Liam Mac Piarais aka Willie Pearse, brother of Patrick Pearse, was one of Ireland's Easter Rising heroes.
Educated at Westland Row School in Dublin, Willie followed in his father’s footsteps and became an artist. He studied at Metropolitan School of Art, Kensington School of Art in London and also in Paris. He became a promising sculptor. His most famous work, the Mater Dolorosa, can be viewed in the Mortuary Chapel of St. Andrew’s Church on Westland Row in Dublin (very near Pearse Station).
His other works are also on display at the Pearse Museum in Rathfarnham, the Cathedral of St. Eunan and St. Columba in Letterkenny, Donegal, and Limerick Cathedral.
He also founded the Leinster Stage Society and acted in the Abbey Theatre.
As a younger brother of Patrick, William shared his brother’s passion for an independent Ireland. When Patrick opened his new school, St. Enda’s, Willie sold the family business and devoted himself to Patrick’s new venture.
The brothers were ere so close that Patrick wrote about Willie: “What greater thing has ever happened to me than the coming of that good comrade? Willie and I have been true brothers. Willie’s companionship has been the one solace of my sorrowful life. As a boy, he has been my only playmate, as a man he has been my only intimate friend.”
The two brothers fought alongside each other in the General Post Office, Dublin in the Easter rising of 1916. Although Willie was not a leader in the Rebellion, he was sentenced to death because of his association "with the Sinn Fein movement from its inception” and probably because he was Patrick Pearse’s brother.
William Pearse was executed at Kilmainham Jail on 4 May 1916, one day after his brother.
Brunswick Street was renamed Pearse Street in honour of the two brothers in 1924, and The Pearse railway station nearby was re-named in 1966 (50 years following thier deaths).
|Date of Birth
|15th Nov 1881
|Date of Death
|4th May 1916
|Associated Building (s)
|27 Great Brunswick Street Dublin The Hermitage Rathfarnham Kilmainham Gaol
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)
|Margaret Brady (1855-1932) daughter of a coal merchant, whose father's family moved from Co Meath to Dublin during the famine.
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)
|James Pearse (1839-1900) sculptor, born in England
|27 Brunswick Street (now Pearse Street) Dublin 2
|Names of Siblings
|Margaret Mary Pearse, b. 1878 | Patrick Henry Pearse, b. 1879 | Mary Bridget Pearse, b. 1888 |
|Names of Siblings
|Half-siblings: Mary Emily Pearse, b. 1864 at Dublin, m. Alfred McLoughlin | James Vincent Pearse, b. 1866;
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)