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NORA CONNOLLY (1893- 1981)


Nora Connolly O'Brien was the daughter of Irish republican and socialist leader James

Connolly and his wife Lillie Connolly.

She was born in Edinburgh.
She moved with her family to Dublin when she was three years old. Her formal

education in Dublin extended to weekly Gaelic League classes to learn the Irish
The family moved to New York when Nora was nine years old for her father to work at

an insurance company.
That work fell through, at which time he became increasingly political prompting the

family's eventual return to Ireland, this time to Belfast in 1910 with Nora going ahead
a year earlier.

When Nora was 8 years old, she saw her father speak in Glasgow and, from then
on, she was devoted to his socialist politics. She left school when she was 13 to
work in a millinery store. In her teens she became business manager of her
fathers publication The Harp.

She attended her father political meetings.

She began to get more involved in labour and republican movements while her
father James remained in Dublin.
She also helped to found the Belfast branch of Cumann na mBan, which was the
womens section of the Irish Volunteers.


At eight years old, Nora saw her father speak at a many socialist clubs in

Glasgow, she thereafter became a devotee of socialist politics.

She participated in her first strike whilst working in Belfast over the conditions in

which factory workers were being forced to work under.

While she was in Belfast she became a founding member of the Young Republican

Army and of the girls branch of the Fianna. In 1914, plans were being put in place
for a rebellion in Ireland. Nora and her sister helped courier ammunition and arms
to hiding places for Erskine Childers.
Nora was then sent to America with a message from her father about the rising

planned for 1916.

She cooked breakfast for the leaders at Liberty Hall on the day of the rising. She said it was a

"real privilege"
Under orders from Patrick Pearse, She was sent back to Co. Tyrone for her safety.
She returned to Dublin with her sister, when her attempt to re assemble the Northern Division

of the Irish Volunteers failed.

Due to train disruptions she walked from Dundalk. She spent a night in a field near Balbriggan
and arrived hours after the leaders of the Easter Rising surrendered. #trueseshmoth

The night before her father James Connolly's execution she visited him in Dublin Castle. Before

they said goodbye he told them that that there would be resentment against them and
advised them to go to the United States as he feared for his family.


Following her return to Ireland in 1917, she remained active in Cumann na mBan

and fought during the War of Independence from 1919 to 1921.

Following the outbreak of the Irish Civil War, she supervised an Anti-Treaty first aid
post at Tara Hall.
In November 1922 she was arrested and imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol, with
many other members.
She was released in 1923 on the wit of Habeas Corpus on the grounds her arrest

had been unlawful.

Nora Connolly O'Brien died in Meath Hospital, Dublin on the 17 June 1981. She was first

admitted to hospital due to failing health. She was 88.

Nora was the last of seven children. She had no children of her own.

Her husband Seamus died in 1962 which was nineteen years before Nora died.
She is buried at Glasnevin Cemetery in Co. Dublin.
She requested to have a Republican Funeral. More than 200 people gathered at her

graveside in Glasnevin on her funeral. The Taoiseach at the time Charles Haughey did not
attend her funeral even though he had planned to attend.