A native of Glasgow, Bernard J. Friel fought in the GPO during the Easter Rising. He occupied the Arch Public House on Henry Street at the beginning of the week before relocating to the GPO. Following his internment in Knutsford Jail and Frongoch prison camp, Friel returned to Glasgow. He was caught smuggling explosives to Ireland during the War of Independence and served three years penal servitude in Peterhead Prison.
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