Youngsters remember their rebel great-grandmother

Youngsters remember their rebel great-grandmother

By Maurice Garvey

Screenshot 10 snip TWO youngsters from Ballyfermot raised a proclamation flag for their school on March 16, but also to honour the life of their rebel great-grandmother.

Sophia (11) and Aaron Keeley (5), students in St Louise De Marillac, are the great-grandkids of battle-hardened Christina Keeley (nee Caffrey) – who was a pivotal member of the Easter Rising.

Christina Keeley collage 

Christina was born in Dublin in 1898, and a member of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA).

She worked with Countess Markievicz in Liberty Hall during the 1913 Lockout, and at the age of 18, she was one of a handful of girls who marched out with insurgents in 1916.

Christina’s grandson, Dermot Keeley, a Drumfin Road resident, and parent of Sophia and Aaron, told The Echo of her involvement.

Dermot said: “She was involved with the St Stephen’s Green garrison with Michael Mallin. He gave her a message to bring to James Connolly in the GPO (during artillery bombardment) but she was caught by British soldiers and brought to Dublin Castle.

“She stuffed the message in her mouth, officers asked her what she was doing, and she took out a bag of sweets and offered them one. They decided to let her go. She was also in the Jacob’s Biscuit Factory during the Rising.”

Dermot continued: “After the Rising, Christina married James Keeley, who was also involved in The Rising as a professional moulder for bombs and grenades. She was sent over to Glasgow by the Cumann na mBan, and was running guns and ammo back to Ireland. They moved back to Dublin and lived in North Wall.”

Christina did not take part in the Civil War, but became well known in the theatre world and was a wardrobe mistress in the Gate and the Theatre Royal.

She died in 1976 at the age of 78.

As a young boy, Dermot was brought to see her in hospital before she passed.

“I’m glad I got to see her, even though I was too young to understand,” said Dermot.



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