Scotsman Who Died On His Birthday Fighting For Irish Freedom At GPO
Charles Carrigan 1882 - 1916... Was An Ancestral Son Of Ireland
Member of The Irish Republican Brotherhood
In Ireland’s 800 years of English domination, people throughout the world who had little knowledge of Ireland, its people, culture and history, were united in their desires, that England, as a foreign and illegal occupier of Ireland, would relinquish their governance of the Emerald Isle. Ancestral people of Ireland whose parents were Irish were mostly well informed of the brutality inflicted by English soldiers and police on Irish families, whose sole motivation was to be Irish and not be subjected to a regime, whose rule of law was responsible for thousands of deaths of innocent Irish people.
An ancestral Son of Ireland, Charles Edward Carrigan was born of Irish parents in Moore Street, in the Calton district of Glasgow in 1882. He later lived for a period in the Stirlingshire village of Denny, where he was Chief Ranger in the Irish National Foresters and President of the local branch of the United Irish League at the age of 16.
Charles finally settled in the Gorbals with his family, and lived at 65, Eglinton Street. Modest by nature, he possessed a keen intellect and ran his own tailoring business. From an early age he developed a love of all things Irish and was an enthusiastic Gaelic Leaguer and was also proficient in French and Latin.
When Sinn Féin was founded in 1905, members of the IRB formed a branch in Glasgow soon afterwards, named the Éire Óg Craóbh with Charles Carrigan as its first chairman. The branch was very active and organised Gaelic classes, as well as holding lectures on Irish history and the contemporary political situation.
An Exceptionally Intelligent Young Man With Strong Irish Links
Carrigan's wide knowledge of the hardships endured by the working classes of Clydeside, many of whom were Irish immigrants, developed in him a strong social conscience and in 1906 the future Minister of Housing in the first Labour British Government, John Wheatley, founded the small, but influential Catholic Socialist Society. The objective was to reconcile practicing Roman Catholics with the ideals of socialism and Carrigan and fellow IRB member, Thomas O'Baun enrolled. As well as serving on the organising committee and presiding at meetings, Carrigan was much in demand as a lecturer. It was hardly surprising then, that when Arthur Griffith sided with the bosses during the Dublin Lock Out, the Glasgow Sinn Féiners felt compelled to denounce his actions.
Carrigan was part of a twenty person contingent of 'A' Company, Irish Volunteers, Glasgow, that crossed to Ireland to participate in the 1916 Easter Rising. When they arrived they formed the Scottish Division of the Kimmage Garrison at Kimmage Camp and helped to prepare the armoury for the impending rising.
During the fighting Carrigan was positioned at the GPO with other members of the Scottish Division and despite putting up a brave fight, the constant British bombardment was taking its toll. Incendiary shells set the Republican Headquarters on fire and their evacuation became necessary.
It was during the second evacuation on the 28th April that Charles Carrigan was cut down by a hail of bullets with the O'Rahilly by his side and both freedom fighters were killed in Moore Street, near the burning GPO. By a sad coincidence Charles Carrigan was murdered by British soldiers on his 34th birthday.
As an ancestral son of Ireland, born in Scotland, Charles had to realise when making his decision to come to Ireland and take up arms against the enemy, he may never come home to Scotland, his family and relations ever again. The fatal price he paid is worthy of the highest honour any Irish government could bestow on an ancestral son, whose participation in the Easter Rising, was responsible for the establishment of the Republic Of Ireland.
Charles Carrigan's name takes pride of place on a monument in St. Paul's Cemetery, Glasnevin, where he is buried along with fifteen other heroes of Easter Week 1916. Irish men and women should ensure that the name CHARLES CARRIGAN is permanently written in stone for current and future generations of Irish people.
Charles Carrigan was aged just thirty four when he died on the native soils of his parents and is now Inducted as an Irish Patriot at the Irish Heritage Hall Of Fame Online Gallery.