Patrick Rankin, Newry Republican

Patrick Rankin was the only Newry person to take part in the 1916 Rising.  He cycled to Dublin to join the rebels in the GPO in Sackville Street.  32 years later he wrote his memoirs.

Memoirs of Patrick Rankin, Irish Republican, written in 1948

I, Patrick Rankin, a painter by trade, was born in Newry in 1889.

I was two years waiting for admission to the IRB. In 1907, the year of the Great International Exhibition in Dublin, I finally became a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. I was sponsored by Robert Kelly (the ‘centre’ for County Down) and by John Southwell (for Armagh). The following were my fellow member in Newry: George Cahill, Frank Patterson, James Morgan, Edward McCann, Seamus O’Hanlon (Lislea) who went to New York 1912-13) Patrick Campbell (Corrinshego – went to America 1906, was home on holiday last year [1947]), Henry Murphy (Castlewellan – I do not know his position in the IRB, since dead) Robert Kelly (Newry would know this man). 

Our officers’ method was precaution and build up the IRB by good men or none. The medium adopted was slow but sure.  In 1907 meetings were held at Slieve Gullion Mountain and in 1908 at Slieve Martin in Rostrevor. Our officers took care that none of our proceedings leaked out. Very little progress was made from 1907-13, in which latter year I went to Canada. 

I worked at my trade, painting, in Toronto from 1913-1914. There was no IRB society there. There was a branch of the Ancient Order of Hibernians but I was not a member so I got no support. We formed six Gaelic football teams there and four Hurling teams so we made progress for ‘Irish Ireland’. 

Early in June 1914 I went to Philadelphia and joined the Irish Club there. It was composed of the most extreme of the IRB so I was quite at home there.

… more later …

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