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Authority record

Bracken, Peadar

  • Person
  • 1887-1961

Peadar Bracken was born in Tullamore in 1887. A lifelong nationalist, he joined the Tullamore branch of the Gaelic League in 1902 and was recruited into the IRB in 1904 at the age of 17. A stone-cutter by trade, he emigrated in 1911 to Perth in Western Australia where he joined his brother Denis in the stone-cutting business there. On hearing of the formation of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, Peadar returned to Tullamore and was elected by the Tullamore Volunteers as their First Captain. In November 1914, he was arrested along with 45 others for his involvement in the Geashill Cattle Drive. Due to the fact that he had discharged a fireream during the melée, he was sentenced to six months imprisonment in Mountjoy Gaol but only served two.

In 1915 he was appointed First Commandant of the newly formed Athlone IV Brigade. In March 1916, he was a key figure in the Tullamore Incident and fired ‘the first shots’ in the affray. He and Seamus O’Brennan subsequently went on the run. During the 1916 Rising, he held key positions in the heart of the fighting, as OC O’Connell Bridge and holding the GPO until surrender. He was released from Kilmainham Gaol in June 1916 and immediately reorganised the Athlone IV Brigade. During the War of Independence he was appointed overall Commandant of No 1 and No 2 Offaly IRA Brigades and Staff Officer to IRA-HQ. He was interned in the Curragh Camp in 1921 but was released in October of that year. Following the establishment of the Free State, he was appointed first clerk of the courts for Tullamore and later to Daingean, Clara and Ferbane. In 1934 he was appointed commissioner for oaths and in the 1940s he served as staff officer with the Tullamore Local Defence Force. His military pension application was approved in 1940 and he was awarded medals for his involvement in the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence. He died in January 1916.

Brenan, Henry F.

  • Person
  • b. 1886

Henry Francis Brenan was born in Dublin of a County Kilkenny family from Eden Hall, Ballyragget and qualified a solicitor in 1907. He was the son of a solicitor and was apprenticed to R. M. McNamara, a Dublin solicitor. After upwards of three years with McNamara, Mr Brenan came to Tullamore in 1910. In 1914 he became a partner with George Hoey in the firm of Hoey & Denning, Tullamore. At aged 30, Brenan was duly appointed on 27 July 1916 to hold the combined offices of crown solicitor and sessional crown solicitor. In October 1921 Brenan’s resignation as crown solicitor in before the Treaty was under duress from the IRA or it may have been self-serving in that he was under pressure to give up the town clerkship of Tullamore Urban District Council if he did not resign the crown solicitorship. This arose out of a Dáil Eireann letter to the council and, after mid-1920, Sinn Féin instructions to all councils not to co-operate with British institutions of government.

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