Fonds P77 - Papers of the O’Brennan Family

Identity area

Reference code

IE OCL P77

Title

Papers of the O’Brennan Family

Date(s)

  • 1906-1930s (Creation)

Level of description

Fonds

Extent and medium

1 box

Context area

Name of creator

(1894-1976)

Biographical history

Alo O'Brennan, Cormac St, Tullamore was a member of a strongly republican family. He served a month in jail for nationalist activity and the family home in Church St, Tullamore, was raided on a number of occasions. He was manager of the employment exchange in Tullamore from the late 1920s until 1974. Leading member of Irish National Forresters and a former Chief Ranger, he was a founder member of Tullamore Pipe Band in 1911. He died in 1976 aged 82.

Name of creator

(1886-1968)

Biographical history

Séamus O’ Brennan was born James Michael Brennan in Daingean, Co. Offaly c. 1886. He was educated in Daingean NS and the old CBS Tullamore. He worked in the GPO from 1903 and soon after joined the Keating branch of the Gaelic League and the Geraldine Football Club with two others, but after six months’ probation all three lost their jobs, obviously for their patriotic tendencies. He returned to Tullamore where he worked as a clerk in P. & H. Egan’s. He helped form the Tullamore Pipers’ Band in 1911 and was a key member of the Tullamore Volunteers in 1914. He went on the run with Peadar Bracken following the shooting of Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) Sergeant Ahearn who had attempted to disarm them on 20 March 1916 (the Tullamore Incident). In his military pension application, Brennan states that on Good Friday he was sent by PH Pearse to Tullamore. Following the Easter Rising he was interned until June 1916. He joined F Company, First Battalion, Irish Volunteers upon reorganisation. During the War of Independence he acquired a number of arms for the IRA before being arrested again in November 1920 and interned in Ballykinlar until December 1921. In 1922 he married Miss May Margaret Doody, daughter of James T. Doody, Tullamore. He was a personal friend of de Valera since the 1917 Ennis election and for a time served him as a bodyguard. President de Valera and old comrades were among those who attended the funeral in 1968.

Archival history

Donated by Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society per Michael Byrne in 1980s.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Contains manuscript material, brochures, pamphlets, and a substantial newspaper collection created principally by Tullamore brothers and Irish Volunteers Séamus and Alo O’Brennan. The earliest material from 1906 and 1909 are programs for feiseanna held by Tullamore Celtic Literary Society and Conradh na Gaeilge. Also includes letter from Inspector Crane of Tullamore RIC Barracks giving permission in 1911 to James Brennan (Séamus O’Brennan) to play hand-ball in the alley at the barracks during weekdays. Both Crane and O’Brennan were involved in the Tullamore Incident five years later.

Also includes a copy of the charge sheet relating to the Tullamore Incident of March 1916, the original of which is in Offaly History Archives. This copy is annotated by Alo O’Brennan, along with annotated pages from Hansard’s Debates from April 1916 relating to the ‘affray.’

Also includes an illustrated pledge signed by Alo O’Brennan in Tullamore in June 1918 ‘denying the right of the British government to enforce compulsory service...’

Also includes an autograph book created by Séamus O’Brennan in Ballykinlar internment camp (1920-21).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

By appointment only. Contact Offaly Archives at info@offalyhistory.com

Conditions governing reproduction

May be reproduced in accordance with provisions of the Copyright and Related Rights Acts (2000). No reproduction online, in print or broadcast without express permission of copyright holder.

Language of material

  • English
  • Irish

Script of material

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Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G)

Dates of creation revision deletion

June 2019, Sarah Dunning

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Accession area