1916 Rising: Joe Stanley, Printer To The Rising

Old Drogheda Society


As part of the events planned to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising, there will be a lecture on Monday December 7th in the Governor's House, Millmount at 8pm, entitled Joe Stanley, Printer To The Rising by author Tom Reilly.

Joe Stanley started many local businesses in Dundalk, Drogheda and Clogherhead, including the Boyne Cinema and The Drogheda Argus. He was 26 in 1916 and part-editor, manager, owner and printer or publisher of newspapers and journals for the republican cause.
On Easter Monday 1916, not long after Pearse read the Proclamation to bemused passers-by, Joe slipped into the GPO. There he met his friend James Connolly, who introduced him to Pearse. The three men sat down together and began to plan the best way to inform the mystified citizenry what was happening. Joe became Pearse's Press Agent and published several war news missives. 

This lecture is organised by the Dundalk and District Old IRA Commemoration Committee and is open to the public.

Drogheda Museum Millmount,

History, Archaeology & Heritage, 

Governor's House,



Co. Louth, Ireland,



  1. This is not true. Matt Walker (Nic Shiubhlaigh), who was Joe's father-in-law, entered the GPO and organised the printing of the Irish War News with Pearse and Connolly. Matt was long-established as The Cause's go-to printer. He started the Carlow Vindicator to support his friend Parnell, and set up the Tower Press and then the Gaelic Press to print seditious material.
    He was an old IRB veteran and his tobacconist shop on High Street was a front for Republican activities.
    Joe married into the Walker family and bought the Gaelic Press for £1.00 on Matt's retirement. Joe did a lot of good work for Irish nationalism but he did not walk into the GPO and come out with orders from Pearse and Connolly. Matt did. He bravely walked from Glasthule to town - at the age of 68 - to play his part. Joe was in Parnell Square at the time.
    I'm sick and tired of this usurpation of Matt's role. I have at least one witness statement to back this up.
    He was my great grandfather and I'm very proud of him. He died in Drogheda, by the way. My father was a Drogheda man too. Dave Kenny

  2. Here is my granduncle, Charlie Walker's, account of the genesis of the War News. http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/reels/bmh/BMH.WS0241.pdf#page=2

  3. Further to my post, and in consultation with the Stanley family, I'm happy to clarify that Joe paid the sum of £26 and 14 shillings, not £1, for the Gaelic Press. This error is mine. The red mist takes over whenever Matthew is overlooked in the history of the War News. My point is that Matt - who knew Pearse very well - set the ball in motion when he initially entered the GPO. Along with Joe, Charlie and two other men, he spent the week printing the War News and Bulletins. Joe oversaw the enterprise and I'd like to state that he showed immense courage returning again and again to the GPO for copy. My comment was not intended to denigrate Joe's memory (or his patriotism), but to highlight my greatgrandfather's role. Many thanks, Dave.

  4. In a simple reply I refer to the witness statement of Michael McDunphy and Charles Walker. Charles received his instructions from Joe Stanley, both Matthew and Charles did not make decisions , as Joe was their boss. Michael McDunphy is an interesting man , as he was Director of the Bureau of Military history and he states that Joe moved to and fro from the GPO receieving Pearse'e copy all week and Michael states that he had sight of that copy. Michael was alos secretary to the first and several presidents of Ireland.
    It was Joe who ended up in Frongoch not Matthew or Charles
    according to Dave the BMH were mistaken , The National Library and the British !

  5. As a descendant of Joe Stanley, and Annie Walker, I am grateful for the work that both the Stanley family and the Walker/Kenny family have done in preserving our collective family history. It is a source of pride to me to be able to share so much with my sons and hand on such a rich history to them. The family history handed down to me always acknowledged the central role of our Walker ancestors both in the nationalist movement, the contribution to Arts and Culture and of course in supporting and actively engaging with many many more brave Irish men and women in the activities during week of the Easter Rising. What a great clan we can call our own and how proud we are of all of them. Mathew, Charlie, Maire, Annie, Gypsy - and of course my Great Grandfather Joe and his sisters and mother. Each played their part, all committed to and risking their freedom for ours.