Michael Mallin (c.1874-1916) was born in Dublin, the son of John Mallin, a carpenter. Presumably, he was educated locally at a national school. He joined the army as a drummer boy, probably around the age of sixteen, the army being a common choice of career for working-class boys at the time. He served for approximately fourteen years, becoming a non-commissioned oﬃcer (NCO). Part of his service was in India, where he contracted malaria.
Following his discharge, he settled in Dublin where he worked as a silk weaver. Being concerned at working conditions in the industry, he joined the Silk Weavers’ Union of which he became secretary. He was also active in the Working Men’s Temperance Club. He joined the Irish Citizen Army on its formation in November 1913. An enthusiastic and committed member, his dedication and ability were acknowledged by James Connolly who promoted him to the new post of chief of staﬀ. He proceeded to make his mark by raising standards of discipline and professionalism. In addition, he introduced a rigorous training regime featuring marches, ﬁeld manoeuvres and mock attacks on public buildings.
As Connolly was in overall command of operations during the Rising and was based in the General Post Oﬃce, the command of the main ICA force devolved on Mallin and his second in command, Countess Markievicz. Their post was St Stephen’s Green, a rectangular park approximately twenty acres in size, located a mile south of the GPO, across the Liﬀey. The current membership of the ICA was approximately 400 of which 200-250 are estimated to have turned out during the Rising. Being overlooked by the Shelbourne Hotel and other tall buildings, most positions in St Stephen’s Green had to be abandoned within twenty-four hours. The majority of the ICA men then occupied the very solid College of Surgeons to the west side of the Green where they held out until the order for surrender reached them on the Sunday.
Michael Mallin was tried by court-martial and was sentenced to death. He was executed on 8 May. He was survived by his wife Agnes Hickey, his three sons and two daughters, the younger of whom was not born until four months after his death. He is said to have been a devout Roman Catholic.