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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 1°C

40 children were killed in the 1916 Rising but they are barely mentioned in our history

Joe Duffy says there was “little if any mention” of the children who died in the history books.

THE SEVEN SIGNATORIES of the 1916 Rising would want the forty children who died during that week to be remembered, according to Joe Duffy.

The RTÉ presenter’s book ‘Children of the Rising’ won the National Book Tokens Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award this week. Duffy said:

The forty children whose stories are told in this book, they are part of our history, they died as part of our history.

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The Liveline presenter explained how James Connolly himself lost a child, Mona, who died when she was just 12 years of age. Her petticoat caught fire in her aunt’s house and she was burnt to death.

Connolly only heard of the death after his family got off the boat in America, where he was waiting for them. Duffy said that Connolly grieved for his daughter for a full year, adding:

The seven signatories – the Pearse, the Plunkett, the Connolly and the Clarke, the MacDonagh, and the Mac Diarmada and the Ceannt – they would have wanted those children remembered. They would have wanted them up on that pedestal with them.

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Duffy was inspired to write the book after he was approached by the Jack & Jill Foundation to decorate The Children of the Revolution Egg, which was displayed at the Gresham Hotel.

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At that stage, only 30 children were listed on the egg. The RTÉ broadcaster said:
There was nothing definite by any stretch of the imagination and little if any mention of it at all in any of the history books.
Duffy began researching further when he was contacted by more families:
Other people got in touch and said you’ve left out my great great uncle, obviously the children had no direct descendants and that’s one of the reasons their stories were lost over the generations.

The presenter added that it was an achievement for any child to survive during that time.

He cited one study which showed that of 100 children born in the Liberties, 62 of them were dead before their 10th birthday.

Read: Joe Duffy says the competition between RTÉ presenters is tougher than UFC fighting>

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