A native of Virginia, Co. Cavan, John Kevin O’Reilly worked as a newspaper reporter in Belfast and a publican in Bray before spending a period in the United States of America campaigning for the Irish Brigade fighting in the Boer War. A member of the IRB, O’Reilly later returned to Ireland and acted as a steward at the inaugural meeting of the Irish Volunteers at the Rotunda in November 1913. He joined B Company in the 2nd Battalion of the Dublin Brigade along with his five sons, four of whom participated with their father in the Easter Rising. Accompanied throughout the week by his 16 year-old son Thomas, O’Reilly took up a position on Cabra Bridge on Easter Monday before relocating to the Father Matthew Hall and later to the GPO. Following the surrender, he was interned in Wandsworth Jail and Frongoch prison camp until December 1916. O’Reilly went on to serve as Head of the 1st Dáil’s Financial Department.
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