Pauline Murphy recalls the hanging of the Dublin Fenian 135 years ago

Before it became Griffith College it was Richmond Bridewell and it was here 135 years ago that Dublin Fenian Joe Poole was hanged on the 18th of December, 1883. After his execution Poole was buried in an unmarked grave within the grounds of Richmond Bridewell and by all accounts his restless spirit still roams the area.

Joe Poole was born in 1855 in Dublin city and was a tailor by trade. Poole was sworn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood at the age of 18 and rose the ranks to become leading armourer for the Fenian movement on Liffeyside.

On the 3rd of July, 1883, Poole went to the Widow Moran’s public house on Cork Hill where he met with other Fenians, including John Kenny. Sometime after midnight Kenny was shot and stabbed under the railway arch at Seville Place by a number of men.

It later transpired that Kenny had been a valued informer of Superintendent John Mallon of Dublin Castle. For years Kenny had been feeding Mallon information about the Dublin circles of the IRB, including Joe Poole who was arrested the morning following Kenny’s murder.

Along with Poole, ten other well-known Fenians were arrested. They were all were released after a number of months in holding cells as evidence proved too weak but, an incident on the 25th of November would see Poole back in handcuffs again.
On that winter’s day a scuffle broke out between rival Fenian factions on Abbey Street. One faction were supporters of the supreme council of the IRB while the other was a Stephenite faction, supportive of IRB leader James Stephens, and Poole was a Stephenite.

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