Born in London to Irish parents, Desmond Ryan moved to Navan, Co. Meath, in 1906, after his father was appointed as editor of the Irish Peasant, which was based in the town. He subsequently relocated to Dublin and was educated at St. Enda’s College, where he came under the influence of Patrick Pearse. Along with a number of other St. Enda’s students and alumni, Ryan joined E Company of the 4th Battalion of the Irish Volunteers in 1913. He was also sworn in to the IRB. As well as studying in UCD and teaching at St. Enda’s, Ryan helped to prepare explosive devices for the Easter Rising and was based in the GPO during Easter Week, initially taking up a position on the roof of the building. He was interned in Stafford jail and Frongoch prison camp until July 1916. He completed his education at UCD following his release and worked as a journalist and author thereafter, writing a great deal about the revolutionary period, including biographies of Pearse, James Connolly and Éamon de Valera. His own autobiography, Remembering Sion, was published in 1934.
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