Con Colbert (1888-1916)
Born Cornelius Colbert in Monalena, Limerick on 19 October 1888, Colbert was raised in Athea in the same county. His family moved to Dublin when he was 13. He went to CBS North Richmond Street and later worked as a baker in Kennedy’s. He was a fluent Irish speaker and was passionate about Irish history. He was present on 16 August 1909 when Fianna Éireann were founded at 34 Lower Camden Street. He became a Captain and was given charge of a city branch.
Colbert headed an IRB circle composed of Fianna boys. He was elected on to the Executive of the Irish Volunteers and became Captain of F Co, 4th Battalion. Pearse called him “the gallant Captain Colbert” and asked him to drill the St Enda’s boys. A dedicated pioneer, Colbert was known not to drink or smoke and even gave up dancing during Lent. He first commanded Watkins Brewery, then moved to Marrowbone Lane Jameson’s distillery. He assumed command of the whole garrison upon their surrender on Sunday, 30 April 1916. He famously moved the piece of white paper that was being pinned to his chest for the firing squad to aim at saying “would it not be better nearer the heart.” He was executed on 8 May 1916 in his 28th year.