by Eamon Murphy and Skerries Historical Society.
As a young man Thomas hand joined and played an active part in the branch of the Gaelic League which was established in Skerries after the turn of the century. He was active in the local branch of the Irish Transport and General workers’ Union and was also its secretary for a time.
He was a member of the volunteers in the Fingal Brigade. Here he showed the energy and spirit, which was to draw him to the attention of the authorities. After the Easter Rising he was one of a group of Irishmen who was captured and interned in Frongoch in Wales.
When he was released in 1917 he resumed his activities in the Volunteers and thus became “a marked man”. It was little wonder that the Black and Tans were on his trail when they were let loose in this country. For this reason he was “on the run”.
During this period he would spend the night sleeping in the houses of various friends and neighbours, occasionally returning home for brief visits when he deemed it safe to do so.
His brother Cathal gave an account of what happened on the night of the 5th. of December 1920 at his home in Baltrasna, near Skerries. Cathal went to bed about midnight. Before falling asleep he heard Thomas coming in. About half past one in the morning a noise at the door woke him. Glancing at Thomas’ bed he noticed that Thomas was not there.
Before he had time to get out of bed the room was full of men in military uniform, the Black and Tans. Cathal was vigorously questioned and during the interrogation he heard gun shots outside. When he was allowed to dress and go out to the back yard he found Thomas’ body lying in a pool of blood under a window. He was shot in the head and in the chest.
Some years later the street between St. Patrick’s National Schools (Dublin Road) and the monument in Strand Street was named Thomas Hand Street in his honour.