The first thing you should do is write to the Officer in Charge at the Military Archive at the address below and request a copy of your ancestor’s pension application, it can take some time to receive, the quickest time from first inquiry to receiving the copy of the pension application was 4 months the longest was 2 and a half years.

Officer in Charge,
Military Archives,
Cathal Brugha Barracks,
Dublin 6.

The two images above show the variation in the design of the page. The top image shows an application made in 1936 under the 1934 pensions act. The second image shows an application which was rejected.

When you receive the copy of the pension application it will provide you with a wealth of information. The information will arrive in the form of several A3 pages. Among these pages you will find one similar to the image above, although the layout of the page may differ depending on the year in which the application was made the information will be the same. The page will contain 5 columns headed Period, Service Claimed, Active Service Allowed, Equivalent for Pension purposes and Remarks.

Initially the information you are interested in is contained in the first three columns. Column A headed Period will contain a list of dates starting with Easter Week 23/04/1916 to 30/04/1916 and finish with the dates 01/04/1923 – 30/09/1923. Column B headed Service Claimed will contain the service your ancestor is claiming for, if your ancestor took part in Easter Week the first box in column B will contain the number of days they are claiming they took part in the Rising.

Column C is the important one Active Service Allowed. I have used a blank example in the image above because I have seen many different words or marks used to denote the period of service claimed was accepted as being true. A correct sign, the examining officer’s initials and the full or abbreviated forms of Accepted or Approved. If the box is blank this means that the period of service claimed was not accepted, in other words the applicant did not prove they had taken part in the Rising.

The same applies as you go down column A, the various dates in column A match the various events for which your ancestor could claim they served ranging from interment after the Rising up to the beginning of the Free State. Your ancestor could claim service with the Anti-Treaty side in the Civil War.

If you believe your ancestor took part in the 1916 Rising but their pension application was not approved I think it is still possible to have their name added to the official list of participants if you can provide proof. The last time I submitted a name was about twelve years ago and at that time the list was maintained by the National Archive of Ireland which is in Bishops Street Dublin. From experience I have found the things that are not accepted as proof of having served during the Rising are:

Proof of membership of the Citizen Army or Irish Volunteers or other associated organizations (They may have been members at the time of the Rising but it does not prove they took part.)
Proof of detention after the Rising (Again, it proves they were detained after the Rising but does not prove they took part)
Statements which begin with my Grannie always told me.