In 1907, Kearney wrote the lyrics to ‘The Soldier’s Song’. It was used as a marching song by the Irish Volunteers and was sung by rebels in the GPO during the 1916 Easter Rising. Its popularity increased among rebels held in Frongoch internment camp after the Rising, and the IRA in the Irish War of Independence (1919–21).
In the weeks before the Rising broke out, Kearney had been touring England with the Abbey Theatre as an odd-job man and small parts actor. He returned to Dublin in time to take part in the rebellion and fought with Thomas MacDonagh at Jacobs Factory. After the surrender, he managed to escape before the rebels were taken into custody.
In the years that followed the Rising, civil unrest continued all over Ireland and when the War of Independence broke out in 1919 Kearney saw active service. He was arrested in November 1920 and…
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