Brennan came from Meelick, County Clare, and would go on to serve in the IRA’s campaign during the Irish War of Independence and later still, he served as a TD. He had been rounded up in the aftermath of the Rising by the British authorities, but had not taken part in it.
The autograph book appears on page 193 in a section about Frongoch camp in Wales, where the rebels were eventually imprisoned, and features a detailed a drawing by Cathal Mac Dubhgaill of part of the compound. Mac Dubhgaill, who was an engineer with Dublin Corporation, served in the 3rd Battalion of the Volunteers under Eamon de Valera during the Rising. He also beautifully illustrated other pages in Brennan’s keepsake, which was a common type of social media in its day.
The autograph Book and the Markievicz Prison Committal Form are the only artefacts in the museum collection with any connection to the largely Dublin-centred 1916 Easter Rising and its aftermath.
With the Markievicz ‘mug shots’ having already been included in ‘1916’, a University of Notre Dame funded TV documentary, both objects will continue to be at the centre of Clare Museum’s centenary activities this year.