Last letter of Frank Cunnane

In the Reception Ward, Galway Gaol, 1923

Mary Kyne

Frank Cunnane

Dear Mother,

You are aware perhaps by now that I am one of the destined by God to swell the roll of that martyred band who died for Ireland. I am going to my grave, dying as I lived, believing that I did the best for my country and that the sacrifice will atone for anything left undone by me. I have conscientiously done everything for the better interests of my country, according to my lights.

I have no dread, therefore it is with composure that I accept my sentence, bearing no hatred against any living soul. To all my friends, too numerous to mention, give my best sincerest love. For their many kindnesses, during and after my intercourse with them, I am more than grateful and I trust that God will in some way repay them, as I intended doing. But now, that I am leaving them for a happier exchange, I am debarred from fulfilling my desire in this world of sorrow.

Well, Mother, I know my death will shock you and all at home, but my dying wish is that not grief or sorrow be unnecessarily displayed by any of you, for the end must come some time and it is as welcome now as at any future date and perhaps when I am no better prepared than now. I hope God will accept my sacrifice for any faults I may have committed during my life on earth – my death is a glorious one and I am unworthy of it.

There may be some who think our line of action a hopeless and foolish one, but the voices of Pearse and Plunkett and those who died for the same cause in 1916, inspired me to follow in their footsteps and I am confident the vindication of the sacred cause will come in some generation or another. Cheer up, Mother dear; I shall meet you in Heaven in the near future, though I hope your life on earth be long and happy, so much so that you will be recompensed in some small measure for your past and present worries.

Give to all my neighbours and companions of my childhood, my dying wishes for their future welfare and to my loyal comrades a fond farewell. And let no act of vengeance mar the cause for which I die. Let that sanctified flag be borne aloft, unstained by the sin of Cain, so that the world will see we are not waging a war of Bolshevism of which the I.R.A. are accused. I am sending you a few souvenirs, including a pair of beads I got from Cissie during the Black and Tan regime. In them, find consolation and do not worry.

Now, I must conclude finally and eternally on this side of the grave. So, I send you, Father, Cissie, Tessie, Bertie, Gerald, Willie, John, Tommie, Martin, Charles, Joe and Vincent, my blessing and good wishes. May God bless you all, and may we all meet in Heaven, is the sincere wish of your dutiful and loving son.
Frank Cunnane

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