‘Paddy Joe’ (1895-1960): a tribute to a 1916 fighter

Introduction by Jim Stephenson

This website was compiled as a tribute to my Grandfather Patrick Joseph Stephenson (Paddy Joe), a hero of the 1916 Easter Rising. It is dedicated to Mamie, Tessie, Aine, Nuala, Helen, Bernie, Caroline & Maureen

I was very young when my paternal Grandfather, Patrick Joseph Stephenson died. It was early evening and he had come home to No. 3 Woodbine Avenue in Stillorgan, from his work as Dublin Chief Librarian. He was sitting in his favourite chair reading the evening paper while his wife Mary (‘Mamie’) prepared his dinner. He suffered a brain haemorrhage and died; this was 4 days before his retirement and 65th birthday, on 6th April 1960.

I still remember the shock that reverberated throughout his family, and the enormous grief on losing someone who was a hero to his many young grandchildren, nieces and nephews. A hero? - perhaps. An extraordinary man? - most certainly. His death was covered in the Irish newspapers and as a result my schoolteacher made all the children in my class stand for a minute's silence, in honour of a 1916 Fighter. I was 12! you can imagine how proud I was! I see today the same interest and pride in him, primarily as a 1916 Volunteer and Irish freedom fighter, from my children, nieces, and nephews, and as a direct result I decided to put together a book (upon which this website is based) hopefully to keep some of the important details recorded and available. Paddy Joe, as he was known to his Family and friends, was in every sense of the words An Extraordinary Man. He lived a very full and interesting life, the details of which should not be lost in the mists of time, to either today’s generation of his family, or to those generations to come.


In 1910, Paddy Joe at the age of only 15 joined the Gaelic League with the purpose and prospect of assisting to secure National Independence for Ireland. At 19 years of age he was a member of The Irish Volunteers, and at 21 he played a full part in the Rising of Easter Week 1916, for which he was incarcerated in British prisons. He also, took part in the subsequent War of Independence, smuggled arms, aided prisoner escapes, hid arms and ammunition at his place of work, conducted armed robberies for weapons and ammunition, was a founding member of The Irish Communist Party, Chairman of the Kilmainham Jail Restoration Group, President of the Old Dublin Society, Chief Librarian of Dublin and much more: an extraordinary man, you will have to agree, and it is my hope that this compilation will help to keep his extraordinary life alive in the memory of his family.

I have collated, with my wife Mary’s help, the material in this book from Paddy Joe’s writings/records. I have included Heuston’s Fort which was edited, after his death, by my Father, Patrick Heuston Stephenson (or Paddy), the eldest of Paddy Joe’s five very successful sons (and that’s another story!) I have also used work from the Family History, compiled by Paddy Joe’s nephews, Sean Brunswick, and Brendan Cox. (October 2006)

Jim Stephenson
111 Manchester Road
S10 5DH