The History

Thomas MacDonagh (1878-1916)

A native of Cloughjordan, Tipperary, MacDonagh spent the early part of his career as a teacher. Having met Pearse on the Aran Islands he moved to Dublin to study and joined the teaching staff of St. Enda’s. Later having taken a Masters Degree in arts he lectured in English at the National University. MacDonagh was a poet and his play When the Dawn is Come was produced at the Abbey theatre.

He was appointed director of training for the Irish Volunteers in 1914, later joining the IRB. Tom was co-opted to the Military Council only weeks before the Rising. He was commander of the Second Battalion of Volunteers that occupied Jacob’s during the Rising. Like his friend Joseph Plunkett he also edited the Irish Review and was an Irish Theatre Director. MacDonagh was often described as a wit, enthusiastic family man with never an unkind word to say about anyone. He was executed on 3 May 1916.

Return To History