Annie and Lily Cooney

Statement by Annie and Lily Cooney

On that day we were all brought to Mass in the prison church. We were on the gallery from which we had only a view of the altar and the front seat. We were able to see Eamon Ceannt, 13. Michael Mallin, Con Colbert and Sean Heuston, who were kneeling in the front seat. They were the only ones to receive Holy Communion, which we thought significant. That affected us all. and I began to cry. We craned our necks to try to see more, but the wardresses pulled us back. When the Volunteer prisoners were leaving the church those four were the last to leave and they looked up at us and we waved dawn to Con Colbert, who waved his hand in reply shaking his head up and down as if in farewell. They evidently knew what their fate would be. They were all four executed next morning.

[..]

Myself and my cell mate knelt down and said the Rosary for whoever had been executed. We did not then know who it was. We knew it, of course, a few hours later when we saw Mrs. Murphy, and it upset us very much, On previous days after the volleys, a soldier prisoner who was chopping wood in the yard onto which our cell window showed, slipped a piece of brown paper in through our window on which was written the number of “our men who are gone today” and any other information that he thought might interest us. He did it on this day, too, but of course he did not know the names. On that Monday, while we were all locked in our cells, Father Albert, who had attended the doomed men that morning before and during their execution, came to visit the women prisoners in the cells which were opened to him by the wardresses. We were very glad to see him, especially because we immediately felt his sympathy for us, whereas the prison chaplain, Father Ryan, whom we knew, had quite disapproved of us, and showed it very definitely, refusing even to take a message to our mother. Father Albert showed his sympathy so plainly that we cried on his shoulder and he consoled us, gave us his blessing and heard our confessions. He took the names and addresses of every one of us and promised us to contact our people and give them our messages. He must have delivered our messages very promptly because in the evening my brother Tom, who was the only one at home besides my mother, came to us with the sweets and biscuits we had asked for.

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