An Dáréag Aspal
I am Emily Jennings, daughter of Jack Hanniffy of Tallyho. Now Jack grew up next door to the R.I.C. Barracks, Tallyho, quite close to Moyode. His fight for Irish freedom began at a young age. He was probably influenced by his first cousin Commandant Larry Lardiner. Larry’s mother was Bridget Hanniffy from Tallyho, Jack’s aunt. Bridget Lardiner was a member of Cumann na mBan and was in Moyode during The Rising.
In 1910 Jack and his neighbour Frank Lally were arrested on charges of conspiracy and the unlawful discharge of firearms, involving a staff member of Tallyho R.I.C. Barracks. They were convicted and served a sentence. She was a housekeeper in the barracks and it seems they didn’t get on very well with her. I don’t know why they didn’t get on with her but they fired shots into a house where she was living and they were arrested and spent time in prison.
When they were in court, the Judge asked Frank Lally if he had anything to say and he said “Why should I say anything about a trap like that”. Now they never got on with her and my uncle lived next door as well and he didn’t get on with her either. I actually don’t know who she was.
Jack became a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Athenry and went on to organise and lead the I.R.B. in his home parish of Kilconierin. By 1914 he had recruited many of his neighbours. He later became the Commanding Officer of the Kilconierin Company of Irish Volunteers and was active in Athenry, Moyode and Limepark. Six of the men known as the Twelve Apostles lived quite close to Tallyho. They were Murty Fahy and Mike Donaghue, who were Jack’s cousins, Patch and Tom Kennedy and Michael Higgins. Following the Easter Rising, Jack was arrested with many other local men. They were initially held in Galway Gaol and within days transported to Mountjoy Prison. They were tried, convicted and sentenced to one year imprisonment with hard labour. They served part of their sentence in Wormwood Scrubs in London and later moved to Lewis Prison.
They were all young men who fought for Irish freedom. My father didn’t talk much about how they were treated in Wormwood Scrubs. I believe they weren’t treated very good there but he did tell stories about Lewis Prison. They seemed to be treated fairly by the prison guards. He told me they were allowed to attend church service on Sunday. When he was being released, the prison chaplain gave him two postcards of the prison and the church and the chaplain wrote on the back of one of them “Get a little frame for this and hang it in your bedroom. God bless”. My father never hung those pictures but I still have those postcards. I also have his medals. He also told me that they worked in the prison laundry. He said they were allowed to have one bath each week but they could only use a little water. So Jack waited until everyone’s finished and filled up the bath to the top and was really enjoying his wash when he heard the guard shouting ” prisoner missing, prisoner missing”. They weren’t too happy when they found him.
I also remember when I was a little girl, many men would call to our house to see my father. To have their pension claim forms signed by him, as he was their Commanding Officer during The Rising.
When my parents married in 1923 the barracks in Tallyho was vacant so my father bought it from the estate and it became our family home. He reared four children there and lived the rest of his life there. I still live quite close to the house and the barracks is still occupied and in good condition and my father lived in Tallyho for the rest of his life, until he died in 1966. So I have loving memories of my father and I’m so proud of him now. ‘Twas sad that for a few years before he died that he wasn’t in good health. He never seemed to make a big thing about what they did, you know. He was only twenty four when he was arrested. He just accepted it I suppose.
Is mise Emily Jennings, iníon Jack Hanniffy as Tallyho. D’fhás Jack aníos i mbéal an dorais ag Beairic an R.I.C. i Tallyho, gar go maith do Mhaigh Fhód. Thosaigh a chuid troda ar son na saoirse agus é óg. Is dócha gur tháinig sé faoi anáil chol ceathrar leis, an Ceannasaí
Larry Lardiner. Ba í Bridget Hanniffy as Tallyho, aintín le Jack, máthair Larry. Bhí Bridget Lardiner i gCumann na mBan agus bhí sise i Maigh Fhód i rith an Éirí Amach.
Gabhadh Jack agus Frank Lally, comharsa leis, sa bhliain 1910 agus cuireadh comhcheilg agus arm thine a scaoileadh go mídhleathach ina n-aghaidh. Bhí duine de lucht Bheairic an R.I.C. i Tallyho i gceist. Ciontaíodh iad agus rinne siad príosún. Bean tí a bhí intise ag an mbeairic agus is cosúil nach rómhaith a tharraing siad léi. Níl a fhios agam cén fáth nár tharraing siad go maith léi ach scaoil siad urchair isteach sa teach a raibh cónaí uirthi ann agus gabhadh iad agus chaith siad tamall i bpríosún.
Nuair a bhí siad os comhair na cúirte, d’fhiafraigh an Giúistís de Frank Lally an raibh aon rud le rá aige mar gheall ar an scéal agus dúirt sé “Why should I say anything about a trap like that“. Anois, níor tharraing siad go maith riamh léi agus bhí m’uncail ina chónaí i mbéal an dorais chomh maith agus ní raibh seisean rógheal di ach oiread. Níl a fhios agam go deimhin cérbh í féin.
Tugadh Jack isteach i mBráithreachas na Poblachta i mBaile Átha an Rí agus is é a d’eagródh agus a bheadh ina cheannaire ar an mBráithreachas ina dhiaidh sin ina pharóiste dúchais i gCill Chon Iarainn. Bhí cuid mhór dá chuid comharsana tugtha isteach aige faoin mbliain 1914. Bhí sé ina Oifigeach i gCeannas ina dhiaidh sin ar Chomplacht Chill Chon Iarainn d’Óglaigh na hÉireann agus bhí sé ar fianas i mBaile Átha an Rí, i Maigh Fhód agus i mBaile na Creige. Bhí cónaí ar sheisear de na fir ar tugadh an Dáréag Aspal orthu gar go maith do Tallyho. Ba iad sin Murty Fahy agus Mike Donaghue, col ceathracha le Jack, Patch agus Tom Kennedy agus Michael Higgins. Nuair a bhí Éirí Amach na Cásca thart, gabhadh Jack agus tuilleadh d’fhir na háite. Coinníodh i bPríosún na Gaillimhe i dtosach iad ach tugadh go Príosún Mhuinseo iad taobh istigh de chúpla lá. Cuireadh ar a dtriail iad, ciontaíodh iad agus gearradh bliain príosúnachta dianoibre orthu. Bhí siad cuid den am sin i Wormwood Scrubs i Londain agus athraíodh ansin iad go dtí Príosún Lewis.
Fir óga a bhí iontu uilig a throid ar son shaoirse na hÉireann. Níor labhair m’athair mórán faoin gcaoi ar caitheadh leo i Wormwood Scrubs. Sílim nár caitheadh go rómhaith leo ansin ach d’insíodh sé scéalta faoi Phríosún Lewis. Is cosúil go gcaitheadh na gardaí príosúin go cóir leo ansin. D’inis sé dom go ligtí dóibh an séipéal a fhreastail ar an Domhnach. Nuair a bhí sé á ligean amach, thug séiplíneach an phríosúin dhá chárta poist den phríosún agus den séipéal dóibh agus bhí scríofa ar chúl cheann acu ag an séiplíneach “Get a little frame for this and hang it in your bedroom. God bless“. Níor chroch m’athair na pictiúir sin riamh ach tá an dá chárta agam go fóill. Tá na boinn a bronnadh air agam chomh maith. D’insíodh sé dom freisin go mbídís ag obair i dteach níocháin an phríosúin. Bhíodh cead folctha acu lá amháin den tseachtain ach ní bhíodh acu ach fíorbheagán uisce. D’fhan Jack go raibh an gnó déanta ag gach duine eile agus líon sé folcadán amháin agus bhí sé ag baint an-sásamh as nuair a chuala sé garda ag fógairt ” Prisoner missing, prisoner missing“. Ní raibh siad róshásta nuair a tháinig siad air.
Is cuimhin liom freisin, nuair a bhí mé i mo chailín óg, thagadh cuid mhór fear chuig an teach ar cuairt chuig m’athair go síníodh sé na foirmeacha dóibh ag éileamh an phinsin, ós é a bhí ina Oifigeach i gCeannas le linn an Éirí Amach.
Nuair a phós m’athair agus mo mháthair sa bhliain 1923, bhí an bheairic i Tallyho folamh agus cheannaigh m’athair ón eastát é agus is ann a chónaigh an teaghlach. Thóg sé ceathrar clainne ann agus is ann a mhair sé an chuid eile dá shaol. Tá mise i mo chónaí cóngarach go maith don teach i gcónaí agus tá an bheairic i gcaoi mhaith agus cónaí inti. I Tallyho a mhair m’athair an chuid eile dá shaol gur cailleadh é sa bhliain 1966. Tá cion agus gean i gcónaí agam air nuair a chuimhním air agus tá mé an-bhródúil as. Ba é an trua nach raibh sé ina shláinte ar feadh roinnt blianta sular cailleadh é. Ní dhearna sé aon scéal mór as riamh, an rud a rinne siad, tuigeann tú. Ní raibh sé ach ceithre bliana is fiche nuair a gabhadh é. Bhí glacadh aige leis, is dócha.