Our Legal Heritage: Escape from Kilmainham Gaol



This Sunday marks the centenary of the escape of three men from Kilmainham Gaol, at that time both a British military barracks and a political prison.

Ernie O’Malley, Simon Donnelly and Frank Teeling escaped from the prison while a fourth prisoner involved in the escape, Patrick Moran, decided to stay behind and was hanged a month later.

Kilmainham Gaol Museum has released a recorded interview with three people who hold unique insights into the story:

  • May Moran, a former teacher and the niece of Patrick Moran. In 2010 she published Executed for Ireland: The Patrick Moran Story which tells the story of his remarkable life.
  • Cormac O’Malley, the son of Ernie O’Malley. Mr O’Malley has overseen the re-publication of a number of editions of his father’s memoirs, as well as previously unpublished writings and interviews Ernie O’Malley conducted with over 450 of his former comrades. Most recently he produced a film about the life of his father and mother, the artist Helen Hooker, entitled A Call to Arts.
  • William Murphy, a lecturer in the School of History and Geography, DCU. His primary field of research is modern Irish history, and in particular the history of the Irish revolutionary period. Among his publications is Political Imprisonment and the Irish, 1912-1921 which was published by Oxford University Press in 2014.

The interview was moderated by Brian Crowley, collections curator of Kilmainham Gaol, and explores the escape and its wider significance in the history of the War of Independence.



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