Rory O’Connor

Rory O'Connor - Public domain
Rory O'Connor - Public domain

Rory O’Connor (1883-1922) was an Irish Republican nationalist who had participated in the War of Independence (1919-1921) and the Irish Civil War (1922/1924). Considered an Irish martyr by the Republican movement, he was executed in 1922 following his position against the Treaty of London of December 1921.

Biography of Rory O’Connor

A Nationalist very involved in the Irish cause

Rory O’Connor was born in Dublin in 1883 to a wealthy family. At the age of 20, he found work as a railway engineer in Canada and returned to Ireland in the 1910s. As soon as he arrived, O’Connor was caught up in a political whirlwind that fascinated him.

Fervent defender of the nationalist fight, he then takes part in the Easter Uprising of 1916) and is imprisoned like many of the great leaders of the movement in Dublin prison. On his release, Rory O’Connor was appointed Director of Engineering for the IRA. (Irish Republican Army) and thus coordinated all the military and technical means used to win the War of Independence (1919-1921).

Rory O’Connor lays siege to the Four Courts..

At the signing of the Treaty of London (December 21, 1921), Rory O’Connor took a strong stand against the treaty. On March 26, 1922, anti-treaty activists from the I.R.A., of which O’Connor was a member, voted to formally disavow the Treaty.

In April 1922, Rory O’Connor and more than 200 men stormed the Four Courts and entered into an arm wrestling match with the new Irish government. Michael Collins, then commander-in-chief of the national army, tried to negotiate with the anti-treaty forces in vain… He was then ordered to bomb the building…

O’Connor surrendered two days after the first bombings, and was incarcerated in Mountjoy Prison…

The Irish Civil War (1922/1924) broke out, and fighting multiplied throughout Ireland. Rory O’Connor is still imprisoned, and is finally sentenced to the firing squad, in response to the assassination of a member of the Parliament of the Free State of Ireland (Sean Hales). He was finally shot as a martyr on December 8, 1922, along with 3 other anti-treaty Republicans including Liam Mellows, Richard Barrett and Joe McKelvey.