Thomas Barrett

The Twelve Apostles

Carmel Barrett

My name is Carmel Barrett and my husband, Thomas was a grandson of Thomas Barrett. Thomas Barrett was born in 1888. He lived in Courtview in Athenry with his parents, Michael and Mary. He had three brothers and five sisters and he was one of the first to become a member of the Athenry Company of The Irish Volunteers in 1914. His two brothers and one sister were also highly involved with the Athenry Company. Thomas participated in The Rising, Easter week and was active up to and including Easter week 1916, under the commanding officer, Francis Hynes. Drilling and training before the rebellion and after the rebellion were paramount. He responded to mobilization orders and served with his company at Athenry Agricultural Station, Moyode Castle and Limepark.

Thomas was arrested after the Easter Rising by the R.I.C. He was recognised by Maisie Shackleton who lived in Moyode Castle, for his involvement in the Galway rebellion and it was during his occupation at Moyode Castle, along with eleven other men, that Maisie’s testimony convicted these twelve men. These men were also known as the Twelve Apostles. Thomas was court martialed in Richmond. He was taken to Galway first and from there to Arbor Hill and onto Richmond and Mountjoy, where he was sentenced to twelve months hard labour, in Wormwood Scrubs in England.

When he was released, he smuggled his prison suit out with him. He re-joined his unit in Athenry and was active during the conscription period and the General Election of 1918. Thomas joined the Irish Republican Army and became captain of the 3rd Battalion unit of the Athenry Company of the Southwest Galway Brigade. He was also a private in the 3rd Battalion Division of the Western Division Company of the Athenry Company Brigade for the Irish Republican Army. He succeeded in Officer Commanding, for Athenry Company in April 1919 and he held this post untill he was arrested again in October 1920. Upon his release, he re-joined the Athenry Company and had continuous activity up to 1923.

Thomas was one of an active group, told for the purpose of destroying enemy supplies and communications. Thomas was engaged in the attempted attack on Moyvilla R.I.C. barracks in March 1920. He was also engaged in capture of enemy stores for wire, petrol and bicycles in three seperate operations in June and July of 1920 and engaged in an attack on Bookeen R.I.C. barracks in July 1920 and burning of Moyode Castle in September 1920. He was assaulted in R.I.C and did I.R.A. police duty and was arrested in November 1920 and interned in Galway and Ballykinlar Camp. He was released in December 1921 and on his release he rejoined his company.

Thomas married Mary Ellen Riley in 1928 and they had six children. Margaret, his only surviving daughter, says that her dad never told about what happened during the 1916 Rising or his time spent in prison as she was too young.


Is mise Carmel Barrett agus ba gharmhac é Thomas, m’fhear céile, leis an Thomas Barrett a bhí ar an ‘Dáréag Aspal’. Rugadh eisean sa bhliain 1888 agus mhair sé i Radharc na Cúirte, i mBaile Átha an Rí, lena athair agus a mháthair Michael agus Mary Barrett. Bhí triúr deartháireacha agus cúigear deirfiúracha aige agus bhí seisean ar dhuine den chéad dream a chuaigh isteach i gComplacht Bhaile Átha an Rí Óglaigh na hÉireann sa bhliain 1914. Bhí baint mhór ag beirt dá chuid deartháireacha agus ag duine de na deirfiúracha le Complacht Bhaile Átha an Rí chomh maith. Bhí Thomas páirteach san Éirí Amach, i rith Sheachtain na Cásca, agus bhí sé gníomhach sa tréimhse roimh an Éirí Amach agus le linn an Éirí Amach féin faoin oifigeach i gceannas, Proinsias Ó hEidhin. Bhí an-tábhacht le druileáil agus le traenáil roimh an Éirí Amach agus tar éis an Éirí Amach chomh maith. Rinne sé de réir na n-orduithe nuair a rinneadh an slógadh agus bhí sé lena chomplacht i Stáisiún Talmhaíochta Bhaile Átha an Rí, ag Caisleán Mhaigh Fhód agus i mBaile na Creige.

Ghabh an R.I.C. Thomas tar éis Éirí Amach na Cásca. Maisie Shackleton a bhí ina cónaí i gCaisleán Mhaigh Fhód a thug fianaise ar bhaint a bheith aige leis an Éirí Amach i nGaillimh agus ba mar gheall ar an am a raibh siad i gCaisleán Mhaigh Fhód, é féin agus aon fhear déag eile, ciontaíodh an dáréag sin mar gheall ar fhianaise a thug Maisie. An Dáréag Aspal a thugtaí ar na fir sin. Cuireadh cúirt airm ar Thomas i Richmond. Go Gaillimh a tugadh i dtosach é agus as sin go Cnoc an Arbhair, ar aghaidh go Richmond agus go Príosún Mhuinseo. Ansin a bhí sé nuair a gearradh dhá mhí dhéag daoroibre air i Wormwood Scrubs i Sasana.

Nuair a scaoileadh amach é, smugláil sé an éide phríosúin amach leis. Cheangail sé arís leis an gcomplacht i mBaile Átha an Rí agus bhí sé gníomhach le linn aimsir an choinscríofa agus Olltoghchán na bliana. Chuaigh Thomas isteach in Arm na Poblachta agus bhí sé ina Chaptaein ar an 3ú Cathlán de Chomplacht Bhaile Átha an Rí i mBriogáid Iardheisceart na Gaillimhe. Bhí sé ina shaighdiúir singil freisin sa 3ú Cathlán de Chomplacht Bhaile Átha an Rí in Arm na Poblachta. Tháinig sé i gcomharbacht ar an Oifigeach i gCeannas ar Chomplacht Bhaile Átha an Rí i mí Aibreáin 1919 agus bhí sé san oifig sin gur gabhadh é i mí Dheireadh Fómhair 1920. Ar a ligean amach, cheangail sé arís le Complacht Bhaile Átha an Rí agus bhí sé gníomhach ón am sin go dtí an bhliain 1923.

Bhí Thomas ar dhuine den dream gníomhach a raibh ráite leo cur isteach ar chórais soláthair agus cumarsáide an namhad. Bhí baint ag Thomas leis an ionsaí a tugadh faoi bheairic an R.I.C. i Maigh Bhile i mí Márta 1920. Bhí baint aige freisin le stórtha an namhaid a ionsaí le sreang, peitreal agus rothair a thógáil ar thrí ócáid faoi leith i rith mhí Meithimh agus mhí Iúil 1920, leis an ionsaí ar bheairic an R.I.C. ar an mBuaicín i mí Iúil 1920 agus le Caisleán Mhaigh Fhód a dhó i mí Meán Fómhair 1920. Ionsaíodh é féin freisin agus bhíodh sé ar dualgas póilíneachta ag an I.R.A. go dtí gur gabhadh é i mí na Samhna 1920. Cuireadh i ngéibheann i nGaillimh é agus san Ballykinlar Camp. Ligeadh amach é i mí na Nollag 1921 agus chuaigh sé ar ais lena chomplacht arís ansin.

Phós Thomas agus Mary Ellen Riley sa bhliain 1928 agus bhí seisear clainne orthu. Deir Margaret, an t-aon iníon amháin leis a mhaireann, nár inis a hathair riamh di faoinar tharla i rith Éirí Amach 1916 ná an t-am a chaith sé i bpríosún ó tharla go raibh sise ró-óg.

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