Connolly family donates Rising medals

Posted By: May 13, 2016

Suzanne McGonagle. Irish News (Belfast). Friday, May 13, 2016

Medals awarded to James Connolly are now on show in the National Musuem of Ireland

ACOLLECTION of medals awarded to 1916 Rising leader James Connolly and members of his family have been donated to the National Museum of Ireland.

The unique collection represents awards given to four generations of the Connolly family in recognition of service given to Ireland over a period of almost 70 years.

The unveiling of the donation to the museum in Dublin was made on the same day as an event was held to mark the centenary of Connolly’s execution.

Brigadier General James Connolly, a grandson of Connolly, yesterday officially unveiled the collection awarded to the 1916 leader, who was founder and commander-in-chief of the Irish Citizen Army.

The family donation also includes medals issued to Connolly’s daughter Nora Connolly-O’Brien, his son Roderick James Connolly and his grandson.

The museum said the medals were a “significant addition” to its wider historical collections relating to the 1916 Rising.

Connolly’s 1916 Rising medal, which was officially inscribed to Commandant-General James Connolly, is among one of the most significant items acquired. It was presented posthumously to his family in 1941 on the 25th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Several medals awarded to his daughter Nora, for her work as a founder member of Na Fianna Éireann, as well as her service during the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence,  are also now on show.

A medal given to Ms Connolly-O’Brien, issued in 1966 for the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising as well as an award issued to her in 1971 on the jubilee anniversary of the Truce, are also included in the collection.

Roderick Connolly’s medals for his service as a member of Na Fianna Éireann in the GPO during Easter Week, and as a member of the Irish Citizen Army during the War of Independence, have also been donated.

Connolly’s grandson Brigadier General James Connolly, who served in the Defence Forces during World War II and was later commanding officer of the Irish Air Corps, handed over the medals he had been awarded including the UN Peacekeepers medal.

A museum spokesman last night said: “The collection is unique, representing awards given to three generations of the same family in recognition of service given to the state over a period of almost 70 years.

“The museum is grateful to Brigadier General James Connolly and to his family for their assistance in this significant addition to the wider National Museum of Ireland’s historical collections relating to the 1916 Rising.”