1916 Rising: Dublin 1 street map
The first in a series of street guides to the capital looks at what was happening in Dublin 1 during Easter week, 1916
The Irish Transport & General Workers’ Union building (Liberty Hall) after storming by English troops. Photograph: Ann Ronan Pictures/Getty
‘Whenever I walked Sackville Street [O’Connell Street] or any of Dublin’s streets, I wondered just what secrets were held within the buildings, rooms and halls that lined them,” writes Joseph EA Connell jnr in his new book, Dublin Rising 1916.
“In those buildings I found the ghosts of men and women who lived in the years of rebellion,” he writes.Connell has attempted to “unlock the places that are in plain sight yet remain secret to many passers-by”.
118 Beresford Place (at Eden Quay): Liberty Hall On April 16th, 1919 Molly O’Reilly raised the “Irish Republic” flag, with the harp but without the crown, over the Hall.“All Beresford Square was packed, Butt Bridge and Tara Street were as a sea of upturned faces. All the North Side of the Quays up to O’Connell Street was thronged, and O’Connell Bridge itself was impassable.”
On April 23red, the Proclamation of the Irish Republic was printed in the Liberty Hall print shop. The printers were able to obtain only about half the type needed for the job, so the Proclamation was printed in two parts. The first three paragraphs were set, and then the type was broken down and “reused” to set the final three paragraphs.
On April 26th, Liberty Hall was fired upon by the HMY Helga (24 rounds).
Standing 195ft high, the present-day Liberty Hall rises 16 storeys. Construction began in 1961 and finished in 1965. It is the headquarters of the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (Siptu).
2 Sackville Street Lower: The General Post Office Opened in 1818, the General Post Office (GPO) was 200ft long and 150ft wide, with a height of 50ft in three storeys. Pádraig Pearse read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in front of the GPO at 12.45pm on Monday, April 24th, 1916 (some reports erroneously cite 12.04pm).
The Irish Times reported that “his audience became progressively bored . . . On a rumour that [Clery’s was going to be breached for looting] his audience moved over to the shop windows, and left the speaker finishing his peroration with no one to listen to him but his guard.”
3 55 Abbey Street Middle: The Irish Catholic newspaper office Owned by William Martin Murphy, the newspaper was violently opposed to the ICA and the Volunteers, as was Murphy’s Irish Independent. In early May 1916, it wrote of the Rising and the leaders:
“Pearse was a man of ill-balanced mind, if not actually insane, and the idea of selecting him as chief magistrate of the Irish Republic is quite enough to create serious doubts as to the sanity of those who approved of it . . . Only the other day when the so-called Republic of Ireland was proclaimed . . . no better President could be proposed . . . than a crazy and insolent schoolmaster.”
4 111 Abbey Street Middle: Independent House The newspaper offices of the Irish Independent, owned by William Martin Murphy, were situated here and at 3-4 Liffey Street.
It was in the Sunday Independent that Eoin MacNeill placed his notice “cancelling” the Rising on Easter Saturday night. MacNeill gave the notice to the night editor, at midnight.
The Irish Independent called for the execution of the leaders of the Rising and was especially hard on Connolly. The following appeared in its editorial on May 10th:
“If these men are treated with too great leniency they will take it as an indication of weakness on the part of the government and the consequences may not be satisfactory. They may be more truculent than ever, and it is therefore necessary that society should be protected against their activity.”
5 20 Sackville Street Lower: Clery’s Department Store The history of Clery’s dates back to May 1853, when McSwiney, Delany and Co opened the “Palatial Mart” or “New Mart”. Housed in a purpose-built building, the department store was designed to eclipse European outlets of the time. The shop was renamed 30 years later, when it was taken over by Michael J Clery of Limerick. From 1883 to the present day, “Clery and Co” has hung over the doors.
Clery’s was completely destroyed during the Rising. “I had the extraordinary experience of seeing the plate-glass windows of Clery’s run molten into the channel from the terrific heat,” Oscar Traynor wrote.
6 Abbey Street Lower. Reserve printing offices of The Irish Times During the Rising, George Plunkett led Volunteers who took newsprint rolls from the offices for barricades. These greatly contributed to the fires that broke out on the Thursday afternoon.
On the Tuesday morning of Easter Week, The Irish Times described the Rising: “This newspaper has never been published in stranger circumstances than those that obtain today, an attempt to overthrow the government of Ireland.”
On May 1st, in its first edition after the Rising, The Irish Times opined: “The State has struck, but its work is not yet finished. The surgeon’s knife has been put to the corruption in the body of Ireland and its course must not be stayed until the whole malignant growth has been removed. Sedition must be rooted out of Ireland once for all.”
7 Amiens Street Railway Station The terminus for the Drogheda and Dublin Railway, also known as the Great Northern Railway, was built between 1844 and 1846. The Volunteers did not take it and it remained an open terminus for British troops coming from the north. It was renamed Connolly Station in 1966.
8 14-20 Jervis Street: Jervis Street Hospital Forty-five fatalities and 550 casualties were treated here during the Rising. The site of the hospital is now the Jervis Shopping Centre.
9 16 Moore Street On Saturday morning it was decided that, in the interests of safety, the leadership should move to this house, away from a possible attack. They settled in a back room on the first floor. This was to be the final headquarters of the GPO garrison and the last meeting place of five of the signatories to the Proclamation.
Pádraig and Willie Pearse, Tom Clarke, Joseph Plunkett and Seán MacDermott gathered at James Connolly’s bedside to determine the course of negotiation. (Connolly, with some other wounded, had been taken to 16 Moore Street earlier in the morning.) Discussions were then held as to a plan. Seán McLoughlin, who was familiar with British posts, was asked to outline the position as he saw it. He made a case for escape towards Henry Street and on to the Four Courts. Before it was put into effect, McLoughlin was questioned at length by Pearse as to the likely loss of civilian life in the planned retreat to the Four Courts, as this would involve passing through populous districts. This is believed to have greatly influenced Pearse in his decision to end the fight. Pearse eventually approached British forces to declare the surrender.
In January 2007, Nos 14, 15, 16 and 17 Moore Street became the subjects of a Preservation Order under the National Monuments Act.
10 Great Britain Street (now Parnell Street): The Rotunda Hospital On the Saturday night after the Rising, the defeated Volunteers from the GPO were marched to the Rotunda. In the early hours of Sunday morning Capt Lea Wilson took charge. Of Seán MacDermott, who because of polio walked with a limp and only with the aid of a cane, he said: “So you’ve got cripples in your army!” Wilson stripped Thomas Clarke and made him stand naked on the Rotunda steps in view of the nurses: “That old bastard is commander in chief. He keeps a tobacco shop across the street. Nice general for your fucking army.”
Michael Collins had Wilson killed in Gorey, Co Wexford, on June 15th, 1920.
nNext week: Dublin 2 during the Easter Rising