Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My Great Granddad: Captain Vincent Poole


The man with the flat cap at the bottom of the photograph is Vincent Poole. The man with the glasses above him is Eamon De Valera, the first ever President of Ireland. Today is the first day I've seen this photograph. I know more about Eamon De Valera than I do Vincent Poole, which is strange considering that Vincent is my father's grandfather.

My great granddad fought in the Irish Easter Rising of 1916 with his brothers, both metaphorical and literal. This past weekend there were a lot of commemorations about that rebellion. I heard little or nothing mentioning him or his brothers. I had known a few scraps of information, little bits told to me by my dad and then paragraphs here and there mentioning him in history books dedicated to the subject.

He was apparently a popular man within the Irish Citizen Army, someone who kept moral high with our family's common trait of telling tall tales. He was also a man with a short temper, and there was a story about him nearly killing a young Irish soldier because his slightly skewed salute made Vincent think he was a British spy. Everything I heard about him made me think "yup, he's a Poole, alright".

I think my knowledge of him tripled or more tonight when I received a link from my mother to this documentary chronicling Vincent and his brothers' contributions to The Rising. I have to say, I got a little overwhelmed with pride after watching it. The documentary spends approximately 25 minutes reciting recorded eye-witness accounts of his movements both during and after the fighting. It's nice that at the end of this video I still was able to think "yup, he's a Poole, alright".

Here it is, if you're interested. Vincent's story kicks in at the 25 minute mark.


I'll end on this wonderful quote from Irish journalist and novelist Gene Kerrigan:
"Some of us have been around too long to have heroes, but if I had a hero in these matters it would be an obstreperous little man name Vincent Poole"