1917 – Thomas Ashe dies in the Mater Hospital in Dublin from the combined effects of a hunger strike and forced feeding at Mountjoy Jail.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

“You cannot put a rope around the neck of an idea… you cannot confine it in the strongest prison cell that your slaves could ever build.” –Sean O’Casey

Ashe was born in Lispole, a Gaeltacht village in Co Kerry in 1885 and at an early age became involved in nationalist politics. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and participated in the 1916 Rising fighting in Ashbourne where the Irish rebels did have some success.

Ashe was released from British custody in June 1917 as were most 1916 volunteers. He quickly was arrested and charged with sedition for a speech that he made in Ballinalee, Co Longford where Michael Collins had also been speaking. He was convicted and sentenced to two years hard labour. Ashe and other prisoners, including Austin Stack, demanded political status. When he was refused political status, he went on hunger strike. Aggressive force feeding by his…

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