensions Application, IE MA, MSPCA 34/REF/235; For the MGWR see: Eugene ‘Owen’ Carton, Military Service Pensions Application, IE MA, MSPCA 34/REF/809.

[61] Robert Crawford to E.A. Neale (General Manager), 19 April 1922, IRRSA, ‘Sinn Féin Rebellion’ file no. 2659.

[62] 4th Battalion, Dublin Brigade, Easter Week 1916, IRA membership series, IE MA, RO/15.

[63] List of prisoners interned at Ballykinlar Camp, 1921, NLI, Ms. 34,945.

[64] Robert ‘Bob’ Holland, IE MA, BMH WS 280, p. 29.

[65] [Dublin] Evening Herald, 4 January 1917.

[66] Ibid.

[67] Irish Independent, 5 January 1917.

[68] Freemans Journal, 18 January 1917; Irish Independent, 18 January 1917.

[69] Brian Hanley, ‘The Irish Citizen Army after 1916’, Saothar, no. 28, 2003, pp 37-45; Conor McNamara, ‘Under the Starry Plough: Labour and Easter Week 1916’, lecture delivered at Ballyfermot Library 1 October 2015.

[70] Brian Hanley, ‘The Irish Citizen Army after 1916’, pp 37-38.

[71] Peadar Mac Mathghamhna (secretary Department of Defence) to C.S Almond (secretary Department of Finance), 14 November 1934, George Fullerton, Military Service Pensions Application, IE MA, MSPCA 51/APB/65 and 6/P/68/10.

[72] George Fullerton, Military Service Pensions Application, IE MA, MSPCA 6/P/68/10.

[73] The bulk of Fullerton’s referees consist of fellow ICA veterans including senior ranking officers such as John Hanratty, Richard McCormick and Robert de Coeur. His referees from the IRA/IV include Oscar Traynor, Andrew McDonnell, Maurice Brennan and Eugene ‘Owen’ Carton, none of whom were members of the 4th Battalion F Company. Carton was a member of the ICA and a fellow railway employee who worked for the Midland Great Western (MGWR) at the time of the Rising. He fought in the St. Stephen’s Green area alongside Fullerton and later transferred to 1st Battalion, F Company of the Dublin Brigade in 1917 with whom he served throughout the War of Independence.

[74] F Company, 4th Battalion, Dublin Brigade, IRA membership series, Nominal Rolls, IE MA, RO/5.

[75] Irish Independent, 6 December 1920.

[76] Fullerton’s name does not appear in the list of Ballykinlar internees which comprise the document ‘List of prisoners interned at Ballykinlar Camp, 1921’, NLI, Ms. 34,945; Nor does it appear in the list of Ballykinlar prisoners composed from the camp’s register by Liam Ó Duibhir and presented in his publication Prisoners of War: Ballykinlar Internment Camp 1920-1921 (Cork, 2013)

[77] John Hanratty to Oscar Traynor, 11 June 1943, George Fullerton, Military Service Pensions Application, IE MA, MSPCA 6/P/6810; Recent research estimates that up to 123 men and nineteen women of the ICA participated in the Civil War, Ann Matthews, The Irish Citizen Army (Cork, 2014), Appendix V and VI.

[78] Andrew McDonnell to Military Service Registration Board, 4 September 1933, George Fullerton, Military Service Pensions Application, IE MA, MSPCA 2/RB/1111; Oscar Traynor to Military Service Registration Board, 24 August 1933, George Fullerton, Military Service Pensions Application, IE MA, MSPCA/2RB1111.

[79] Liz Gillis, The Fall of Dublin, 28 June to 5 July 1922 (Cork, 2011), p. 91 and p. 99.

[80] [Dublin] Evening Herald, 8 September 1922.

[81] Location of prisoners ledger, Civil War Internment Collection, IE MA, CW/P/01/01; List of prisoners held in custody, Civil War Internment Collection, IE MA, CW/P/01/02.

[82] Death certificate of George Fullerton, IRCI GRO, Stillorgan District/Reg. Area-Rathdrum, Dublin South County, entry 249.

[83] [Dublin] Evening Herald, 26 and 27 March 1934.

[84] Certificate of military service, George Fullerton, Military Service Pensions Application, IE MA, MSPCA 2/RB/1111.

9 Responses

  1. Noel Brennan says:

    many thanks for this wonderful information which both confirms and corrects known family history.

  2. Aaron Ó Maonaigh says:

    Dear Noel,

    Thank you for your kind comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.
    Would you have a photo of George Fullerton? It would be great to have an image to go along with the article. If so, you can get in contact with me through this site, I’d love to hear from you.

    Is mise le meas,

    Aaron Ó Maonaigh

  3. Niall Oakey says:


    I have only recently found this and would also like to thank you for this detailed account. I am George and Lizzie’s great nephew via one of George’s sisters, but I have never known the details of their lives. George still has a surviving nephew (aged 95) and niece (89), both of whom remember a visit to England by Lizzie shortly before George’s death.

    If Noel wants to get in touch, I am happy for you to pass on my email address.


    Niall Oakey

  4. Patrick Fullerton says:

    I’m the son of Joseph Fullerton. George was my grandfather. My sister Pauline an I where put in institutions after Joseph died in 1957. Sadly Pauline passed away in 2008 and I’m trying to contact any members of the family to complete a family tree. I don’t have any photographs of the family and would like to contact anyone who could help. If anyone could help me with this I’m happy for my e-mail to be forwarded to. I would also like to meet up with you all

  5. George Fullerton says:

    I am George Fullerton’s grandson. My father was Christopher and I was named after my grandfather. My father played a small part in the Rising, as an 8yr old, transporting arms for the rebels

  6. Derek J. Fullerton says:

    Hello Aaron,
    I would like to echo Noel’s comments for the wonderful clarity and detail you have shed on my grandfathers life. I have enjoyed the conversations we have had since I first received your Email and add my heart-felt thanks for the splendid job you have done, your thesis has filled in many blanks I have long wondered about.
    I am Derek Fullerton the grandson of George Fullerton and son of his first born George Fullerton who was born in 1906. Thanks to your efforts I have been able to talk to Joseph Fullerton who I last saw in1957 at the death of his father in 1957 when I was ten and he was just an infant.
    All of the family owe you a great debt of gratitude.
    Gura mile maith agat Aaron.

  7. Michelle Freeman says:

    Hi I’m trying to find information on George fullerton wife Elizabeth McDonnell/ McDonald I believe she was my great-grandfathers sister I have his date of birth 06/05/1887 but I don’t know where he was born other than Ireland or his parents other siblings etc and I cant find Elizabeth on the census either not knowing anymore details about her Patrick married a woman in liverpool Mary Jane Eves was her birth name on the 1939 census in the UK if anyone can help I’d be extremely grateful

  8. Karl Booth says:

    I’m George’s brother Johns great grandson
    My grandmother was 3 when her father was killed at the Somme in 1916
    She would tell us as children how the two brothers would fight each other
    When John was home on leave
    Fair to say they both had strong opinions
    George would toast the Republic and John the King
    John was awarded the MM for bravery he Died of his wounds November 1916

  9. Padraig says:

    Interesting to hear about Elizabeth Fullerton being shot and wounded, along with her daughter. She was attended to by ambulance officer Frank Horne. Other than the newspaper reference, does anyone have any more on this?

    Thanks, Pádraig. St John Ambulance Archive

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