A member of C Company in the 2nd Battalion of the Irish Volunteers, Joe Begley fought in the Easter Rising, starting the week in Jacob’s Biscuit factory before relocating to the Turkish Baths at St. Stephen’s Green. He was interned until December 1916, after which he emigrated to America. When Éamon de Valera travelled to the United States during the War of Independence, Begley was recruited as a private secretary and Aide de Camp, and was later involved in smuggling arms. He returned to Ireland upon the outbreak of the Civil War to act as an assistant to de Valera, but was captured and interned until December 1923.
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