Easter Rising court martial files go online

Newly released material from the National Archives of Ireland have been put online and include the court-martial documents from the Easter Rising. 

The court martial files for Thomas MacDonagh reveal that the then 38-year old revolutionary leader had pleaded not guilty to the charge of 'waging of war against His majesty the King'. After he had called no witnesses to his defence, MacDonagh was found guilty and sentenced to 'death by being shot'.

MacDonagh’s lifelong friend and comrade Joseph Plunkett is described by a witness in his own file as having surrendered 'wearing a sword and pistol'.

Irish President Michael D. Higgins said the files were for many years 'kept secret and were inaccessible to the general public'.

President Higgins was speaking at the launch of the records at Richmond Barracks in Dublin, where those involved spent their final days.

'They, and the many other images captured in these records, remind us that the leaders of 1916 were human and wounded agents of our freedom not abstract or mythical characters', said President Higgins. 

'They enable us to have a profound appreciation of the real and human sacrifices that they and their families made in order that future generations might inhabit a free and independent state.'

Click here to see the material.