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We know that Connolly Park is called after famous Irishman James Connolly. James Connolly was one of the leaders of the Rising of 1916. He was born in Cowgate, a poor area of Edinburgh, in Scotland.
We claim him as a Monaghanman because both his parents came from the Parish of Killeevan in Co.Monaghan.
James Connolly had to start work at a very early age -11 years- so his education was neglected in youth. He educated himself by reading. He was always very conscious of the poverty of the working classes.
He believed that a country's wealth should be shared by all of its citizens. He was an ardent Socialist.
Connolly came to Dublin to work as an organiser for the Socialist Society at the meagre wage of £1 per week. He lived in a poor part of Dublin and soon got to know how Irish workers were being exploited at the time (1896). He worked with Jim Larkin in organising the I.T.G.W.U.- The Irish Transport and General Workers' Union. He founded the Irish Citizen Army to protect Irish workers in their struggle for their rights. His aim was to establish an Irish Socialist Republic. Meanwhile, the Irish Volunteer Force was formed by Eoin Mac Neill, and preparations were being made for the rising of 1916.
James Connolly and the Irish Citizen Army took part in the Rising, in Easter week, 1916, and he was injured in the ankle, in the G.P.O.
When the rising was over, he was taken prisoner with the other leaders, and excecuted by a firing squad at Kilmainham Jail. He had to be carried out on a chair, to be shot, because of his injuries.
If you read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, you will see
that it is signed by seven men -Thomas J.Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, P.H. Pearse, Thomas Mac Donagh, Eamonn Ceannt, Joseph Plunkett and James Connolly. We are proud that a Monaghanman played such an important part in the foundation of the State, and in raising the workers out of misery.
Now that you have read about James Connolly, you might be interested to read all about the 1916 Rising in you history book, or in the library.
(Extract from Monaghan Images)