The O’Rahilly 1916 Canvas Print
€95 – €295
This exclusive canvas print of The O’Rahilly is only available through Avoca Gallery and is the perfect gift for everyone with an Irish connection. The O’Rahilly 1916 Canvas Print belongs to a series of sixteen 1916 portraits created by Rod Coyne to mark the Easter Rising Centenary. This fine art print available in small, medium and large sizes. It is framed and the price includes FREE world wide delivery.
Michael Joseph O’Rahilly (Irish: Mícheál Seosamh Ó Rathaille or Ua Rathghaille); (22 April 1875 –29 April 1916) known as The O’Rahilly, was an Irish republican and nationalist; he was a founding member of the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and served as Director of Arms. Despite opposing the action, he took part in the Easter Rising in Dublin and was killed in a charge on a British machine gun post covering the retreat from the GPO during the fighting.
Born in Ballylongford, County Kerry, O’Rahilly was educated in Clongowes Wood College (1890-3). As an adult, he became a republican and a language enthusiast. He joined the Gaelic League and became a member of An Coiste Gnotha, its governing body. He was well travelled, spending at least a decade in the United States and in Europe before settling in Dublin.
O’Rahilly was a founding member of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, who organized to work for Irish independence and resist the proposed Home Rule; he served as the IV Director of Arms. He personally directed the first major arming of the Irish Volunteers, the landing of 900 Mausers at the Howth gun-running on 26 July 1914.
The Irish Volunteers
O’Rahilly was not party to the plans for the Easter Rising, nor was he a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), but he was one of the main people who trained the Irish Volunteers for the coming fight. The planners of the Rising went to great lengths to prevent those leaders of the Volunteers who were opposed to unprovoked, unilateral action from learning that a rising was imminent, including its Chief-of-Staff Eoin MacNeill, Bulmer Hobson, and O’Rahilly.
O’Rahilly took instructions from MacNeill and spent the night driving throughout the country, informing Volunteer leaders in Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, and Limerick that they were not to mobilise their forces for planned manoeuvres on Sunday.
Arriving home, he learned that the Rising was about to begin in Dublin on the next day, Easter Monday, 24 April 1916. Despite his efforts to prevent such action (which he felt could only lead to defeat), he set out to Liberty Hall to join Pearse, James Connolly, Thomas MacDonagh, Tom Clarke, Joseph Plunkett, Countess Markievicz, Sean Mac Diarmada, Eamonn Ceannt and their Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army troops. Arriving in his De Dion-Bouton motorcar, he gave one of the most quoted lines of the rising – “Well, I’ve helped to wind up the clock — I might as well hear it strike!” Another famous, if less quoted line, was his comment to Markievicz, “It is madness, but it is glorious madness.”
He fought with the GPO garrison during Easter Week. On Friday 28 April, with the GPO on fire, O’Rahilly volunteered to lead a party of men along a route to Williams and Woods, a factory on Great Britain Street (now Parnell Street). A British machine-gun at the intersection of Great Britain and Moore streets cut him and several of the others down. O’Rahilly slumped into a doorway on Moore Street, wounded and bleeding badly but, hearing the English marking his position, made a dash across the road to find shelter in Sackville Lane (now O’Rahilly Parade). He was wounded diagonally from shoulder to hip by sustained fire from the machine-gunner.
Desmond Ryan’s The Rising maintains that it “was 2.30pm when Miss O’Farrell reached Moore Street, and as she passed Sackville Lane again, she saw O’Rahilly’s corpse lying a few yards up the laneway, his feet against a stone stairway in front of a house, his head towards the street.”
The memorial in O’Rahilly Parade, Dublin.
O’Rahilly wrote a message to his wife on the back of a letter he had received in the GPO from his son. Shane Cullen etched this last message to Nannie O’Rahilly into his limestone and bronze memorial sculpture to The O’Rahilly. The text reads:
‘Written after I was shot. Darling Nancy I was shot leading a rush up Moore Street and took refuge in a doorway. While I was there I heard the men pointing out where I was and made a bolt for the laneway I am in now. I got more [than] one bullet I think. Tons and tons of love dearie to you and the boys and to Nell and Anna. It was a good fight anyhow. Please deliver this to Nannie O’ Rahilly, 40 Herbert Park, Dublin. Goodbye Darling.’
Source of name
In Gaelic tradition, chief of clans were called by their clan name preceded by the determinate article, for example Robert The Bruce. O’Rahilly’s calling himself “The O’Rahilly” was purely his own idea. In 1938, the poet William Butler Yeats defended O’Rahilly on this point in his poem The O’Rahilly.
Find out more about Rod Coyne’s “1916 Portrait Collection” premier here.
1916 Prints in scale.
To help you get a feel for the scale and colour of our 1916 Canvas Prints we’ve pictured three of them with this still life. The exact sizes are: Small: 20x30cm (8”x12”), Medium: 40x50cm (16”x20”), Large: 50x70cm (20”x28”) and just add 5cm (2”) to height and width for the framed dimensions.
Please note the “ROD COYNE” watermark above does not appear on the finished product.