John MacBride (1865-1916)
Born at The Quay, Westport, Mayo on 7 May 1865. MacBride attempted to become a medical doctor but gave up his studies and came to work in a chemist in Dublin. He joined the IRB and was involved in the early days of the GAA. Through the Celtic Literary Society he became friends with Arthur Griffith with whom he remained close to throughout his life. On behalf of the IRB he went to America in 1895 and the following year went to South Africa to work in the goldmines.
He fought alongside the Irish Transvaal Brigade against the British in the Boer War of 1899-1900. The Boer Government gave him the rank of Major and the Irish Brigade became more commonly known as MacBride’s Brigade. Connolly, Griffith and Maude Gonne had been active campaigning against the Boer War. Much to Yeats’ horror MacBride married his muse, Gonne, in 1903. It was a short marriage that ended in divorce in 1906. He was not a member of the Irish Volunteers, but during the Rising he was second to Thomas MacDonagh in Jacob’s biscuit factory. He was executed on 5 May 1916.