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Dick Humphreys


   
Dick and Eithne on their joint passport, 1929.





Dick Humphreys,
born 23rd Apr 1896, Limerick,
his father died 1903,
see Childhood in Quinsborough,
educ Crescent College, Limerick 1905-08, he used to cycle there daily from Quinsborough,
he had Limerick accent, not Dublin accent, as shown in RTE interview 1966.
Family moved to Dublin c.Mar 1909.
Dick was educ Belvedere College, there in March-May 1909.

School at St.Enda's, 1909-12:
Dick's widowed mother Nell sent him to Patrick Pearse's radical school, St. Enda's, Cullenswood House, Ranelagh [founded Sept 1908]. Thomas MacDonagh also taught there.
Dick entered in the second intake, as day boy in the Senior School, 7th Sept 1909 [age 13]. See [An Macaomh, Christmas 1909].
He had to travel to Ranelagh from Northumberland Rd. He loved it.
St. Enda's moved 1910 to The Hermitage, Grange Rd, Rathfarnham, an 18th century building. See [Irish Country Houses].
It was too far to travel as day boy to Rathfarnham from Northumberland Rd, so Dick entered The Hermitage as a boarder, 12th Sept 1910 [age 14]. See [An Macaomh, Christmas 1910].
Dick ("Risteard Mac Amhlaoibh") is listed as a boarder in St. Enda's, Rathfarnham, in [Census, 2 April 1911].
See letter from Pearse to Nell, June 1912 as she considers taking him out of the school. Pearse says: "I hope we may count on welcoming Dick back to St. Enda's in September? His last word to me was not to fail to write to you on this point. We have threshed out the matter at length before, so there is no use in bothering you with further arguments, but I do most sincerely hope that you have decided to leave him with us until he has completed his secondary course".

Dick was taken out of St. Enda's and sent to Clongowes, Co.Kildare, Sept 1912 [age 16]. Was left at railway station (must be in Co.Kildare). He ran away, hiked over Dublin Mountains, on Co.Kildare/Co.Wicklow/Co.Dublin border, and went not home to Northumberland Rd, but rather back to St.Enda's: "I descended on my old Alma Mater like a poor relation after a 3 day, intensely cold, and equally lonely bivouac in the Dublin Mountains ... My aim was to get back to Scoil Eanna from which I had been removed at the behest of certain rather pro-British friends of my mother who believed in a more 'practical' form of education than that offered by the Pearse family" [Dick, 1916].
But Nell would not back down. He was sent back to Clongowes. In Clongowes 1912-14.
He developed an early interest in motoring. Went on lot of cycle trips. Saved up to buy a motorcycle.

Fought in GPO in 1916 Rising:
Dick became a member of the Irish Volunteers (founded by his uncle The O'Rahilly 1913). He was in 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade.
He was with The O'Rahilly at Howth gun-running (which The O'Rahilly organised), 26th July 1914, age 18 yrs.
Dick left school 1914.
Entered UCD, Arts, 1914.

He fought in GPO in 1916 Rising with his uncle The O'Rahilly and his old teacher and mentor Pearse. He was one of a number of St.Enda's boys who fought with Pearse. His uncle The O'Rahilly was the only 1916 leader killed in action.
When he heard the Rising has begun Mon 24th Apr 1916, age only just 20 yrs, he went to GPO Mon night to join The O'Rahilly.
He drove the family De Dion on various excursions for supplies, returning to the GPO.
His mother Nell went in, persuaded him to come home Tue night [O'Rahilly, 1991]. Pearse said to Dick: "You had better go home. If anything happens your uncle, there will be no man there" [Mac Eoin, 1980].
But he went back on Wed. On Wed it became too dangerous to leave the GPO.
On Fri, he writes in [Dick, 1916], with the GPO in flames, "O'Rahilly again appears, comes over, and tells me to join Desmond Fitzgerald down in the restaurant. The GPO is about to be evacuated. With a cheerful wave of his hand, and a smile, he steps quickly down the smoke-filled stairs. Little did I know that this was the last time I was ever to see him alive". The O'Rahilly was shot on Moore St later Fri night.
Dick stayed to the end with the main garrison in the GPO. They surrendered Sat afternoon, 29th Apr 1916. (Family story that he got down as far as Trinity College before capture.)
He was jailed in Kilmainham. "Richard Humphreys, 54 Northumberland Rd" was among those deported to Britain from Dublin quay on cattle boat, Fri nite, 5th May 1916, arriving Holyhead in the small hours of Sat, taken by train to Wakefield Military Detention Prison, Yorkshire, arriving Sat 6th May. See [Dublin Evening Mail, 13th May 1916] and [Irish Times, May 14, 1916].
Nell went to morgue, told both her brother and her son were dead, would need 2 coffins [Aodogán]. It was some days before family found out he was still alive. Nell made a big fuss about his youth to get him released, gave impression he was only about 16, "of course it was just propaganda" [Aodogán].
In [Dick, 1916] he prophetically wrote: "England has triumphed once again, but ... this fight has shaken her as she has never been shaken before. Next time the whole country, and not Dublin alone will join the fray".
Not sure if sent to Frongoch after Wakefield.

He was released think in the general amnesty in 1917.
When he came back his family asked him what prison was like. He said: "Not bad - it was much better than Clongowes!"
Like the rest of his family, he continued as a nationalist activist.
Desmond Fitzgerald wrote 7 Jan 1919 from Gloucester Prison to "Mr. Humphreys", thanking his election workers in Pembroke (Dick's family) after his election as a Sinn Fein MP. This letter was for sale in 2009 at Whyte's.

War of Independence 1919-21:
In War of Independence 1919-21, Dick was in 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade IRA (same as Emmet).
At the same time he started motoring journalism. He wrote for The Irish Cyclist and Motor Cyclist under the name "Ricardo", mainly 1919-22 (all through War of Independence).
Dick and his sister Sighle studied in Paris in late 1919 - early 1920.
There was a raid of their house, 14 Herbert Park, by British on Easter Saturday, 3 Apr 1920. Dick arrested. Jailed in Mountjoy. He was on big hunger strike of Apr 1920, over a week. He was freed on or just before 14 Apr 1920. See Sighle's diary [P106/908].
Hunger strike injured his health. Went down country to recover. He stayed in his granduncle John Mangan's house Gourbane, Shanagolden, Co.Limerick. He was there when Shanagolden was attacked by the Black and Tans, Aug 1920.

Dick studied law at the Four Courts, called to bar Nov 1920 (BL), but never practiced.
Tommy O'Brien says Dick was going to be a barrister, but could not bring himself to practice in the Free State courts.
British raid on Ailesbury Rd Easter Sunday 1921 (27 Mar 1921). Dick arrested. He was studying law at time, decided to fight case, they couldn't prove theirs, acquitted, but he was finished with the IRA for recognising the court. [Lavelle, 1961] says he was in prison Apr 1921.
He took part in motorcycle and motor sport from at least 1920 to 1927, including riding in the Isle of Man TT 1921.

Unlike his siblings, he took no part in Civil War (1922-23).
He went into business end-1922, as "O'Mara Rubber Co", based at 79 Dame St, Dublin, agreement dated 9th Oct 1922.
The rest of the family was jailed after Free State raid on Ailesbury Rd in the Civil War, Nov 1922.
Think he was NOT imprisoned in Civil War.
In the spring of 1923, when the entire family except Dick were in jail, a party of Free State soldiers threw a hand grenade into the hall of Ailesbury Rd, only caused minor damage.
Think this may be same episode as the one remembered where "the Free Staters tried to burn down Ailesbury Road, but were unsuccessful" [Nell's obituary].

The "Thomond" motor car:
On the 1926 "24 hours" trial he saw his friend James A. Jones' home-built Thomond motor car in action (this was Thomond no.1).
From 1928 he designed and with Jones built his own car, Thomond no.2, finished 1929. These were first cars built in Irish Free State.
He moved his motor business to 36 Pearse St, Dublin prob. 1928. Name of business changed not long after to "Humphreys Autofactors".

Dick mar 1929 to Eithne O'Mara [born 14th Oct 1908, poss. descendant of Edward III].
Dick and Eithne moved late 1929 to Sandymount Park (28 Newgrove Ave), Sandymount, Co.Dublin, listed there in [Thoms] 1930-33 edns.
They moved Aug 1933 to 18 Eglinton Park, Donnybrook, Co.Dublin, listed there in [Thoms] 1934-35 edns.
Dick rebuilt his car as Thomond no.4 1933.

Dick designed and built family home, "Ard Soluis", on a green field site at Kingswood, Clondalkin, Co.Dublin, 1934-35, fireplace had date "1934", moved in c.Feb 1935.
18 Eglinton Park became the home of his sister Sighle.
He had his Thomond when moved to Kingswood, sold it c.1935/36.
He was constantly making modifications to cars owned in later years.
Dick's obituary says: "When Frank Ryan was in prison in Spain" [1938-40] "he" [Dick] "sent a telegram to General Franco trusting that there was no truth in the rumour that Ryan would be executed. He signed and added 'Catholic Barrister at Law'".
Extensive orchards were planted in Kingswood, apple business started. Apple trade kept them going during WW2, when motor trade virtually non-existent.
He was interviewed by RTE 1966.
He died 20th Sept 1968, Mater Hospital, Dublin, age 72 yrs.
See death notice in Irish Times, 21 Sept 1968.
See obituary in Irish Times, 21 Sept 1968.
Funeral 21 Sept, bur Saggart, Co.Dublin.
Eamon de Valera, then President of Ireland, went to his funeral.

Eithne died 10 am, Tue 10th Jan 1995, Mount Carmel Hospital, Dublin, age 86 yrs.
See death notice in Irish Times, January 11, 1995.
Funeral Thur 12th, her nephew Fr. James Lavelle said it, bur Saggart, Co.Dublin.
Dick and Eithne had issue:


  1. Eoige Humphreys.


  2. David Humphreys, mar Marie Treacy and had issue:

    1. Louise Humphreys, mar Busta Gallagher and had issue:
      1. Anna Gallagher.
      2. Joe Gallagher.

    2. Oisín Humphreys, mar Janet Neville and had issue:
      1. Alannah Humphreys.
      and had adopted issue:
      1. Oscar Humphreys.
      2. Sadhbh Humphreys.
      3. Ronan Humphreys.

    3. David Humphreys, mar Jane Worrall and had issue:
      1. Kyle Humphreys.
      2. Alva Humphreys.
    4. Emma Humphreys.


  3. Jim Humphreys, mar Sheila Reedy and had issue:
    1. Michael Humphreys, mar Catherine Coll and had issue:
      1. Grace Humphreys.
      2. Mike Humphreys.
    2. Siobhan Humphreys.


  4. Richard Humphreys.


  5. Mary Humphreys.

  6. Michael Humphreys, mar Inna Yerina.


  7. Niall Humphreys, mar Eileen Curran and had issue:

    1. Stephen Humphreys, mar ---- and had issue:
      1. Oscar Humphreys.
    2. Macartan Humphreys, mar Jacobia Dahm and had issue:
      1. Aoife Dahm.
      2. Finbar Dahm.
    3. Ciaran Humphreys, mar Valerie Gammell and had issue:
      1. Odhran Humphreys.
      2. Liam Humphreys.




Dick when called to bar, 1920.
See BMP format and TIF format.



Dick and Sighle in Paris, 1923.
See full size.



Dick and Eithne's wedding, 1929. See full size.
Best man: Percy Mc Grath (a friend).
Bridesmaids: Sighle Humphreys (left) and Una O'Mara (right).
An almost identical picture appeared in Irish Independent, Wednesday, September 25, 1929.
See other wedding photo.



Because of my popular family tree website, Granny's wedding picture has been used to illustrate the "Wedding dress" entry on Wikipedia from 2007 to 2014 so far! The picture is also used to illustrate many other major Wikipedia articles!
Life is very strange. Starting 12 years after she died of old age, Granny's wedding photo started being viewed by millions of people all over the globe, and became one of the most-viewed wedding photos in history!
I'm sure she would be pleased!



Dick and Eithne setting off on honeymoon, on their wedding day, 24 Sept 1929.
Left to Right (apart from Dick and Eithne): Steen, (probably Eileen and Alec), Dick Lavelle, Pat, Maureen.
See larger and full size.


   
(Left) Dick.
(Right) Dick and Eithne, 1932. From group photo here.



Dick and Eithne's grave, Saggart, Co.Dublin.
See full size and alternative and close-up.
It says in Irish that Dick was in Dublin Brigade, IRA, served the nation 1916-21.
See other side and close-up.
Photos 2006. Photos courtesy of Richard Humphreys.






My grandfather on RTE TV, 1966




30 second clip of interview of my grandfather Dick Humphreys, RTE, 14 Apr 1966 (program information listed above).
See 30 second clip in AVI format.
See 3 minute clip in AVI or WMV or RM (the original format).
I am not sure if the full program is for sale anywhere. Possibly it can be purchased from RTE Libraries and Archives (see enquiry form).
If there is a page where it can be purchased, please let me know and I will link to it.




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