28 May 2022

'Rebel Prisoner' - the story of Seamus Cavanagh to be broadcast on radio

Inishowen resident's exploits to be recalled on Newstalk

Seamus Cavanagh

Seamus Cavanagh pictured in 1916.

A new radio documentary produced by the Nerve Centre’s Raw Nerve Productions will premiere on Newstalk on Sunday morning.

The documentary 'Rebel Prisoner', tells the story of Seamus Cavanagh, a British army soldier turned Irish Volunteer who was interned in multiple prisons and camps between 1916-24 including Wormwood Scrubs, Frongoch internment camp and the prison ship Argenta.

The documentary traces the life of this soldier, rebel and prisoner, from his experience in wars of empire, to Easter 1916 and into the early 1920s and includes accounts of internment, hunger strike and escape.

The programme begins with the mystery of a forgotten diary written over 100 years ago that leads to a story of rebellion and internment. The small notebook was discovered in Derry in the 1990s. It had no name but some curious annotations of numbers and letters and a succinct series of entries with the opening lines.

‘Arrested about 1.45 pm when going back to work, taken to Bishop St, dressed in prison clothes, no charge stated’

The diary was written by Seamus Cavanagh at the time of the Easter Rising 1916 and describes his arrest and transport to various prisons ending up as an internee in Wales. From here the story of Seamus unfolds revealing a stubborn, conservative Irish Volunteer.

In 1939 Seamus was seriously ill and with his family being harassed by the B-Specials, the Cavanagh's moved to Lisfannon.  He died there in 1944 and is buried along with his wife Sarah in Fahan Catholic Graveyard.

Rebel Prisoner will be broadcast on Sunday, May 1 at 7am, and will be available on GoLoud and all major podcast platforms. And will be repeated on Newstalk on Saturday, May 7 at 9pm.

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