Dublin Remembers 1916

Dublin Burning: the Easter Rising and its consequences

Sackville Street in ruinsAs part of Dublin Remembers 1916, Dr Brian Hanley presented a lecture series which examined in detail the lead up to the Rising, what really happened over those momentous days and its impact on future generations.
Image: Corner of Sackville Street (O'Connell Street) and Eden Quay. Postcard from the Birth of the Republic Collection at Dublin City Library & Archive.

Dr Brian Hanley is a historian and author. His publications include The IRA : a documentary history 1916-2005 (2015), The lost revolution : the story of the official IRA and the workers' party (2009) and A Guide to Irish Military Heritage (2004).

Monica Roberts' 1916 Diary

Monica RobertsOver Easter weekend we tweeted quotes from Monica Roberts' 1916 Diary, which provides a unique eyewitness account of the Rising including details of how it impacted on daily life (view tweets below).  Monica Roberts was a young woman living in Stillorgan, Co. Dublin. She set up a voluntary organization, ‘The Band of Helpers to the Soldiers’ to provide gifts for Irish troops at the front, particularly those serving with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and the Royal Flying Corps. The Monica Roberts Collection is fully digitised and searchable online at Digital Repository Ireland

Elsie McDermid's Easter 1916 Letter

Elsie McDermidOver Easter Weekend 2016 we tweeted quotes from Elsie McDermid's 1916 letter to coincide with the 1916 centenary (view the tweets below). Elsie McDermid's letter to her mother provides a unique eye-witness account to the 1916 Rising. Elsie McDermid was a popular English opera singer who visited Dublin to perform in Gilbert and Sullivan shows at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. However, the performances were cancelled as a result of the dramatic outbreak of the Rising on Monday 24th April 1916.

Read more about Elsie McDermid's letter and read the letter in its entirety.

1916 Rising Elsie McDermid Letter

The Irish Brigade at Hulluch, April 1916

Gas attackIn the week Patrick Pearse declared the Irish Republic on the steps of the General Post Office (GPO), the Irish Brigades of the 16th (Irish) Division suffered horribly in a gas attack launched by the Germans on 27 April 1916 at Hulluch.1 Like the men from the 2nd Dublins back in May 1915, many died years later as a result of this attack. On 29 April the Germans launched another gas attack on the Irish lines, however on this occasion the wind turned right round and blew the gas back over the German lines, the result being equally appalling.2 During April 1916, the Irish Division suffered 2,128 Irish causalities; approx. 538 were killed, the remainder were to suffer chronic lung and breathing conditions for the rest of their lives.3

Jacob’s Biscuit Factory, St John Ambulance and 1916

W&R Jacob & Co.Jacob's Biscuit Factory on Bishop Street was one of the sites occupied by the Irish Volunteers during Easter Week, 1916, and has acquired iconic status within Irish history.   The Jacob's Biscuit Factory Archive has recently being catalogued and opened to public access in the Dublin City Library and Archive.  In conjunction with the Business Information Centre the exhibition "W&R Jacob and Easter Rising" will be open to the public from 13 April, with a talk by Dr Séamas Ó Maithiú on 21 April.

Right: Sketch of Bishop Street Factory, c.1900s, Jacobs Biscuit Factory Archive (DCLA) (View larger image)

Reflecting the Rising

Reflecting the RisingOn Easter Monday, 28 March 2016 people from all over the country flocked to the streets of Dublin to commemorate the 1916 Rising. The atmosphere around the city was fantastic - and so was the weather! RTÉ's Reflecting the Rising filled the city's streets, squares, parks and buildings with history, drama, literature, music, talks, reenactments, arts, dance, play and crafts.

Alfie Byrne MP

Citizens in ConflictCitizens in Conflict #8. In 1916 the Dublin Harbour constituency was represented at Westminster by Alfred (Alfie) Byrne MP.  Dublin Harbour contained Mountjoy Ward, North Dock Ward, Rotunda Ward, (except a portion in the College Green constituency) and the portion of South Dock ward north of a line drawn along the centre of Great Brunswick Street. It also included the portion of Trinity Ward lying north of a line drawn along the centre of Great Brunswick street and the towns of Ringsend and Irishtown as well as sections of Beggar’s Bush. About 8,000 men had the vote in the constituency.

The British Army in Easter Week

Citizens in ConflictCitizens in Conflict #7. On paper there were nearly 3,000 British troops in Dublin on Easter Monday. But in reality the authorities were not prepared for immediate action. On Easter Sunday, only 400 British troops in Dublin were in ‘immediate readiness’ for action; 100 at each main barracks and a guard of six at Dublin Castle. Many officers were at the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse, while the commander of forces in Ireland, Major-General Friend, in London. His deputy Colonel H.V. Cowan, had a total of 2,385 men available, including those at races or on a day’s leave.

Apart from 6th Cavalry Reserve regiment at Marlborough Barracks, every unit in the city was part of an Irish regiment. The 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment was at Richmond Barracks, the 10th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers at the Royal Barracks, 3rd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles at Portobello Barracks. It was the 5th Royal Irish Lancers from Marlborough Barracks shot at in O’Connell Street.

After the Rising: A Nightime Visit

Citizens in ConflictCitizens in Conflict #6. In the hugely successful movie Michael Collins, directed by Neil Jordan, Collin’s man in the police, Ned Broy, gives him access to the secret files of Dublin Castle. Broy did indeed secure access for Collins to secret archives, but this was in Great Brunswick Street police station rather than Dublin Castle. Here's Broy's account from the Bureau of Military History Witness Statements:

‘After the Rising, an enormous mass of Sinn Féin literature was captured by the military and police from meeting places and homes of Volunteers for weeks after the Rising was over. All this literature, maps, etc., were stored in the Brunswick St. Detective Office. When the Volunteers began to reorganise in 1917, I gradually returned to them samples or copies of all documents, maps and publications which had been captured, which were of some help to them in picking up the treads of their organisation again.’

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