Entertainer shares her strong family links with the Easter Rising events
By Laura Lyne
LOCAL ties to the 1916 Easter Rising continued to be unveiled following the national centenary events, with one well-known entertainer and stage-school teacher sharing her family’s story.
Helen Jordan, who lives in Old Bawn and has spent decades training hundreds of children for the stage both locally and nationally, discovered that her family members were being commemorated as part of the 1916 centenary during a visit to Collins Barracks.
Helen’s grandfather Christopher Jordan and her uncle James were shot in their home at Lower Mount Street on April 29, 1916 – Christopher was shot dead, with James surviving a further two years before dying from his injuries.
Christopher’s wife Elizabeth, Helen’s grandmother, managed to escape the house with one of her daughters and get help from the parish priest, Fr Fleming, who persuaded the soldiers to stop firing on the house.
Helen told The Echo: “My father was seven years old when it happened, there were seven children in the house on Mount Street.
“During the fighting on Easter week, the British opened fire on the house and my grandfather, who was a member of the Citizen’s Army, was shot dead and taken to Holles Street hospital before being buried in a mass grave in Glasnevin.
“His son, my Uncle James, was shot by the same bullet. It went through my grandfather and then lodged into my uncle.
“They could not remove the bullet from him and he lived for two years afterward. In 1918 he died leaving a wife and three children.
“My Aunt Margaret, we called her Maggie, was aged around 15, worked for Michael Collins and was a member of the Cumann na mBan.
“She used to regale us with stories about how she hid guns in her bloomers and how she received letters for Michael Collins that were sent to the house she worked in after he left. They are now in Kilmainham Barracks.”
Helen’s family have been attending events taking place in Dublin as part of the 1916 centenary commemorations, with Helen telling The Echo that the acknowledgement of her grandfather and uncle has meant a lot to her family.
She said: “I was at the RDS ceremony to see the president speak, and he was brilliant, just incredible.
“It’s fantastic to see the country commemorating it all. My family was so moved when the wall in Glasnevin was unveiled, and to see their names there.”
The Jordan family will have a ceremony to commemorate Christopher and James in Glasnevin Cemetery on May 1 at their gravestone, with a performance from a piper.