Heavily involved in the Irish fight for independence from the 1880s on, Thomas Kent waited in Cork for orders during the 1916 Rising. During a gunfight at his home, Thomas' brother Richard and an RIC Constable were killed. He was executed by firing squad in Cork Barracks on 9 May 1916.
Born in 1865 into a farming family of Fenian tradition near Fermoy in Co. Cork, Thomas Kent became involved in the Land League in the 1880s and lived for a time in Boston, where he was active in Irish cultural organisations. In 1889, back in Ireland he joined the fight against injustices and evictions and was imprisoned several times for his part in orchestrating a boycotting campaign.
Dedicated to freeing Ireland, Thomas and his brothers mobilised in Co. Cork at Easter 1916 and waited in vain for direct orders from Dublin headquarters. During a gunfight at their home – the only fighting to take place in Co. Cork – a policeman and Thomas’s brother Richard were killed.
Thomas was charged with ‘taking part in an armed rebellion’ and sentenced to death. He was executed by firing squad in Cork Barracks on 9 May 1916.
Meda Ryan’s biography shines light on a man who was ‘Ireland’s forgotten patriot’ until a state funeral over ninety-nine years after his death, in September 2015.