Kilmainham Gaol text Collection title

Noel Lemass

Biography

Noel Lemass was born in Capel St., Dublin, in 1897, the eldest of seven children. A member of the 3rd Dublin Battalion of the Irish Volunteers, he and his brother Sean were on their way to join their battalion in Boland’s Mill on Easter Monday 1916 when they were called into the rebels’ headquarters at the General Post Office. Noel was stationed to the Imperial Hotel and was wounded whilst returning from a dispatch to the GPO. After three months of imprisonment, he re-joined the Volunteers, becoming captain of E company in his old battalion. He spent a large part of the War of Independence in prison, serving time in Mountjoy, Kilmainham jail, and the Rath camp. He worked as an intelligence officer for the anti-Treaty IRA during the Civil War, though again was detained for a great deal of the conflict before managing to escape to England. Returning to Ireland after the ceasefire, he was abducted on the 3rd July 1923 and his body was found, badly beaten and with three bullet wounds, four months later. No one was ever charged for his murder. His brother Sean later served as Taoiseach between 1959 and 1966.


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