#OnThisDay 1922 The first four (of 77) members of the Anti-Treaty IRA were executed in Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin after being found in possession of a revolver in Wicklow. The four were:
James Fisher, 18
Richard Twohig, 19
John Gaffney, 19
Peter Cassidy, 21
Their letters were all to their mothers. James Fisher’s, the youngest of the group, letter to his mother is particularly heartbreaking. It reads:
I am now awaiting the supreme penalty at 7 o’clock in the morning but I am perfectly happy, because I’ve seen the Priest and I am going to die a good Catholic and a soldier of the Irish Republic. Don’t worry or cry for me, but pray for the repose of my soul and my three comrades. I asked to see you, but they say that they would see what they could do.
Ask all my friends and comrades to pray for me and Dick and my two comrades. Mother I would just love one look at all the faces at home, your’s above all, but seemly that is denied me. I get everything I want now, which as you know is the usual stunt. Mother, my heart grieves for one look at your dear face; but please God I will meet you and them all in heaven. I picture how this will effect you, but Mother don’t fret, for remember I am happy. The Priest here is going to get me to hear my confession, and I will receive at the altar in the morning.
Lord Jesus give me courage in my last moments. If I had only got told of my sentence I would have been well prepared before now. Oh Mother if I could only see you, just again. Don’t fret Mother because I am happy.
To my Mother I dearly love, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye. We will meet again in Heaven please God, Mother. God strengthen you in this ordeal Mother. I am to die for Ireland.
(Signed) J. B. Fisher.