Liam Mellows and the Irish Revolution

By C. Desmond Greaves | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
THE WEST’S AWAKE

MELLOWS was not anxious to advertise his presence at Killeeneen. He issued no orders and called for no reports that did not come his way. Nevertheless reports of his arrival spread immediately. Good and bad news intermingled. Ailbhe O’Monnchain had been served with a deportation order on the day that Mellows was arrested. Fr. Feeney had found a man who superficially resembled him and dressed him in clerical garb. He had taken him to O’Monnchain’s lodgings at No. 1 Francis Street, Galway. There they changed clothes and O’Monnchain walked out unrecognised. Neilan took him to stay with the O’Higgins family at Derrydonnell three miles from Athenry. Mellows’ right-hand man was thus at liberty. But news of the divisions in Dublin was already causing confusion in the west.

Corbett had reported to Lardner on the St. Enda’s meeting. He explained that a gun-running next Sunday was to be converted into an insurrection. Lardner’s previous instructions were that the code for an insurrection would be sent from Dublin. The agreed message was “collect the premiums” and he refused to act without it. Orders issued from Hobson’s office on Tuesday seemed incompatible with the St. Enda’s decisions. Lardner’s suspicions increased and he called a meeting of officers at Fr. Feeney’s house. Corbett, Peter Howley, Padhraic Fahy and Matthew Neilan were present and it was decided that Lardner should go to Dublin on Thursday and request clear instructions from MacNeill and Pearse.

He went, but neither MacNeill nor Pearse were to be found. Hobson gave him strict instructions that no orders were to be obeyed without MacNeill’s signature. This was Lardner’s first intimation of divisions in the Dublin leadership, and he returned to Galway disheartened. Meanwhile Mrs. Frank Fahy had brought him a message given her by Eamonn Ceannt, and had waited all day at Athenry before giving it to Corbett. Lardner tore open the envelope and read “Collect the Premiums 7 p.m. Sunday—P. H. Pearse.”

Next day came a message from MacNeill quite incompatible with Pearse’s orders, and seemingly suspending the manœuvres. A meeting was held in Galway City at the house of George Nicholls, a solicitor

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