We were delighted to have a visit from Robert Gahan to Richmond Barracks recently. He told us stories of his extraordinary aunt, Mary Gahan and her involvement in the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence.

What is also very interesting is the story he tells of her life after the Civil War, the story of her emigration to New Zealand. Here’s a snippet of her activism in the 1916 Rising, but do listen to Robert’s short podcast, it’s well worth it.

“ By 1914 Mary Gahan was a member of the Inghinidhe branch of Cumann na mBan. During Easter Week, Gahan was attached to the Stephen’s Green/Royal College of Surgeons garrison. She served as a courier during the week, ultimately ending up in the GPO. James Connolly sent her to report to Frank Thornton who was stationed at the Imperial Hotel, Sackville Street. Her brothers Mattie and Joe both served with the Irish Volunteers in the GPO and North King Street area. After the Rising she was arrested in Marlborough Street and taken to Richmond Barracks and then to Kilmainham Gaol; she remembered being pelted by ‘bottles and horse dung as she walked to Kilmainham’.

Richmond Barracks 1916: We Were There – 77 Women Of The Easter Rising


Mary Gahan, with her husband and two of her children, Eileen and Robert (1926)

Mary Gahan.

Robert Gahan, September 2018