John MacDonagh, the brother of Thomas MacDonagh, toured Britain and America as a singer and actor before returning to Ireland in 1914, where he managed the Irish Theatre in Dublin. He also joined the Irish Volunteers upon his return and fought in the Easter Rising under his brother’s command at Jacob’s Biscuit factory. He marched alongside his brother and Major John MacBride as they entered the building, and worked as Thomas’ aide during the week, inspecting posts and distributing supplies. Following his release from internment in August 1916, he resumed his career in the arts, writing, directing and acting in productions for film, theatre and radio.
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