Tuesday, 10 October 2017 20:56

Thomas McDonagh (Tipperary): Irish Heritage Hall of Fame Inductee

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Easter Rising 1916 Tipperary Patriot Of Cloughjordan Fame


The famous Tipperary born martyr was a man of exceptional intellect and with a great passion for literature. Thomas MacDonagh was always a busy man and seldom spent an idle hour on the wayside. He charmed those in his company with banter and great tales of music, joviality and matters of life.

MacDonagh kept friendship and fellowship with noted authors such as W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, James Stephens and colleague in arms, Joseph Mary Plunkett. All men shared their love of poetry and Thomas MacDonagh’s vision of verse and prose was greatly admired by his famous colleagues.


Educated at Rockwell College, New Inn, Co. Tipperary, Thomas chose the teaching profession as a career and thought at Kilkenny and Fermoy, Co. Cork. His love of the Irish language took him to the Aran Islands for study and it was here that he first met Pádraig Pearse, leader of the 1916 Rising.

The Aran Islands, apart from its natural habitat as ‘real’ home of Irish speakers, was also frequented by many people who had more than an ambition for a free and united Ireland. Thomas met many men on the famous Galway Island who had the confidence to take actions and he too acquired a rebel streak for a free and united Ireland.

In 1908 he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and this was soon after he composed a famous play ‘When The Dawn is Come’ a gripping story of seven Irish Army Captains who took on the might of the British Crown with great success.

In 1911 Thomas was appointed as an English Lecturer at the National University and he also found time to assist with many productions at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.


The formation of the Irish Volunteers in 1913 was the catalyst that expedited MacDonagh’s political strategy to take up arms and he was appointed Director Of Training for all new recruits. He also arranged and directed the funeral of O’ Donovan Rossa in 1915.

During the 1916 Rising, Pearse made Thomas MacDonagh Commander of the Fourth Battalion Dublin Brigade at Jacob’s Mills. He was also one of the famous seven signatories to the 1916 Proclamation.

When the 1916 Easter Rising was repressed, he was captured and sentenced to death by firing squad on the 3rd May 1916.

Last modified on Wednesday, 23 September 2020 10:43