Dublin girl of 16 raised the Irish flag over Liberty Hall
By Brendan Grehan
A DUBLIN teenager who raised the Irish flag (the gold harp on green) over Liberty Hall a week before the1916 Rising was commemorated this week in The Square.
Molly O’Reilly, who was 16 at the time, was given the flag by James Connolly. She had a doll named after her by Treasured Dolls in The Square.
Molly’s granddaughter, Suzanne Corcoran, from Inchicore, was in Treasured Dolls for the naming ceremony.
She told The Echo: “It’s great that Molly is being commemorated. She used to go to Liberty Hall for Irish Dancing classes but didn’t go to the classes and went instead to hear James Connolly speak.”
Suzanne added: “She was born in Gardiner Street in 1900 and got involved in nationalism from an early age. There is a new statue of her in the 1916 exhibition in The Ambassador”.
At the age of 11 she joined Clann na nGaedheal, the republican girl scouts movement. Two years later she was so appalled by the living conditions in the Dublin tenements that she volunteered to support the workers and their families during the Lock-out. At the age of 13 she helped organise a soup kitchen in Liberty Hall.
One week before the Easter Rising she raised the Irish flag (the gold harp on green) for James Connolly.
Molly was hugely influenced by Connolly and was an active member of the Citizen Army. In July 1914, after hundreds of rifles were landed at Howth by the Asgard, she brought dozens of the rifles to her home in Gardner Street where they stayed until they could be distributed throughout the city.
During Easter week in the midst of heavy rifle and machine-gun fire and the artillery shelling of Dublin city centre she fearlessly carried dispatches for the leaders out of and into the GPO.
Later during the War of Independence she was a member of the Cumann na mBan and as a worker in the United Services Club in St Stephens Green – a club for British soldiers – she gathered intelligence for Michael Collins.
Molly opposed the Treaty. During the Civil War she was held in prison by the Treaty side and went on hunger strike. As a result she and 50 other women were released in November 1923. Molly remained a stalwart of the republican struggle until her death in October 1950.