St. Enda’s Museum , Dublin

St. Enda’s Museum , Dublin

Padraic Pearse is the most celebrated of all Irish patriots. As well as a revolutionary leader , he was an accomplished author and educational philosopher. Born in Dublin in 1879 to an English father and an Irish mother , he joined the Gaelic League at the age of 16 , began to write prose and poetry , and obtained a University degree in law.

He became editor of the Gaelic League newspaper in 1903 , and in 1908 he instituted a school for boys called Scoil Eanna (St. Enda’s School) in the South Dublin suburb of Rathmines. Two years later , the school moved to a larger building with spacious grounds in Rathfarnham. Using the two languages , Irish and English , as a media of instruction , the school was a model for an enlightened revolutionary Ireland , encouraging boys to express and develop their own personality and abjure fear and tyranny.

Pearse joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1913 , and delivered a famous speech in 1915 at the burial of the old patriot Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa. When the Easter Rising occurred in the following year , he was commander-in-chief of the rebel forces.

After his surrender , he and his younger brother Willie were among those court marshalled and shot by the British Government. The poetry and short stories of Pearse give a clear insight into his character – these works instance a striking blend of mysticism and egalitarianism in which he glorifies the socially weak , the ignored and the maginalised (‘the people that sorrow’).

The building in which he conducted his school in Rathfarnham is now a museum and cultural centre dedicated to his ideals , and to the memory of him and his comrades. This beautiful building is a real hidden gem and a must see on your Ireland tours.