The oldest and first of the signatories, Thomas Clarke joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1883, and devoted the majority of his life to fighting for Irish independence.
Following the Easter Rising and subsequent surrender on 29 April, he was held at Kilmainham Gaol. Before he was executed, he asked his wife Kathleen to give the following message to the Irish people:
“I and my fellow signatories believe we have struck the first successful blow for Irish freedom. The next blow, which we have no doubt Ireland will strike, will win through. In this belief, we die happy.”
Although she did not fight herself, Kathleen Clarke had been instrumental in the planning of the rebellion. Elected to Irish parliament in 1921, Kathleen would remain active in Irish politics and would eventually become the first woman elected as Lord Mayor of Dublin, in 1939.