Séan MacDiarmada


Born: 1884 in Leitrim

Died: May 12, 1916 in Dublin


    Séan MacDiarmada (Séan McDermott) worked as a gardener, a tram conductor and a bartender before finding his calling in the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He joined the IRB in Belfast and later moved to Dublin. He became a friend of Thomas Clarke and the two of them would often use Clarke’s business as a place to meet and discuss Irish matters privately. MacDiarmada was also a key member of the Irish Volunteers and has been described by some as a kind friend but a ruthless enemy.


"Sean MacDermott from Leitrim was the next notable recruit; a born intriguer and quite ruthless, he was already traveling the country as a full-time organizer for Sinn Fein" (Peter & Fiona Somerset Fry, A History of Ireland).


"In Sean MacDiarmada there was an enthusiasm of ideal of such strength that no argument would prevail against it. A native of County Leitrim, he was one of the founders of the Volunteer movement and he had suffered imprisonment for the cause which he served so faithfully, so nobly, and so well. To MacDiarmada, the cost meant nothing. He was a Sinn Féin and IRB organizer, tramping through Ireland, spreading the gospel of independence. … It was MacDiarmada, more than any of the other leaders, who caught the imagination of Collins, such was the former’s magic of personality" (Rex Taylor, Michael Collins).


    For more on Séan MacDiarmada, please read Rebels: The Irish Rising of 1916 by Peter DeRosa.