Public representatives, council staff and figures from the Defence Forces were joined by members of the public last Saturday for the renaming of a section of Grace Road in honour of the Elliot sisters, Emily and Eilís.
The Elliot sisters hailed from Toberclaire. Founding members of Cumann na mBan, they played an important role in the nationalist scene and in the 1916 Rising in Dublin.
Addressing the crowd last weekend, Mayor Aengus O’Rourke said he was honoured to be part of such a historic situation.
“We are here today to further commemorate Eilis and Emily Elliott from Toberclaire, who played a significant role in the making of modern Ireland,” Mayor O’Rourke began. “In doing so we also acknowledge the role played by their colleagues from the greater Athlone area, who also made a valuable contribution.
“For many years the role of women in Easter 1916 and later years was overlooked, but happily the part played by both Emily and Eilsih has been recognised and commemorated in Athlone. As part of the centenary 1916 commemorations, a plaque was erected in Count John McCormack Square in their honour.
“In 2017, the bypass bridge on the River Shannon was named as Cuman Na mBan Bridge, and a plaque was erected commemorating all those from the greater Athlone area who were active in The Irish Volunteers, The Irish Republican Brotherhood, The Irish Citizen Army, and Cumann na mBan at the time of the Easter Rising in 1916.
“And today, the section of road from White Bridge to the Town Bridge will officially be named as Elliott Road.”
With relations of the Elliot sisters watching on, Mayor O’Rourke told the crowd of the exploits and bravery displayed by Emily and Eilish during the Easter Rising in Dublin.
“At an early age Eilish and Emily went to Dublin to find work where they trained as confectioners. In Dublin they both joined the Keating branch of the Gaelic League and were founding members of Cumann Na mBan, and were members of the central branch.
“Both Eilish and Emily participated in the 1916 Easter rising. They were in Reis’s in Abbey Street (opposite the Hibernian Bank ) on Easter Monday and spent the day going back and forth to the GPO carrying bread, supplies and messages.
“On Tuesday they answered a call for volunteers for the Four Courts and set off along the Quays where they stayed until the surrender on the Saturday.”
Mayor O’Rourke told the crowd that Eilish and her husband Seamus O’Brien settled down in Athlone after the Rising and continued to play a part in local politics, being founding members of Fianna Fáil in the town. Eilish was an active member of Fianna Fáil, was chair of the local Wolfe Tone Cumann, and was made president of the Cumann for a number of years.
“Ladies and gentlemen, these insights into the work and influence and commitment of Emily and Eilis Elliott makes it clear for me and I’m sure for all of us, the reasons why we are here today,” Mayor O’Rourke continued.
“These ladies were committed republicans, fearless in the pursuit of freedom, and sacrificed so much for this country and for future generations. It gives me great pleasure as the Mayor of Athlone to officially declare the road before us, outside this building, named from this day forward as Elliott Road.”