Thomas Ashe

:"For the British poet Thomas Ashe, see Thomas Ashe (poet). For the U.S. Congressman and judge from North Carolina, see Thomas Samuel Ashe."Infobox Military Person
name= Thomas Patrick Ashe
_ga. Tomás Ághas
born = birth date|1885|1|12|df=y
died = death date and age|1917|9|25|1885|1|12|df=y
placeofbirth= Lispole, County Kerry, Ireland
placeofdeath= Mater Hospital, Dublin City, Ireland

allegiance= Irish Republican Brotherhood
Irish Volunteers
serviceyears= 1913 – 1917
rank= Battalion Commander
battles= Easter Rising

Thomas Patrick Ashe (Irish name: Tomás Pádraig Ághas; 12 January, 1885 – 25 September, 1917 [cite book | last = Alcobia-Murphy | first = Shane | authorlink = | title = Governing the Tongue | publisher = Cambridge Scholars Publishing | date = 2005 | pages = p. 54 | doi = | isbn = 978-1904303602] ) born in Lispole, County Kerry, Ireland, a teacher, was a member of the Gaelic League, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and a founding member of the Irish Volunteers. During the summer of 1913, he was one of the IRB members that Douglas Hyde, president of the Gaelic League, attempted to expel.

Commanding the Fingal battalion of the Irish Volunteers, Ashe took part in the Easter Rising of 1916. Ashe's force of 60-70 men engaged British forces around north County Dublin during the rising. The battalion won a major victory in Ashbourne, County Meath where they engaged a much larger force capturing a significant quantity of arms and up to 20 Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) vehicles. 24 hours after the rising collapsed, Ashe's battalion surrendered on the orders of Padraig Pearse. On 8 May 1917, Ashe and Eamon de Valera were court-martialled and both were sentenced to death. The sentences were commuted to penal servitude for life. Ashe was imprisoned in Lewes Gaol in England.

With the entry of the U.S. into World War I in April 1917, the British government was put under more pressure to solve the 'Irish problem', de Valera, Ashe and Thomas Hunter led a prisoner hunger strike on 28 May 1917 to add to this pressure. With accounts of prison mistreatment appearing in the Irish press and mounting protests in Ireland, Ashe and the remaining prisoners were freed on 18 June 1917 by Lloyd George as part of a general amnesty.

Upon release, Ashe returned to Ireland and began a series of speaking engagements.

In August 1917, Ashe was arrested and charged with sedition for a speech that he made in Ballinalee, County Longford where Michael Collins had also been speaking. He was detained at the Curragh but was then transferred to Mountjoy Prison in Dublin. He was convicted and sentenced to two years hard labour. Ashe and other prisoners, including Austin Stack, demanded prisoner of war status as this protest evolved Ashe again went on hunger strike on 20 September 1917. On 25 September 1917, he died at the Mater Hospital after being force-fed by prison authorities. At the inquest into his death, the jury condemned the staff at the prison for the "inhuman and dangerous operation performed on the prisoner, and other acts of unfeeling and barbaric conduct". [cite book | last = O'Connor | first = Ulick | authorlink = Ulick O'Connor | title = Michael Collins and the Troubles | publisher = Mainstream Publishing | date = 2001 | pages = p. 124 | doi = | isbn = 1-84018-427-2]

Ashe's death had a significant impact on the country increasing Republican recruitment, his body lay in state at Dublin City Hall, and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

He was also a relative of Catherine Ashe, the paternal grandmother of American actor Gregory Peck, who emigrated to the United States in the 19th century.

See also

* List of people on stamps of Ireland


External links

* [ Thomas Ashe song by Martin Dardis]

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