The Gray Faded Cross on Rotoath Road

There is a grey faded cross which is embedded in the red brick wall of the apartments called Rose court at Cabra cross at the end of Ratoath Road. On this cross in Gaelic writing is the name of Christopher Breslin and Joseph Kiernan who were murdered at this spot on April 3rd 1923.

Their stories are tragic as they epitomize the savagery of Ireland civil war. This war was one of the most tragic periods in Irish history when brother fought and killed brother and families and friends split and became bitter enemies. Like so many others Christopher Breslin and Joseph Kiernan became victims of this war. [1]

Christopher Breslin was from a family of five. There was Peader, Thomas, Jamesey, Mary Margret, and Christy. They had addresses at no 9 Mount Temple Road off Manor Street. All the brothers were very active republicans.


                                   Christopher ( Christy) Breslin Intelligence Corps,, QM A company, !st Battalion , Dublin Brigrade of the Irish Republican Army who was murdered at Cabra Cross by Free State Forces on Aprial 3rd ,1923 Requiescat in Pace ( Photograph courtesy of the Breslin Family)

They were out in 1916 and Jamesy and Tomas were jailed in Ballykinler and Frongoch in Wales. They were heavily involved in the freedom struggle against the British and were especially targeted because of involvement in many actions against the British forces in Dublin. They took the republican side in the civil war. [2]

Joseph Kiernan came from a family of fourteen. He lived in 22 Mercer Street [3] and at the time of his death at 40 Mercer Street. He worked for Eastman’s Ltd and seem to have no political affiliation [4]. The two funerals were held on April 7 1923. Christopher Breslin was held in Whitefrier Street church while Joe Kiernan was held in nearby Clarendon Street church.

Both funeral met on the way to Glasnevin were it was reported that thousand attend. Christy Breslin tri colour draped coffin was given a republican funeral and he was buried with his brother in the republican plot. Joe Kernan was buried not far away in the family plot.

Joe Kernan’s brother, Micheal, erected a small cross on his grave in 1924.  The cross at the Rathoath Road was erected by Jamesy Breslin in memory of his brother and Joe Kiernan. April 2013 is the ninety anniversary of their deaths. The inscription on the cross is as follows:

I ndil cuimne ar Criostoir O Breaslain (Christopher Breslin) tagdeoir complact A an cead cat, briogaid Ata Cliat d’aem na poblact agus an Seosam O Coarnacain (Joseph Kernan) a duanbuigead an 3u la d’Abreain, 1923.

In loving Memory of Christopher Breslin, I intelligence ( corps) A, Company, First Battalion Dublin Brigade of the Republican Army and of Joseph Kernan who were murder on the 3rd April, 1923, Requiescat in Pace.

On  5 April   2013 on the ninety anniversary of their deaths a commemoration organized by the Cabra Historical Society was held at the site of the plaque. Members of the Breslin family attended and Padar a nephew of Christys gave a great family account of the Breslin family involvement in  in Ireland’s fight for freedom from 1916 to 1923. The proceedings were chaired by Nicky Kehoe and the main address was given by Local TD Mary Lo Mac Donald . A wreath was placed by a member of the Breslin family 


[1] Brian O Higgins, ‘Wolf Tone Annual’, (Dublin,1962).
[2] The Irish Times April 7 ,1923 p 2.
[3] Census of Ireland 1911.
[4]  The Freemans Journal April 7, 1923.

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