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John/Seán McGrath/Mac Craith

Townland: Larkfield
Town/Village: Kimmage, Dublin
Civil Parish:
Catholic Parish:
Alternative Address: Kenagh village; various London addresses including 18 Canton Street, Poplar and 148 St John's Way
Census 1901:
Census 1911:
Regiment/Unit: Irish Volunteers
Regiment Number:
Date of Death:

McGrath was born in Kenagh in 1882. Like his brother Michael, he also went to London and worked as a railway official. He was very active in Irish nationalist organisations including the GAA, the Gaelic League and the IRB. He worked with other activists including Patrick Belton, Michael Collins and P.S. O’Hegarty. McGrath joined the Volunteers in London in 1914.

In early 1916, he was involved in buying guns in England and having them taken to Dublin. Knowing that action in Dublin was likely, McGrath travelled over with Michael Mulvihill and Austin Kennnan (Mulvihill’s brother-in-law) during Easter weekend. He carried a German rifle which was sewn into the fold of a travelling rug. According to his own account, he went into the GPO on Monday afternoon and was there for less than twenty-four hours. Jeremiah O’Leary (who had also come from London), recalled years later that he, McGrath and Liam O’Kelly went to collect ammunition for the post office and also that he and McGrath were asked by Michael Collins to gather information around the city. McGrath was detained after the rising but the details are unclear.

On his release he resumed his activities and was a key figure in the IRA in London during the War of Independence. He was also general secretary of the Irish Self-Determination League of Great Britain and worked closely with Art Ó Briain. Both were among several Irish republicans who were deported to the Irish Free State in 1923. They successfully appealed their deportation and when McGrath returned to London, he was again imprisoned. In later years, he served as honorary secretary of the Anti-Partition League in Britain. He died in 1950.

Seán's brother Peter served in the British army.


Parents Names: Son of Michael McGrath and Bridget (née Heslin), Kenagh

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