|The seven signatories to the Irish Proclamation|
Read my account of Sunday April 23 1916 here. The rebels are thrown into chaos by Eoin MacNeill's countermanding order, which read:
|James Stephens, writer and close friend of James Joyce and Commandant Thomas MacDonagh|
Read my account of Easter Monday, April 24 1916 here. John F Boyle described the average Irish rebel
"The male insurgents belonged to all classes.
Numbers of these especially in the Citizen Army were ordinary dock labourers and working-men…
Very different were the young men belonging to the Irish Volunteers. Many of them hailed from the country districts and occupied positions in Dublin as grocers’ assistants and behind drapery counters."
Conor Cruise O'Brien said:
"As for the middle class as a whole, there is some reason to believe that on Easter Monday, 1916, the main focus of its interest was not the GPO but Fairyhouse Racecourse."
James Stephens wrote that Wednesday morning "was bright and warm as a midsummer day", but all around they could hear shooting and shelling. British troops begin to flood into the city, by train and boat from the north and the east.
The battle of Mount Street Bridge begins that afternoon as a score of rebels hold off two battalions of Sherwood Forreaters, causing death and casualties.
This is named the "Dardanelles of Dublin" since it is a narrow approach route from Kingstown harbour to the city centre.
Their strategy has been to throw a cordon on of troops around he city. By contracting the cordon they can separate and isolate each garrison until they are hemmed in with no contact and nowhere to go.
Troops continue to pour into the city, and Mary Louisa Hamilton Norway wrote:
"We now have 30,000 troops and plenty of artillery and machine-guns, so the result cannot be uncertain."
Thursday is known as the "Sack of Sackville Street" when the GPO and surrounding buildings were pounded by mortars and shells. Private Peter Richardson of the Connaught Rangers was taken prisoner by the insurgents, and he recorded his experience in the GPO that Thursday:
"I have done my bit at Loos with the Irish Brigade but the like of the bombardment we were under at the GPO I never witnessed. On Thursday the whole front was ablaze."
Dorothy Stopford Price who spent the week in the lodge in Phoenix Park wrote:
"The night is very still but there is a tremendous angry red sky, a great blaze on the quays somewhere. A wonderful and awful sight, I have never seen such a blaze. What can it be."
Read my account of Friday April 28 1916 here. By Fridy dublin is a wreck. Everything to the south of the river carries on, while all to the north of the city is an urban wasteland. The Western Fromt has come to Dublin, the capital is an Ypres-on-the-Liffey, and remains so for a decade.
|Commandant Ned Daly|
Read my account of Saturday April 29 1916 here. The weather remains very pleasant. "It is astonishing that, thus early in the Spring, the weather should be so beautiful,” wrote James Stephens.
By noon the rebels attempt to surrender, and by 3 o'clock it is all over. Rebel nurse Elizabeth O'Farrell plays a key role, carrying the flag and relaying between General Lowe and Pearse.
The Four Courts under Ned Daly follow that afternoon.
Pearse is taken to Arbour Hill and Connolly is taken to the prisoner hospital at Dublin Castle.
The captured rebels sleep that night on a small oval green at the bottom of Sackville Street by the Rotunda Hotel.
The 5 other rebel garrisons on the south side are still fighting.
|Nurse Elizabeth O'Farrell|
Read my account of Day 7 of the Rising, Sunday April 30 1916 here. James Stephens wrote:
"The Insurrection has not ceased. There is much rifle fire, but no sound from the machine guns or the eighteen pounders and trench mortars."
Mrs Hamilton Norway wrote:
"The shooting is by no means over, as many of the Sinn Fein strongholds refuse to surrender. Jacob’s biscuit factory is very strongly held."
Cumann na mBan nurse Elizabeth O'Farrell spends much of Saturday helping to finalise the surrender.
All the rebel leaders and rebels were initially strongly against the surrender, and protested vigorously. But with the work of O'Farrell and the Capuchin priests they were convinced that Pearse had indeed surrendered and that it was the best course. The rebel Joe Doolin said:
"Eamonn Ceannt called his men together and he told them of the surrender of the Headquarters unconditionally, the men told him and some of them were scarcely satisfied to surrender but he said: 'I’ll say this, when Thomas Clarke that served fifteen years in British dungeons surrendered I don’t think it is any shame on us to surrender'."
"We are told that the fighting is practically over in town but there is still some sniping etc. in Ballsbridge district this seems to be the most disturbed of all."
"I heard one young Lancashire Tommy say: “The poor beggars! They only obeyed the word of command, and they fought like heroes,” but he was cut short by an English officer."
The rebels were not popular. Martin Walton, a 15 year old rebel, later remembered:
"After the Rising… It was a terrible time. There were still thousands of Irishmen fighting in France and if you said you had been out in Easter Week one of their family was liable to shoot you."
However the British response to the Rising quickly turned the people into the hands of the insurgents. A prominent nationalist businessman said to MP Stephen Gwynn:
"The fools! It was the first rebellion that ever had the country against it, and they turned the people round in a week."
John Redmond said in the Commons in October:
"We have taken a leap back over generations of progress, and have actually had a rebellion, with its inevitable aftermath of brutalities, stupidities and inflamed passions."
Easter Week 1916 was only the beginning of the start, the firing shot. Nineteen year old rebel Joe Sweeney who spent all week in the GPO, explained that the executed rebel leaders saw the Rising as only the First Act in the New Departure:
"We were addressed by Sean MacDermott who [said]… it’s up to you fellas to carry on the struggle afterwards."