Tuesday 21 January 2020

Man claims to have rare 1916 Wexford Tricolour

Tommy O'Brien with his flag.
Tommy O'Brien with his flag.


A MAN says he has the rarest of flags, a 1916 Tricolour that he believes flew in Enniscorthy during the Easter Rising.

Tommy O'Brien, from Armagh, visited Wexford town last week with his precious Tricolour - which is normally kept in a safe - in a bag, along with a clutch of old photographs and a marriage certificate dating back to 1907.

The flag, faded and a little bit ragged, he says, is made from flour bags which were stitched together and dyed. He firmly believes that it dates back to 1916 and his ancestor Mary Elizabeth Doyle, who was living in the Faythe, but was originally from what was then Ram Street (now Skeffington Street), in Wexford.

In 1907, Mary Elizabeth married carter John Wade, from the Faythe, and both, said Tommy, became involved in the Republican cause and delivered weapons and supplies on their carts to the rebels during the Rising.

The flag was hers and was passed on through the generations until it reached Tommy.

Little is known of what his ancestor did during the Rising, although Tommy believes she was a messenger ferrying communiques between various rebel detachments.

In 1918, he said she moved to Liverpool where she operated a secret Republican safe house and remained in England for the rest of her days, apart from periodic visits to Ireland although he is unsure if she came back to her home town.

'I thought people here might be interested in seeing it,' said retired builder Tommy, preparing to head home for Armagh. Anyone who can shed any light on the life and times of Mary Elizabeth Doyle and John Wade should contact David Tucker on (053) 9140130.

Wexford People

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