Summer 1915

Thomas was a member of the Committee that organized the Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa funeral. Rossa was one of the early members of the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood) and managed the paper “The Irish People”. Rossa was arrested in 1865 and spent 6 years in a penal servitude at which time he was exiled. Rossa lived out the remainder of his life in the US and his body was returned to Ireland for burial. The popularity of Rossa attracted many to the ceremonies and funeral. Rossa’s funeral also helped renew popular support for home rule and also helped recruiting efforts.

February 1916

The Irish Volunteers starts to increase the frequency of training and maneuvers. They also start making more of public demonstration of their preparations.

March 1916

Pearse orders parades of Volunteers to march with full gear on St. Patrick’s day. On March 31 the Irish Volunteers held a rally demonstrating against the jailing and deportation of Volunteers.

April 1, 1916

Pearse announced orders for Easter Maneuvers to last the entire Easter Weekend.

April 20, 1916

MacNeill and Hobson hear that the plans for Easter Maneuvers are actually for a uprising and go to Pearse for confirmation. Pearse confirms that an uprising is planed for Easter Sunday. MacNeill disagreed, he thought it was not the right time to strike and such a action at the moment would only result in many deaths and set back the movement.

April 21, 1916

Thomas and MacDiarmada went to MacNeill and told him of the arms expected to arrive from Germany. They managed to persuade MacNeill not to take action against the orders for the rising.

April 22, 1916 Saturday

Late in the day MacNeill was told of the capture of the shipment of arms he decided that the uprising would not succeed and sent countermanding orders to all brigades and had the Sunday Independent publish the orders.

April 23, 1916 Sunday

Thomas was awoken and told of the news of MacNiell’s orders and the Military Council was to meet and discuss what to do next. In the end the council decided to abide by MacNeill’s order and that the rising would occur on the next day at noon. Messengers were sent to all officers with the new orders. Thomas was sent to report to MacNeill the decision of the Military Council. Thomas later that day would write a statement in regards to his actions and his responsibility for the coming Rising.

April 24, 1916 Monday
April 29, 1916

At 10:00 clock the volunteers would start congregating with their brigades. Pearse, Connolly and Plunkett commanded the volunteers who seized the General Post Office.

MacDonagh met his men in St. Stephen’s Green and announced that the Proclamation would be read from the GPO at noon.

MacDonagh had trained a special group of volunteers to destroy Magazine Fort. Just before noon this special group of volunteers over powered the guards and took what ammunition they could. Then their orders were to set fuses to detonate the remaining ammunition announcing the beginning of action.

Shortly after the noticeable destruction of Magazine Fort Pearse proceeded to the steps of the GPO and read the Proclamation to all there. The Proclamation would be posted throughout Ireland. Seven men had signed their names to the Proclamation including Thomas.

For the first few days of Uprising there was light fighting throughout Dublin. General Lowe had sent for reinforcements from the countryside. Until they arrived he would concentrate on the GPO. The British would also start to test the Volunteers’ strength and their positions.

By the 27th the British had made progress in battling the Uprising. The condition of the GPO was poor. The building was on fire and forced the Volunteers to evacuate their position. There were casualties and Connolly had been seriously wounded. Most there managed to escape despite the heavy fire and setup new headquarters.

With overwhelming British force being brought to bear and the Volunteers started taking a many more causalities, the battle was not going well. On the 29th Pearse sent Elizabeth O’Farrell under a white flag to find General Lowe and to seek terms for surrender. Pearse was only offered unconditional surrender. In the interest of preventing further bloodshed he accepted the conditions of surrender and issued orders to his men to lay down their arms. Connolly signed the surrender orders was arrested.

Thomas upon learning of this refused the order to surrender. In the chain of command Thomas was now in charge of the remaining Volunteers. After speaking with General Howe and seeing Pearse and Connolly in custody Thomas believed accepting the surrender was the only option. Thomas handed over his sword and would order his men to abide by the surrender orders and signed the orders. He was then taken into custody.

The British started Court Martial trials for the leaders of the uprising immediately. They would be charged with “rebellion with the intent of assisting the enemy” and not allowed any witnesses or legal council. .

May 2, 1916

On this day, a Tuesday, Pearse, MacDonagh and Clarke are tried for their participation. Thomas made an impromptu speech. The British had already predetermined the penalty, death. Those tried were taken to death row in Kilmainham Gaol. That evening Thomas wrote a last letter to his family.

May 3, 1916

At 1:30 A.M., Thomas’ sister in law, Grace, married Joseph Plunkett in the prison chapel. The only witnesses were the British soldiers guarding Plunkett.

At 3:30 Thomas was brought to the courtyard in Kilmainham Gaol and executed by firing squad.

In the following days sixteen men would be sentenced to death and executed by the British. All of those who signed the Proclamation would be executed. One of the leaders who would not be executed was Eamon DeValera The British did not want to disrupt their attempts in bringing the US into World War I by executing the American born DeValera and would instead jail him.

Later in 1916 Thomas’s Poetical Works and Literature in Ireland were published posthumously. In the summer of 1917 on holiday Muriel went swimming and drown, washing up on the beach the next morning. Leaving Barbara and Donagh to be passed from one family member to another for the remainder of their childhood.