Edward (Ned) Daly (1891-1916) was born at 26 Frederick Street, Limerick, the only son among the ten children of Catherine O’Mara; his father Edward Daly, a noted Fenian, had died at the age of forty-one, ﬁve months before Ned’s birth. Ned’s uncle was John Daly, an organiser for the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who served twelve years in English prisons on foot of false charges relating to the possession of explosives. Another uncle, James Daly, returned home to Limerick from Australia a wealthy man; he established a bakery in William Street, and helped to support his brother Edward’s large family after his death.
Ned was educated at the Presentation Sisters’ school at Sexton Street, the Christian Brothers’ school at Roxboro Road and Leamy’s commercial college. Following a brief stint as an apprentice baker in Glasgow, he worked as a clerk at Spaight’s timber yard in Limerick. He later moved to Dublin where he eventually settled in a position with a wholesale chemists, May Roberts & Co. He lived in Fairview with his sister Kathleen who was married to Tom Clarke. Clarke had met Kathleen through his friendship with John Daly, with whom he had served time in prison. Coming from an intensely republican family in Limerick, the Clarke household reinforced Ned’s extremist political orientation.
Daly joined the Irish Volunteers on their foundation in November 1913, soon attaining the rank of captain. He studied military manuals and any other such texts he could ﬁnd, soon becoming an authority on tactics and strategy: his company was said to have greatly impressed certain senior oﬃcers at the landing of arms at Howth in July 1914. In March 1915, he was promoted to commandant of the 1st Battalion. By then he was probably already a member of the IRB for some years.
In the Rising, Daly and the 1st Battalion were assigned to hold the Four Courts (courts of law) and the surrounding area between the Liﬀey and North Brunswick Street. This command occupied a strategic position on the river Liﬀey, as it controlled the main route leading from various military barracks to the west of the city into the city centre. The 1st Battalion was involved in some of the most intense ﬁghting of the Rising. Nevertheless, Daly held out until Pearse’s surrender order reached him on Saturday. Edward Daly was tried by court-martial and executed by ﬁring squad on Thursday, 4 May. He was unmarried.