Edward Walsh was born in Dublin in 1873 and lived with his family in the North Inner City around the Bolton Street area. Edward married Ellen in 1894 and from that date on, he and his new family lived in the run-down tenements on Henrietta Street and, at the time of the Rising, on Dominick Street. By then they had 2 children, Christopher (20) and Helena (11).
He worked as a Carter for McMasters in Capel Street. Edward joined the Hibernian Rifles just after their founding. The Hibernian Rifles were a military wing of the Ancient Order of Hibernians American Alliance. Many of the members of this group were affected by the 1913 Lockout and, with the help of the American AOH, the Hibernian Rifles raised funds to aid suffering families of striking workers.
They also marched as a 150 strong armed group, carrying an American flag, in the 1915 funeral procession for Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.
On Easter Monday, April 24th 1916, they gathered at their Hibernian Hall at North Frederick Street to take their part in the Rising under the command of John J. Scollan. Edwards Son, Christopher, had also enlisted.
They received orders to join the Volunteers in the GPO. Under the direction of the O’Rahilly, they erected barricades to strengthen the defenses of the building. On Tuesday, April 25th they received orders form James Connolly to occupy the Exchange Hotel on Parliament Street, to foil a British advance in the area of Dublin Castle. They took up positions on the roof of the Exchange Hotel. They engaged in a fierce Battle with units of the British forces halting their advance and causing about 20 casualties according to Scollan. Edward received a serious gunshot wound to the stomach. To spare his son Christopher any harm, his commanding officer told him to go home. Edward was carried on a stretcher back to the GPO where he soon died.
Christopher did not go home but remained with his unit and later returned to the GPO to re-join the fight. He left the G.P.O. on the Friday when it was evacuated and remained a member of the Hibernian Rifles after the rising until they became part of the Dublin Division of the original Irish Republican Army.
Edward is buried in the Volunteers plot in the St. Paul’s part of Glasnevin Cemetery. Tragically he never got to see his third child. Ellen was pregnant when he died and their son, Edward Pearse Walsh was born in December 1916. A memorial plaque to Edward Walsh can be seen on the Exchange Hotel in Parliament Street.
Information provided by David Downey, Irish Relatives Ass’n and edited by Mike McCormack.