by ehistoryadmin on January 13, 2022

Further Co. Kildare victims of the 1916 Rising

James Durney

It is an old adage that as soon as you print a list, new information will invariably come to light. In the centenary year of the 1916 Rising many lists appeared of participants and victims of the week-long event. My own book Foremost and ready. Kildare and the 1916 Rising, published in 2015, has lists of participants, victims and those arrested from County Kildare, but since its publication new material has been made available. Two more Kildare-born victims of the Rising have recently come to light: Edward J. Costello, an Irish Volunteer, who was killed in action on 25 April 1916 and Margaret McGuinness who died on 3 May 1916. There are, however, conflicting reports of their details and deaths.

Edward Joseph Costello was born at Kilcock on 13 October 1888. In 1911 he was working for John Thomas Rattray, a pawnbroker, at Main Street, Naas, and also boarded at the same address. In 1912 Costello moved to Lurgan, Co. Armagh, where he was employed as a clerk. He married Annie Loughlin on 5 February 1912; a daughter, Annie May Josephine, was born on 1 December 1912. Marital relations broke down shortly after and Edward moved to Dublin in 1914 without his family. Edward lived at Mulgrave Street, Dun Laoighaire (Kingstown), and was employed as a clerk in Boland’s Bakery. He subsequently joined the 1st Dublin Battalion, Irish Volunteers, and mobilised on Easter Monday 1916 for the attack on the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park. Later he made his way to the Four Courts which had been commandeered by the Irish Volunteers. On Tuesday, 25 April, he was wounded in the head at Church Street and taken to Jervis Street Hospital where he died almost immediately. His brother, James, put a picture and advertisement in the Evening Herald of 7 June 1916 seeking his whereabouts stating:

‘Edward Costello, aged 27, a native of Kilcock, who has been missing since April 24, when he was last seen wearing a brown lounge suit and bowler hat. He is about 5ft. 8in., slight build, and fair complexion. His brother resides at 9 Charlemont street, Dublin, and seeks news of him.’

James Costello subsequently registered the death on 15 June 1916, but Edward Costello had been buried coffin-less on 1 May 1916 in Glasnevin Cemetery with several other victims of the Rising. Perhaps because of his newspaper appeal he was informed by the relevant authorities at Jervis Street Hospital that his brother had died there and already been interred. Edward Costello’s name is included on the 1916 Easter Rising Memorial Wall. Some sources claim he was born in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, but Kildare Local Studies, Genealogy & Archives Department have identified that Edward Costello was born in Kilcock, Co. Kildare. He is also wrongly identified as being a member of the Irish Citizen Army in several accounts.

Edward’s widow, Annie Costello, of 3 Castle Lane, Lurgan, made a dependents’ allowance application in 1924 under The Army Pensions Act 1923, which allowed the widow of an Irish Citizen Army or Irish Volunteer member killed in action before 1 August 1922 to apply for a state pension. The Army Pensions Board awarded Mrs. Annie Costello a pension and a posthumous 1916 Medal. Edward Costello has also been wrongly identified in some sources as an officer, but all men wounded or killed in action during Easter Week in their pension claims were officially ‘deemed to rank as an Officer’ and perhaps this is where the confusion began. Annie Costello died on 22 March 1959.

Another recently unearthed local connection was Co. Kildare-born Margaret McGuinness, whose name appears alongside three of the Rising leaders on the recently unveiled 1916 Easter Rising Memorial Wall. She died on 3 May 1916, supposedly from gunshot wounds received during Easter Week. However, Celine Naughton writing in the Irish Independent, has thrown doubt on whether Margaret McGuinness was in fact a casualty of the Rising.

Margaret McGuinness died on 3 May 1916 the day that proclamation signatories Thomas Clarke, Thomas McDonagh and Patrick Pearse were executed. She passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage at the South Dublin Union. A death notice for Margaret in the Irish Independent recorded: ‘McGuinness, Margaret, widow of the late Joseph, late of 27 Pembroke Cottages, Donnybrook.’ In the Sinn Féin Rebellion Handbook, published within months of the Rising, Margaret was listed as being fifty years of age (younger than her age in the census) and as having died as a result of ‘bullet or gunshot wounds’. But, according to her death certificate, issued on 4 May 1916, Margaret died from cerebral hemorrhage, with no mention of its cause.

According to Ray Bateson, author of The Rising Dead: ‘Usually, when hemorrhage was caused by gunshot wounds or injury, the certificate would state, “as a result of…” so it is a bit strange that it simply records “cerebral hemorrhage”.’ The South Dublin Union was a distance from Pembroke Cottages in Donnybrook, so it is unclear whether Margaret was in occupancy or died locally and was brought there. Due to her entry in the Sinn Féin Rebellion Handbook, Glasnevin Trust historian Conor Dodd said: ‘The balance of information is there to show she was a civilian casualty.’

In 1901 Margaret and Joseph McGuinness were living at Forty Acres, 79 Pembroke Cottages, Rathmines. Joseph stated that he was born in Dublin, while Margaret’s birthplace was recorded as Co. Kildare. In 1911 Margaret (54) and Joseph (51) were still living at 27 Pembroke Cottages, Rathmines. The census stated that both were born in Co. Kildare, although it is more probable that Joseph was born in Dublin. Also living with them were Jennie and Jack McGuinness, a niece and nephew, who were born in Cork City. By 1911 the couple had been married eighteen years and had no children. Joseph died on 20 March 1914 and his death certificate was signed by his niece, Jennie McGuinness. At the time of his death he had been working as a groundsman at the RDS. However, his age was recorded as thirty-eight. He was buried in the family plot at Deansgrange Cemetery, Blackrock, Co. Dublin. Two years later his wife, Margaret McGuinness was buried in Deansgrange Cemetery, along with forty-eight other victims of the Rising.

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