Major John MacBride was an Irish Republican who was born on 7th May 1868 and executed by the British on 5th May 1916 for his involvement in the 1916 Rising.
MacBride was a native of Westport and was son of Patrick MacBride and Honoria Gill who lived at The Quay. In 1903, he married Maud Gonne (Irish patriot, actress, and feminist, one of the founders of Sinn Fein), a marriage that W. B. Yeats disapproved of as he had previously proposed to her. In 1904 their son Sean MacBride was born.
MacBride was not even supposed to be involved in the Rising and only did so after a chance meeting with Thomas MacDonagh on Easter Monday 1916 and was appointed second-in-command at Jacob’s factory. MacBride was court-martialed and was shot by British troops in Kilmainham Gaol. Some believe that he was not executed for his activities during the Easter Rising, but for his involvement against the British in the Boer War.
The memorial, which is situated along the Mall in Westport, was unveiled by President Patrick Hillery on July 3rd 1983. Irish sculptor Peter Grant (1915 - 2003), designed and sculptured the bust of Major MacBride. Sean MacBride, SC., who is the son of Major MacBride addressed the crowd.
Major John MacBride was remembered by W. B. Yeats in his poem, 'Easter 1916':
I write it out in a verse—
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.