He was a man of multiple talents with a personality and physique that immediately impacted positively in any gathering of people. Add to that an ability to communicate and articulate in a manner that made all around him feel at ease.
These qualities together with an intense desire to help free his country from foreign rule made Ben O’Hickey a pioneer of the Irish Volunteer movement and one of the outstanding Freedom fighters of the Third Tipperary Brigade Old IRA.
Ben O’Hickey was an excellent Volunteer organiser and leader of men. His cheerful personality and active brain particularly in difficult and dangerous situations, helped him and his comrades on many occasions, to avoid capture and death. He had great energy and massive strength in his powerful frame. Had not national duty occupied so much of his youthful years, he could have been a top athlete.
He was involved with Sean Treacy from 1910 through the Gaelic League and later the IRB. O’Hickey was arrested in Sept. 1917 for involvement in a parade while wearing uniform and carrying a hurley to welcome Eamon De Valera in Tipp town.
Sean Treacy had also been arrested for a similar offence at the same parade. Ben O’Hickey was to endure two hunger strikes, bullet wounds, on three occasions imprisonment in England and Ireland and was one of the main leaders of the Mounty prison escape by 23 prisoners in 1919.