The James Connolly
Located beside Daly's of Eden Quay
James Connolly (1868 – 1916)
Born to Irish immigrant parents in Glasgow, James Connolly was primarily motivated throughout his life by the plight of poverty, the suppression of the working classes and the desire to create equality for all. Entering the workforce through necessity at 11 years of age, and joining the British Army at fourteen, created a defiance within Connolly that energised him constantly to challenge and change the system. Having left the army, which he came to despise, Connolly eked out a meagre existence for himself and his young family both in Scotland and America, before returning to Ireland in 1910 to take up a position in the IT&GWU.
In 1913 Connolly assisted James Larkin in the Lockout and subsequently founded the ICA (Irish Citizen Army) to defend workers against the excessive force used against workers by both the DMP and the bosses ‘strike-breakers.’ Increasingly, James Connolly was coming to the conclusion that only an armed revolution would overthrow the corrupt capitalist system. He initially distrusted the Irish Volunteers and with Countess Markievicz led an abortive swoop on Dublin Castle in 1915. However, following intensive discussions with Pearse and Clarke, James Connolly decided to join forces with the IRB men for the Easter Rising. The 1916 Proclamation, read by Pearse, was heavily influenced by Connolly, particularly in relation to the equality of women.
As Commandant of the Dublin Battalion, Connolly was the de facto leader in the GPO. He was severely wounded during the Rising and taken by ambulance to Dublin Castle where he was sentenced to death. Despite Prime Minister Asquith’s order to stop the executions, General Maxwell decided he couldn’t allow Connolly to live. Early on Friday, May 12th, James Connolly was taken on a stretcher from Dublin Castle to Kilmainham Gaol, tied to a chair that repeatedly fell over because of the gravity of his injuries. There he was shot by firing squad, the last of the 1916 leaders to be executed at Kilmainham Gaol. Connolly’s death, more so than that of the other signatories, sent a wave of revulsion and emotion through the land against British Rule in Ireland