The case of the Norgroves: a Protestant Family in the Irish Citizen Army

An Example is offered in what follows of how kinship networks
were often fundamental to the radicalisation of Irish Protestants
involved in the Easter Rising of 1916. It concerns the Norgrove family
– five members of whom took part in the Rising as members of the
Irish Citizen Army. This case study provides a valuable insight into
how family ties could accelerate individual radicalisation and into the
nature of the 1916 revolutionary “generation” identified by Roy Foster,
as it developed in the years prior to the Rising.

The participation of Protestants, George and Maria Norgrove, and their children, Emily, Annie and Fred, in the 1916 Easter Rising is interesting because so many from the same family took part. Unfortunately the Norgroves did not leave much written material; both parents died before the Bureau of Military History began its work taking witness statements from veterans of the Rising in the late 1940s. Their eldest daughter, Emily, however, left various accounts of her participation in 1916 and Annie also left a short account of her role. Emily and Annie both supported the rebel fighters in City Hall, while 12 year-old Fred, a member of the Boy Scout Section of the Irish Citizen Army, was in the GPO.

So who were the Norgroves and how did this Church of Ireland family become involved in the separatist movement? Alfred George Norgrove was born in Kingstown, (now Dún Laoghaire) Co. Dublin, on 28 May 1876. His parents were Alfred George Norgrove, a seaman, and Martha Annie Norgrove of Magenta Place, Kingstown, Co. Dublin. George was baptised in Christ Church, Kingstown, in June 1876.