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Recordings from teenage soldier used in Easter Rising film

A teenager who fought in the Easter Rising and was part of Michael Collins’ elite Squad in the War of Independence is the subject of a documentary.

Vinny Byrne was just 14 when the Easter Rising took place. He took part in the fighting at the Jacob’s Factory despite being sent home because of his young age by adult rebels.A Terrible Hullabaloo

A Terrible Hullabaloo is the name of the short animated film, which will tell Byrne’s story using puppetry. The narration actually comes from Byrne himself, from the audio of a documentary he recorded in 1980, then aged 78.

Writer Aoife Noonan said: “We took the audio from him talking about the Rising, so he narrates it himself.

“He’s a character you warm to. Immediately he’s funny, a little cheeky oul lad. You don’t really see many of his generation of old lads now.

“When he talked in the documentary he said when he was arrested after the Rising by the British, they asked him what he was doing in the factory.

“He said ‘fighting for Ireland, but I never fired a shot’. He was a character.”

Despite being just 14 at the time of the Rising, Byrne played an important role in the conflict at the Jacob’s Factory under the leadership of Thomas MacDonagh. Initially he was told to go home but made his way back to the factory as part of the second battalion of rebels, and ended up holding two policemen hostage at gunpoint.

Three years later, during the War of Independence, Byrne became a key member of Michael Collins’ elite Squad, who were responsible for assassinating high ranking British officials and spies.

A Terrible Hullabaloo was produced by Bowsie Workshop following a request from the Irish Film Board for filmmakers to create pictures which illuminate, surprise and provoke. It is part of their ‘After ‘16’ initiative which features fact and fiction films about the Easter Rising.

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Vinny Byrne’s niece and her daughter will both attend the premiere of A Terrible Hullabaloo at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival. You can see the trailer below.

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