By Sean Ua Cernaigh
No other county, apart from Dublin, has closer connections with the 1916 Rising, than Wexford. Michael O’Hanrahan of New Ross was, as we know, one of the executed leaders. Thomas Weafer of Enniscorthy was killed in action during the Dublin Rising, as was John Comeen, whose father hailed from Ferns.
Liam Mellows, whose mother hailed from Coolgreaney, was active in Co. Galway, but that was not all. The Rising, in fact, spilled over to the Model County.
In Enniscorthy, over a period of four days, some 3,300 insurgents held the town against enemy opposition. They were led by brave men of talent; Robert Brennan of Wexford town and his capable lieutenants, Seamus Doyle, Seamus Rafter, Michael Lacey, Peter Galligan, Richard King and Sean Etchingham.
Of these, perhaps the most dedicated of all was Courtown’s Sean Etchingham. He was not a young man in 1916, having reached the ripe age of 46. He had already made quite a name for himself as a journalist, poet, GAA pundit and Irish language enthusiast. His death in 1923, deprived Wexford and Ireland of one of her bravest sons.
Sean Etchingham was born at Ballintray, Courtown in 1870, the son of a gardener. Leaving school at the age of fourteen, he worked as a clerk.