On Easter Monday 1916, sixteen hundred men, women and children went out to fight for an independent Ireland. The battle raged in Dublin for six days and resulted in four hundred and eighty-five deaths and the destruction of many parts of the city. While predominately a Dublin affair, many of the Volunteers were from outside the city; at least thirty-two Kildare men and women took part in the Rising, including fifteen who walked from Maynooth to the General Post Office (GPO). No less than ten Kildare natives were killed in the Rising, while dozens more were wounded or imprisoned in the aftermath. The chief financier of the Rising was Kildare-born John Devoy, leader of Clann na nGael in America. Captain Tom Byrne brought news to Naas from GHQ in Dublin that a nationwide rising was to take place on Sunday 23 April using the Volunteers’ scheduled manoeuvres in Dublin as a cover. He was ordered to mobilise all the companies in the county to make their way to Bodenstown, near Sallins, where they would assemble, blow-up the railway bridge, and march on to Dublin. All companies promised a good turnout. However, due to Eoin MacNeill’s countermanding order, confusion reigned in County Kildare. Five Volunteer companies mobilised for action, but stood down when they received the countermanding order. The plans to blow up the railway bridge at Bodenstown failed and Capt. Byrne, Lieutenant O’Kelly and Tom Harris made their way to Maynooth. Here, Domhnall Ua Buachalla had mobilised Maynooth Company when word was received that the Rising had gone ahead in Dublin. Fifteen men walked from Maynooth to Dublin arriving at the GPO on Tuesday morning to be welcomed by P. H. Pearse and James Connolly. In the GPO garrison, the Maynooth group found other individuals who were from Kildare. Around the city more Kildare men and women were based with other rebel garrisons. The Irish regiments of the British Army that arrived in the capital to quell the insurrection had many men from the Short Grass county in their ranks. Some of their first fatalities, including Captain Alfred Warmington and Private Bernard Mulraney, came to Dublin from Newbridge Barracks and the Curragh Camp. Pte. James Duffy, from Kilteel, was another military fatality. Among the first civilian casualties were men and women who had been born in Kildare, but had made Dublin their home. Michael Kavanagh was shot dead by rebels at a barricade in St. Stephen’s Green; both Edward Murphy and Francis Salmon were the victims of unknown snipers, while Peter Connolly was bayonetted to death by British soldiers in North King Street; Margaret McGuinness died on 3 May 1916, possibly from gunshot wounds received earlier in the week. Two of the rebel dead were from Co. Kildare: George Geoghegan of the Irish Citizen Army was killed in the fighting at City Hall, while Vol. Edward Costello, died of gunshot wounds at Jervis Street Hospital. Outside of the capital there were only a few locations where action associated with the Rising occurred. In County Kildare, aside from the mobilisation of the Maynooth Company, a small railway section was destroyed near Athy in an attempt to disrupt communications. Ten people from Kildare, combatants and civilians, were killed in the fighting, while others with Kildare connections, like baby Seán Foster, whose father was from Ballymore Eustace, were also fatalities. Over fifty more men and women were captured or arrested. They were imprisoned in the Curragh Camp, Dublin’s Richmond Barracks, jails in England and Frongoch Camp in Wales. Robertstown man, Captain Harry de Courcy Wheeler, accompanied by Nurse O’Farrell, took the surrender of many of the rebel garrisons. The subsequent execution of the leaders of the Rising awakened a generation to the cause of Irish freedom and the Kildare men of 1916, Domhnall Ua Buachalla, Tom Harris and Pat Colgan would play their part in the development of our nation. On the day the Rising began, Kildare-born Ernest Shackleton, a name forever linked with exploration, leadership and perseverance faced danger a world away. On his third trip to Antarctica with the ‘Endurance,’ he planned to cross the continent via the South Pole when his ship became trapped in the ice and subsequently sank. The crew were stranded on Elephant Island, so, on Easter Monday 1916, Shackleton and five men set sail for South Georgia island in a small lifeboat, ‘James Caird,’ crossing 1,300 km of ocean in sixteen days to reach land. The crew who had remained on Elephant Island were rescued on 30 August 1916. James Durney Historian in Residence Historical Overview of Kildare and 1916 7