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Death of Thomas Ashe, 1917

By rareAdmin, Thursday, 25th September 2014 | 0 comments
Filed under: Today in Irish History.

















Today in Irish History: 1917 - Death of Thomas Ashe.

Thomas Ashe, nationalist and 1916 volunteer dies after being forcibly fed by prison authorities while on hunger strike.

Ashe was born in Kerry in 1885 and at an early age got involved in nationalist politics. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and was involved in the 1916 Rising fighting in Ashbourne where the Irish rebels did have some success.

Ashe was released from British custody in June 1917. He quickly got arrested for anti-British activity again and was sentenced to two years jail. When he was refused political status in jail, he went on hunger strike. Aggressive force feeding by his jailers went badly wrong and he died on this day in 1917. For an Ireland that despised the execution of the 1916 leaders, the death of Tom Ashe generated another huge surge of nationalist emotion.

While in prison in Lewes Jail, England, Ashe wrote 'Let me Carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord'.

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord
The hour of her trial draws near,
And the pangs and the pains of the sacrifice
May be borne by comrades dear.

But, Lord, take me from the offering throng,
There are many far less prepared,
Through anxious and all as they are to die
That Ireland may be spared.

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord
My cares in this world are few.
And few are the tears will for me fall
When I go on my way to You.

Spare. Oh! Spare to their loved ones dear
The brother and son and sire.
That the cause we love may never die
In the land of our Heart's desire!

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord!
Let me suffer the pain and shame
I bow my head to their rage and hate,
And I take on myself the blame.
Let them do with my body whate'er they will,
My spirit I offer to You.
That the faithful few who heard her call
May be spared to Roisin Dubh.

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord!
For Ireland weak with tears,
For the aged man of the clouded brow,
And the child of tender years;
For the empty homes of her golden plains;
For the hopes of her future, Too!
Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord!
for the cause of Roisin Dubh.