Rebel William Ryan to be commemorated at Easter

A commemoration will be held at the grave of Irish rebel William Ryan in Nudgee Cemetery, on Easter Monday.

  Mr Ryan was one of the rebels who fought as a volunteer in the Dublin GPO during Easter Week 1916.

  He migrated to Brisbane in 1928 and worked as a barman in various hotels in Brisbane, including for a long time in the Alliance Hotel, Spring Hill.

  He died after a long illness in 1958 but until 2016, the site of his burial was not known to his family.

  A relative of William Ryan’s in Tipperary contacted the Embassy of Ireland in Canberra,  hoping to find out where he was buried.

  Joseph Thompson, who was then secretary of the Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland (IASAQ), took up the task of locating the grave.

  After an exhaustive search and investigation, Mr Thompson was able to grant the Ryan family’s wishes, locating the unmarked grave in Nudgee Cemetery.

  The Irish community in Australia contributed funds through IASAQ to place a headstone on William Ryan’s grave, with the generous assistance of stonemason Peter Wrafter.

  At the request of Mr Ryan’s family in Ireland, a commemorative service was held at his grave for the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin. About 130 people were present, the Irish flag was raised, the Proclamation of the Republic of Ireland was read and the crowd sang the Irish national anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann.

  The Easter Rising was a six-day insurrection by Irish rebels against British rule.

  It began on April 24, 1916, when republican groups seized a number of prominent buildings in Dublin, raised an Irish Republic flag over the General Post Office (GPO) and holed up.

  For six days, 1,600 rebels fought off a 20,000-strong British army. The insurrection left almost 500 dead and thousands injured. About 1,500 Irish men were interned in Wales, while 16 rebel leaders were imprisoned and executed.

  Mr Ryan was one of the many rebels who fought at the GPO in Dublin on the first day of the rebellion.

  The ceremony on Easter Monday, April 10, will take place at Nudgee Cemetery at 11.30am and will include a reading of the Proclamation of the Republic of Ireland, the singing of the Irish national anthem, the story of William Ryan and laying of flowers.

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