Patrick Rankin was the only Newry man to take part in the 1916 Rising in Dublin. He was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
The local drive to reorganise came from Newry, where the Centre (the man charged with organising and coordinating between groups and individuals) for the County was Robert Kelly of the town. Other County Down members in Newry then included George Cahill, Frank Patterson, James Morgan and Edward McCann. Henry Murphy of Castlewellan was also in the IRB. Newry man John Southwell was the Centre for Armagh. Southwell from Dominic Street joined the IRB in 1910 and was to become the Secretary of the Ulster Council and one of the principal organisers in Ulster. He played a leading role in establishing the Irish Volunteers in the Newry area. Under the initiative of Bulmer Hobson and Dublin republican, the Ớ Raghalliagh the Irish Volunteers were formed in 1913 with Eoin Mac N