EIGHTIES pop icon Boy George has said he is both ‘proud and sad’ after discovering his great-uncle was a member of the Irish Republican Army, which fought for Ireland’s independence from Britain.
The singer, born George Alan O’Dowd in London in 1961 to Irish parents Jerry and Dinah O’Dowd, made the discovery while researching his roots for TV show Who Do You Think You Are?
His great-uncle, Thomas Bryan, was arrested in 1921 during the War of Independence over a planned attack on a lorry carrying Black and Tan soldiers and was later executed.
“It’s amazing to discover this is part of my family history,” the singer tells the show.
“I’m proud and I’m sad.”
Thomas had previously been arrested in 1917 for being a member of the Irish Volunteers, from which the IRA descended.
After his January 1921 arrest, Thomas was executed in Mountjoy Prison and buried in an unmarked grave in the grounds.
He was one several IRA volunteers who met the same fate and became known as the Forgotten 10, before they were exhumed and reinterred at Glasnevin in 2001 with full state honours.
In the show, the singer discovers Thomas was arrested just four months after marrying his wife, Annie.
She gave birth to Thomas’ child but it tragically died after just one day, while Thomas was executed just four days later.
In the show, George also discovers how his grandmother, Brigid Kinahan, was sent to an industrial school after being found wandering the streets of Dublin aged six.
She spend 10 years at the institution before being sent to work as a house maid at a hospital.
“It just feels like I’m climbing into a piece of really important, not only family history, but also Irish history, and that just feels kind of incredible,” the singer told the show.
The episode will air on BBC One next Wednesday, July 25 at 9pm.