Upon his release in December of 1916 he returned to his home in Co. Offaly where he rejoined the Irish Volunteers. He was appointed 2nd in command of the Birr Battalion; a position he held until his arrest in July of 1918 on suspicion of been involved in the so-called German Plot. He was interned in Maryborough Prison (now Portlaoise Prison), before been transferred to Burnham Jail in Somerset , England. He was released in May1919 and immediately deported to Argentina.
Eamonn Bulfin (1892 - 1968)
Eamonn Bulfin was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1892, the first of five children born to William Bulfin of Derrinlough, Co. Offaly, and Ann O'Rourke of Ballymore, Co. Westmeath.
The Bulfin's of Derrinlough were a well known farming family that included in its lineage such notables as Eamonn's father, William Bulfin of 'Rambles in Eireinn' fame, Patrick Bulfin who was Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1871 and in later years Michael Bulfin one of Ireland's best known artists. Eamonn sister, Catalina, was secretary to the Irish revolutionary Austin Stack and married Amnesty International founder member and Nobel prize winner Seán MacBride.
Eamonn's father, William, who emigrated to Argentina in 1884 was a man of many talents. He was an Irish nationalist, pampas cowboy, journalist, author, an Irish language enthusiast and a sportsman who introduced hurling to the Argentina. He was a friend of Arthur Griffith and helped Griffith launch Sinn Féin. He also helped finance Pádraig Pearse’s Scoil Éanna (St. Enda’s School) which opened in September, 1908. His energy, sense of history and political activism were some of the qualities he passed on to his children; none more so that Eamonn.
Eamonn spent his youth in Buenos Aires, where he received his early education. For purposes of this biography it is assumed that he was educated by the Passionist Fathers who had established numerous missions in Buenos Aires and the surrounding pampas under the auspices of Father Vincent Grogan, who was the Provincial of the Passionist Fathers and Eamonn's maternal granduncle.
Eamonn returned to Ireland with his family in 1908. He was the second student to enroll in St. Enda's. In 1911 after he completed his studies at St. Enda's he enrolled in University College Dublin (UCD). While attending UCD he continued to reside in St. Enda's where he performed various tasks including teaching. From the time he entered St. Enda's in 1908 up until and during the Easter Rising in 1916 he was a reliable resource and a trusted friend to Padraic Pearse. He was also a member of the Gaelic League and an affluent Irish speaker.
In the summer of 1812 Eamonn was introduced to the Fianna Circle of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) by Con Colbert who was a teacher at St. Enda's and one of the leaders executed by the British after the Easter Rising of 1916. Shortly afterwards he sworn into the IRB by Art O'Connor on the grave of Wolfe Tone in Bodenstown churchyard in Kildare. Together with other members of the Circle they used to practice with replica rifles and revolvers in the Foresters Hall in Parnell Square in Dublin.
The Irish Republican Brotherhood originally named The Revolutionary Brotherhood was established in 1858 by John Stephens and others, ostensibly, to free Ireland from British control by force after all attempts by peaceful means had failed.
When the Irish Volunteers were formed in 1913, Eamonn and many of the older students in St Enda's, who had been sworn into the IRB, joined the Rathfarnham Company. By 1915 he was sufficiently versed in military procedures and tactics that he was assigned responsibility for organizing the Volunteers in areas of Dublin and Meath.
Eamonn who was a talented hurler was on the UCD hurling team that won the 1915 inter-college Sigerson Cup. That same year he was the captain of the UCD hurling team that won the Fitzgerald Cup a similar inter-college hurling contest.. He was one of three Sigerson Cup winners who fought in the GPO during the Rising; the other two been Frank Burke and Brian Joyce.
Towards the end of 1915 Eamonn was involved in manufacturing and testing hand grenades and shotgun shells at St. Enda's for the planned Rising. He devoted most of his time to that task up to, and during, the Easter Rising in 1916.
On Easter Sunday the day before the Rising Eoin McNeill's Chief-of-Staff of the Irish Volunteers ordered the Volunteers to stand down and not take part in the Rising. Unwilling to back away from a sacred duty Lieutenant Eamonn Bulfin ignored McNeill's order and set about mobilizing his company. On Monday morning he and his company of volunteers made their way to Liberty Hall and from there to the General Post Office (GPO) on orders received from William Pearse. When Eamonn and his fellow volunteers arrived at the GPO they were ordered to take up a position on the roof by Padraic Pearse, the garrison commandant. Their first task was to raise one of the two flags that remained hoisted over the GPO for the duration of the Rising. Eamonn raised the flag of the Irish Republic on the Prince Street corner of the GPO and the other flag, the tricolor, was raised by one of the Liverpool Irish volunteers from the Kimmage Garrison.
The Rathfarnham volunteers remained in position on the roof until relieved on Wednesday evening. From Wednesday evening until Friday they manned the barricades on the ground floor. Late on Friday evening they, together with other volunteers, were ordered by Padraic Pearse to make their way to the Williams and Wood Chocolate Factory in King's Inn. They proceeded across Henry Street under fire into Henry Place. From their they made their way along Henry Place onto Henry Street under continuous fire. By the time they approached the barricades at the junction of Henry Street and Parnell Street they received word of the surrender and were ordered to dump as many of their weapons as they could.
Eamonn, together with his fellow volunteers marched back along the route they had taken some hours earlier to the Parnell Monument in Sacckville Street, ( now O'Connell Street), where they laid down their remaining arms and surrendered to British forces.
When British General John Maxwell was brought to Ireland and put in charge of the British war machine he was given a free rein to crush the Rising by any and all means possible. In the aftermath he was determined to extract revenge on those who dared challenge British rule in Ireland. He rounded-up and incarcerate over 3,000 men and women. 170 of those were field court-martialed and 90 received death sentences. Eamonn was one of the 90 who received the death sentence. Immediately after the sentences were handed down Maxwell ordered the executions to begin starting with the highest ranking officers.
Shortly after the executions began the British realized that they were counterproductive and ordered Maxwell to stop. Undeterred he continued on until Asquith confronted him in Ireland and forced him to call a halt. After the executions were stopped Eamonn was incarcerated Stafford Jail in England and Frongoch prison camp in Wales.
On his arrival Argentina Eamonn was arrested and jailed for having left Argentina to, supposedly, avoid military service, a ruse to appease the British with whom they were having problems.
After his release, Eamonn was appointed by the President of Dáil Éireann, De Valera, as the first representative of the Ireland Republic to Argentina. Among the aims of his mission were 1) inaugurate direct trade between Ireland and the Argentine Republic, and 2) co-ordinate Irish opinion in the Argentine, and bring it into line with the Irish demand for a Republic. Together with Laurence Ginnell Bulfin and other Irish Republicans in Argentina he established a contact network with government officials and Irish-Argentine leaders, launched the Irish Fund and negotiated shipments of ammunitions for the Irish Republican Army leading up to and during the Irish War of Independence.
In 1920 while residing in Argentina Eamonn was elected to a seat on the County Council of King’s County and immediately appointed its chairman. One of the first acts of the new council was to change the name of the county from King's County to its historic name; County Offaly and recognize Dail Eireann as the legitimate government of the Irish Republic.
He returned to Ireland In 1922 and settled at Derrinlough House, Birr, Co. Offaly and married Nora Brick with whom he had four children.
He died on Christmas Eve 1968.
Contributed by; Tomás Ó Coısdealbha
Cemetery AND grave location
Name: St. James Catholic Church graveyard PHONE NO.
ADDRESS: Eglish, Birr, Co. Offaly, Ireland
click on grave to view inscriptions
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