Category: News

1916 Rebel William Ryan Commemoration at Nundah

There was a great turn-out for the commemoration at the grave of Irish rebel William Ryan in Nudgee Cemetery on Easter Monday.

The story of William Ryan was featured on this website.

It was wonderful to see Sister Angela Mary in attendance on the day.

Pictured above during the ceremony is Joseph Thompson, who went to great effort to locate the unmarked grave of William Ryan when his family contacted the Irish Embassy in Canberra asking if they knew the whereabouts of his burial.

QIA Pipe Band marches to victory at Maclean Highland Gathering

April was a busy month for Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band. Not only did they take part in the Anzac Day Parade in Brisbane, they also competed in the pipe band competitions at Maclean Highland Gathering in New South Wales.

  Maclean Showgrounds has been home to Highland Gatherings for 128 years, and they provide the opportunity for high-level competition for pipers, drummers, dancers and sportsmen and women in their chosen cultural pursuit. 

  The gathering has grown to become one of Australia’s pre-eminent Celtic cultural events. 

  Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band came third in the Band Contest Grade 4B Marches category.

  They also took part in a street parade and Scottish ceilidh. 

Mixed four-hand céilí group place eighth in world

CANADA CHAMPS: QIA Dancers Declan McMahon, Kathleen Downey, teacher Kate Hartley, Tara McMahon and Daniel McMahon at the World Championships in Montreal.

It is, of course, a lifelong dream of Irish dancers to take part in the world championships, but for these five dancers from QIA Dancers, they had to wait an extra three years for their dream to be fulfilled. 

  QIA Dancers teacher Kate Hartley explains: “These dancers were preparing to take part in the 50th World Championships that were to be held in Dublin in 2020, but unfortunately, Covid got in the way and the Championships were cancelled for two years.

  “The dancers were unable to attend the 50th World Championships that were eventually held in 2022 for a number of reasons and later that year, they decided that they would like to go and they kept working over another long, hot summer to achieve their dream.”

  The dancers had to qualify at the Queensland State Championships, held last August, to gain the right to enter the World Championships. Dancers from all over the globe convened in Montreal, Canada for eight days of championships, running from the 2nd to the 9th of April. 

  “We had three dancers that competed in solo events, two of them for the first time,” said Kate. “And a team representing QIA Dancers. The last team that competed at the World Championships from QIA was in 1994, at the 25th World Championships. It is a huge commitment not just physically but financially to compete at this level and the dancers were very appreciative of the financial support that they were given by the QIA.”

  All of the dancers have danced as QIA Dancers through all of their dancing journey and for at least three of them, this was their last dancing competition.

  These dancers started dancing from the ages of three to seven years and have performed and competed at a local, state and national level throughout their time with QIA Dancers. 

  Daniel, Tara and Declan MacMahon are all from the same family, the youngest three children of seven siblings, all of whom have danced at one stage or another. Daniel and Tara have now retired from competition and are working towards becoming dancing teachers.   

  Tara danced in the Senior Ladies event. Declan danced in the Men’s 20 to 21-year age group and was placed 16th. And all three were part of the Mixed Four-Hand céilí, together with Kathleen Downey, and they placed eighth in the world.

    Kiriana McKay danced in Senior Ladies section. She placed 35th overall. 

In paying tribute to the dancers, Kate said: “It was such an amazing journey to have all five dancers at the World Championships. It was fantastic, a testament to their hard work and determination to get there, with some help and guidance from the QIA Dancers teaching team.

  “For me, it was an honour to be with them at the pinnacle of their dancing journey, having been there when they took their first steps on the dance floor at the Irish Club in Elizabeth Street many years ago.”

  The future is bright for QIA Dancers with such inspiring role models for young, upcoming dancers. 

  Kate added: “Collectively, they have about 100 years of dancing at QIA Dancers. They are amazing mentors and role models to the next generations of dancers coming through.” 

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.

Frank Hurley remembered in Ireland and Australia on centenary of his death


3rd West Cork Brigade Irish Republican Army

Submitted by his family

On 9 May 2021, the 100th Anniversary of the death of Captain Frank Hurley, 3rd West Cork Brigade will be remembered by his descendants in Ireland, USA and Australia. They honour and remember him for giving his life for freedom in Ireland.  

On 9 May 1921 while in custody of the Essex Regiment he met his death, making a gallant bid to escape into the woods at Castle Mahon/ Bernard, Bandon, Co Cork, Ireland. An account of his death is mentioned in ‘Towards Ireland Free – The West Cork Brigade in the War of Independence 1917-1921’ by Liam Deasy and other books on Ireland’s War of Independence, including ‘Guerilla Days in Ireland’ by Tom Barry.

John Francis (Frank) Hurley, lived at Laragh, outside Bandon, with his parents on a small farm. He was the youngest of 11 children to Daniel Hurley and Julia Lynch. He was born in 1891, some 25 years after the eldest, Mary, my grandmother was born. Mary came to Australia when 17 and a half years old, following Timothy (Tim) Mahony, my grandfather from Murragh, near Bandon. Tim was a labourer and may have been working on the Hurley farm.

They married in 1888 in Brisbane, Queensland. Later in that year, they came to Yangan, near Warwick in Queensland, where Tim was working on re-erecting the railway bridge that was washed away in the 1887 floods. Mary and Tim had 11 children, of which one died as a baby. They purchased land at Swanfels, near Yangan, where they eventually established a modest-sized farm. When they died, their eldest son, Timothy, inherited the farm and on his death, the youngest son Thomas (Tom) inherited it.  On his death, Tom’s eldest son Timothy inherited the farm and today his son Stephen and family have the farm.

Frank and some of his siblings never met their sister Mary, being born after she emigrated. Mary died in 1957 and many years later, letters from Frank were found behind a framed picture among Mary’s possessions. I suspect this Irish lady was all too careful about the contents of his letters, considering her brother was active in the IRA fighting British Forces known as the Black and Tans. Australia was a country founded by the British which at that time still held close military ties with England.

Mary wrote on an envelope in which she kept the letters, ‘Last letter I had from Frank. Died 9th May 1921” She then wrote “Far dearer the grave or the prison illumed by one patriot name than the trophies of all who have risen on liberty’s ruins to fame.

 Although never seeing each other, this quote to me obviously shows her love and support for her brother in his death for the cause in Ireland’s freedom. The words are taken from Augustin Thierry (1795-1856), the French Classical liberal historian, who admired the habit of the conquered Irish to sing about their lost liberties.

The letters from Frank give an insight of his involvement in the Irish War of Independence, and his transportation by Destroyer to Belfast from Cobh, then after a week onto England. They were written from the Wormwood Scrubs Prison in London in 1920, where he spent time, prior to his release and death in 1921. He mentions the actions of the police who disguised at night fire into houses, and who have murdered several. Of his situation he said that ’It is Freedom now or slavery for another generation.’ Further stating, ‘Anyway we are not lonely here for we have the best men in Ireland here.’  Mention of a hunger strike was also made.

Frank organised that his letters to his sister Mary in Australia would be smuggled out of the prison by ‘Maggie’.  It is assumed that this is his sister Margaret. Another sister Anna was the leader of the Cumann na mBan (Irish Republican Women’s Paramilitary) of the Bandon district at that time.

Tom Barry in his book ‘Guerilla Days in Ireland’ wrote, ‘Frank, a veteran Volunteer, Captain of the Laragh Company, was a fine soldier and comrade, and had fought conspicuously with the Brigade Flying Column in many of its engagements.’ He was at Crossbarry with the Mount Pleasant /Farnivane Company. 

Flor Begley (Piper of Crossbarry fame), father of Diamuid Begley who wrote the book ‘The Road to Crossbarry’ where his father Flor saw action, was interned in 1920 with Frank Hurley in Wormwood Scrubs, along with ‘over one hundred and sixty men.’  Diarmuid has a quote by Grace Lorenza O’Malley which I think along with Thierry shows the feelings of the time –‘What can ye know of spirits such as these or of the powers that move them to great deeds ‘gainst frightful odds?. What did they do? You say who will not see, Nor judge their merits further than their gains, They gave their lives –no more!’

Captain Frank Hurley is buried with family in the Kilbrogan Cemetery, Bandon, Co Cork, Ireland.


Your many descendants remember you.

You can read Frank’s letters below

Isla’s poem about Irish hero Michael Collins goes viral

Isla Corbett in Brisbane

A poem about Micheal Collins written by a 12-year-old Irish girl, Isla Corbett, who lives in Brisbane, has gone viral online and she will be interviewed about the experience on Cork radio station 96FM and 103FM tomorrow.

Isla penned The Ballad of Michael Collins for a school English assignment at The Gap High School. The class had been asked to write about their hero. Isla’s teacher awarded her an A for her efforts.

Isla was born in Cork and her family moved to Australia in 2011, first to Sydney and then settling in Brisbane. The family moved back to Ireland for several years to care for Isla’s elderly grandparents.

Isla took a great interest in Irish history at school in Whitegate, County Cork. Her great-grandfather and great-granduncles had all fought alongside Michael Collins and served in the Free State Army under his leadership.

Despite being just 12 years old, Isla shows great promise as a poet and her poem has reached more than 50,000 people all over the world on Facebook. It was also shared by Micheal Collins House, a museum dedicated to the life and times of the revolutionary, soldier and politician, in Clonakilty, County Cork.

You can hear Isla’s interview at 11.30am Irish time (9.30pm Queensland time) on December 17 at

The Ballad of Michael Collins

1916 was the start, the war in full commence,
When British troops were swarming in to slaughter and dispense,
Against the Empire’s daunting might, Ireland stood no chance,
When Michael Collins heard the news and came to take a stance.

He joined the Easter Rising, allied by Plunkett n’ Pearse,
They seized the grandest buildings to face a battle fierce,
The British were enraged and the Rebels they engaged,
Using brutal force, war on Dublin had been waged.

Furious were the citizens, their home had been destroyed,
Their relatives deceased and their souls devoid of joy,
The once thriving streets, now blown up and aflame,
And so they thought the Rebels were the only ones to blame.

Cornered up with guns, the rebellion’s state was bleak,
Arrested by the British with their spirits far from weak,
The cruel retribution saw 2,000 sent to camps,
And the brave leaders’ fates were sealed harshly with a stamp.

15 killed by firing squad, without a trial or care,
Connolly so wounded he was shot tied in a chair,
With the barbarism shown, Irish anger had arose,
And turned the former traitors into national heroes.

By the time of Collin’s release, plans were brewing in his head,
Of how he could prevent Ireland’s suffering and dread,
He motivated an army and beat the British crown,
Guerrilla tactics he invented were used to bring them down.

Dáil Éireann was established, but it came with a price,
Half a country only, the rich north the Brits would slice,
Civil war engulfed the land, Collins ambushed with a gun,
Ireland’s greatest hero shot down at 31.

1916 was the start, the war in full commence,
When British troops were swarming in to slaughter and dispense,
He’d fought strong like a lion, saving Ireland Collins swore,
He hadn’t won the battle, but he had won the war.

Family appeals for help for car-crash victim Seán

Seán Ryan Shiner is a valued member of the Melbourne Shamrocks and the Golden/Kilfeacle GAA clubs.

An Irish family has launched an urgent appeal for funds towards the treatment of a Tipperary man who was left with life-changing injuries after a car crash in Melbourne.

Seán Ryan Shiner was involved in a horrific car accident on November 21. It has left him with life-changing injuries.

A passionate hurler, Seán had to have emergency surgery to try to save his right foot, which proved unsuccessful. He had to have his foot amputated and plates put into his left hip.

His parents have already flown out to be by his side while his undergoes treatment and rehabilitation at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Seán will need to undergo a number of additional surgeries in the coming weeks and months.

Seán’s sister Denise said: “Seán is a true sportsman. He has played across many disciplines with different clubs over the years, endearing himself to club mates and competitors alike. Those who know him will have seen him on rugby and football pitches but we all know that it is hurling and, of course, greyhounds that are his big loves.”

Seán had originally been planning to spend the next five years living and working in Australia but those plans now look likely to change. He will likely need to remain in Australia while his recovery continues and the Shiner family are appealing for help in funding the coasts of his ongoing care and rehab.

Seán’s family say they are “grateful and blessed” that he is still here with them and added: “We are hoping to raise adequate money to help with the enormous expenses that he will incur in the coming weeks, months and beyond to help with his rehabilitation. “

If you can help, go to the Seán Ryan Shiner Injury Fund page on Go Fund Me.

Former Shebeen manager and Aussie resident Terry has living wake

Terry Murphy’s living wake video, as shared on Justin McNulty MLA’s Facebook page.

Imagine having a huge living wake, a funeral where all your friends and family come together to celebrate your life and say goodbye while you’re still alive?

That was exactly what Terry Murphy, a former resident in Australia who ran a famous Shebeen bar in Lislea, County Armagh, did over the weekend. Terry had been recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Justin McNulty MLA, left, with Terry Murphy.

On Saturday night, he had a living wake in the bar that he used to run, and around 500 people came along to pay their respects to him. There was plenty of food and drink on the night and local newspaper The Cross Examiner reports that “the craic was 90”.

John Egan, a friend of Terry’s, told the newspaper: “He wanted all his old friends and everyone he knew to come along. Every room was full of music and craic. The man himself was there and in good form.”

He added: “That man woke up this morning knowing he is loved by so many and got to see his send-off.”

Meanwhile, local MLA Justin McNulty, speaking to, said: “Terry is a character and there is widespread affection for him locally in Lislea, in South Armagh, in Newry, and in Australia where he lived for a time.”

Put your family name on display at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin

You can add your family to The Power of a Name exhibition at the museum or online.

Calling all descendants of Irish emigrants to Australia. EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin is offering you the chance to take part in their The Power of a Name exhibition by adding your emigrant ancestor’s name to their Emigrant Wall.

This new, interactive exhibition will be seen by visitors from all over the world and invites you to bring their name home. The museum honours Irish emigrants by telling their stories and keeping their memories alive.

Patrick Greene, CEO and Museum Director of EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, said: “Every person who left Ireland is part of our emigration history.

“The life they started in a new country is part of the impact of the Irish abroad and this exhibition aims to pay tribute to them and spotlight a powerful part of their story – their name.”

He added: “These journeys were not taken lightly and this exhibition marks the decisions they made to leave and celebrates the journeys they made and the lives they went on to build.”

The Power of a Name exhibition is now open at the museum in Dublin’s Docklands.

If you would like to take part and add your Irish ancestors who emigrated to Australia, simply fill in their names, where they emigrated from and the year they left on the online form by clicking here.

To learn more, visit

Epic Ned Kelly movie set to premiere on Australia Day

Oscar winner Russell Crowe starring in True History of the Kelly Gang.

An epic fictionalised telling of the story of Irish-Australian bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly, True History of the Kelly Gang, will open in select Australian cinemas on January 9, just 17 days before it makes its Australia Day television premiere on streaming service Stan.

The cast features BAFTA award-winner George MacKay as Ned Kelly. Nicholas Hoult, Essie Davis, Charlie Hunnam and Russell Crowe co-star. 

Inspired by Peter Carey’s Booker prize-winning novel, Justin Kurzel’s film shatters the mythology of the notorious icon to reveal the essence behind the life of Ned Kelly.

Spanning the younger years of Ned’s life to the time leading up to his death, the film explores the blurred boundaries between what is bad and what is good, and the motivations for the demise of its hero. Youth and tragedy collide in the Kelly Gang, and at the beating heart of this tale is the fractured and powerful love story between a mother and a son.

Justin Kurzel, director and producer said: “I am thrilled in the boldness and daring by Stan to embrace our ambitious film. For Australians to see our take on Peter Carey’s extraordinary book in cinemas and on Stan over the summer is very exciting. I hope as many eyes as possible get the opportunity to see a film the makers are deeply proud of.”

It will be released into Irish cinemas on February 28, 2020.