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Anno and Nell O'Rahilly
26.

Waterford's Revolutionary Women 1916-1922

26. Anno and Nell O'Rahilly
Ballylongford, Kerry - Waterford City - Dublin

Sisters Anno and Nell O'Rahilly were revolutionaries of the period 1916 - 1923 and both educated at Ursuline Convent, Waterford. The girls came from a wealthy merchant family in Ballylongford, Kerry also living in County Clare. Anno O'Rahilly was one of a small group of women present at Wynnes Hotel, Dublin at the founding of Cumann na mBan in April 1914. In 1909, she moved to Dublin with her sister and her family. Their only brother "The O'Rahilly" was one of the leaders of the 1916, Easter Rising and the only leader killed in action. The following note was written to his wife Nancy, as he lay dying in a lane way following the shooting.

"Darling Nancy, I was shot leading a rush up Moore Street and took refuge in a doorway. While I was there I heard the men pointing out where I was and made a bolt for the laneway I am in now. I got more [than] one bullet I think, tons and tons of love dearie to you and the boys and to Nell and Anno. It was a good fight anyhow"

Anno was treasurer of the Prisoners Dependency Fund after the 1916 rising. During the War of Independence and Civil War, their house 36 Ailesbury Road was used as a safe house. The sisters took the republican side during the Civil War. Nell's daughter Sighle Humphreys also became a well-known member of Cumann na mBan serving as Secretary, Director of Publicity and National Vice President. According to Mark Humphreys "November 1922 their home was raided by the Free State troops while hiding Republican, Ernie O'Malley. Anno was accidentally shot in the face by O'Malley as he tried to escape, she was badly injured and her nose was deformed for the rest of her life. The entire family were arrested, and Ernie O'Malley captured. Once Anno recovered in April 1923, she was transferred from hospital to Mount Joy Prison and released in Dec 1923". When Nell died 1939, she continued living on her own in Ailesbury Rd for many years. Anno O'Rahilly died Mon, 6th Oct 1958, age 85 years and was buried with her parents in Lislaughtin Abbey, Ballylongford.
 
1. Reference: Mark Humphreys at humphrysfamilytree.com
2. Bureau of Military History Witness Statement
Aine O'Rahilly

Author: Chrissy O'Connor Knight & Eddie Cantwell

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