Seamus Robinson was born in Belfast in 1890. He went to school to the Christian Brothers there and later attended schools in Scotland. He returned to Ireland and joined the Volunteers in Dublin.
In 1916 he was stationed in Hopkins and Hopkins in O’Connell Street during the Easter Rising. It was one of the more dangerous positions and eventually he was captured and imprisoned in Belfast.
In February 1917, Seamus was released from prison and went back to Dublin. From there he came to Ballagh in County Tipperary, to work on Eamonn O’Dubhir’s farm. Having participated in the Rising in Dublin, he was greatly respected by the rank and file and Sean Treacy had him promoted to Brigade OC.
The whole area was a hotbed of IRA activity. Most of the local able-bodied men were members of the Third Tipperary Brigade and were growing weary of waiting for instructions from Dublin with a follow up to the 1916 Rising.
Eventually they took the law into their own hands and decided to capture gelignite from the RIC constables. This was the first time any of the Tipperary Brigade, with the exception of Seamus Robinson had been under enemy fire so he took command of the operation. Dan Breen, Sean Treacy, Seán Hogan and himself were known as ‘The Big Four’.
The two constables were shot dead and from there on the four were on the run.
Seamus had already been in court charged with illegal drilling, and sang The Soldiers Song while the case was being heard. At the time, he had been given a month in gaol, but was released in time for the Soloheadbeg ambush, the real start of the War of Independence.
Shortly after, Robinson and Treacy were called to Dublin where they met Michael Collins. Much of the Dublin leadership disapproved of the ambush but Michael Collins supported them.
Having returned to South Tpperary, Sean Hogan was arrested in Meagher’s of Annfield, Cashel. He was taken to Roskeen Barracks by the RIC, then to Thurles and was to be transferred to Cork to be hanged in Cork Gaol.
Dan Breen, Seamus Robinson, and Sean Treacy decided to try and rescue him. There was a shoot-out with Hogan’s guards. Dan Breen and Sean Treacy were badly wounded, though Seamus Robinson escaped uninjured.
For a while they remained on the run, the injured pair being sheltered in safe houses and when they recovered sufficiently, the ‘Big Four’ returned to Dublin.
During the time in Dublin they operated as part of Michael Collins’ squad. Seamus was still brigade OC and kept in close contact with Tipperary where Dinny Lacey and the many unsung heroes, manned the area.
In an attempted seizure of the Tipperary Workhouse, mechanic and one of the few capable of driving a lorry at the time, donned a British uniform and drove the lorry through the gates. The blowing up of the Signal cabin at the Limerick Junction station was called off owing to the fact there was a girl in the signal box.
In the Spring of 1930 Seamus Robinson and the other three returned to Tipperary and Seamus and Ernie O’Malley led an attack on Hollyford RIC Barracks in May 1920. They climbed a forty foot ladder to the top of the roof, and armed with grenades, petrol and guns, set fire to the roof.
Unfortunately the RIC realised in time what was going on and vacated the building. They entered the adjoining building and started to fire at the two on the roof. The attack was called off.
Seamus had already been involved in the attempt to assassinate Lord French at Ashtown and seems to have nine lives.
In September, 1920, a Brigade Council meeting was being held in Meagher’s of Blackcastle. Sean Treacy, Dinny Lacey, Dan Breen and Seamus Robinson were in attendance as well as many others.
The British forces raided and the men escaped but during the flight Seamus Robinson fell into a pond. He stayed under the water breathing through a reed, until such time as the soldiers had given up the search and gone away.
Through all this the men on the ground were kept busy making ammunition, gathering information, acting as scouts. Lar Breen, a brother of Dan’s, got a job in the quarry at Soloheadbeg to gather intelligence for the IRA.