A blow-by-blow guide to the Easter Rising

The 1916 Rising was an armed rebellion against British rule in Ireland that began on Easter Monday and lasted a week.


The run-up to the Rising May 1912
A Home Rule Bill is passed, allowing Ireland to partly govern itself. But King George V delays making it law, after protests in Britain and Ulster.

September 1913
The Ulster Volunteer Force is formed, to resist Home Rule.

November 1913
Eoin MacNeill forms the Irish Volunteers to defend Home Rule. James Connolly founds the Irish Citizen Army

April 1914
Ulster Volunteers import 35,000 German rifles for a revolt if Home Rule is passed.

July 1914
Irish Volunteers do likewise, importing 900 old German rifles off the Asgard at Howth in support of Home Rule.

August 1914
The first World War begins, as the British Empire declares war on Germany. Home Rule is suspended a month later. The Irish Republican Brotherhood secretly infiltrates the Irish Volunteers for a future Rising. The Volunteers land 600 rifles at Kilcoole, Co Wicklow.

May 1915
In May, an Irish Republican Brotherhood Military Committee, led by Thomas Clarke and Sean MacDiarmada begins to plan a rebellion. They recruit Padraig Pearse as a figurehead. Joseph Plunkett also joins. Later, James Connolly, Eamonn Kent and Thomas McDonagh bring the leaders to seven.

August 1915
Padraig Pearse tells a huge crowd at the funeral of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa that “Ireland unfree shall never be at peace”.

September 1915
The Irish Volunteers split, and 170,000 form the National Volunteers under John Redmond, who urges them to join British army

Good Friday, 1916
The British navy captures the Aud, a German cargo ship carrying 20,000 rifles, machine guns and ammunition destined for the rebels. Sir Roger Casement is arrested and later hanged for treason.

Easter Saturday, April 22nd, 1916
Eoin MacNeill learns of plans for the next day’s Rising. Knowing it’s doomed without the German guns, he orders Volunteers to stay at home. Most do.

Easter Sunday, April 23rd, 1916
Clarke and Connolly insist the Rising goes ahead the next day, Easter Monday.

The Rising, DAY 1 Easter Monday, April 24th, 1916

11.00: About 1,250 members of the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army assemble across Dublin.

11.30-12.30: Rebels occupy Jacob’s factory, the Four Courts, St Stephen’s Green, the South Dublin Union (now St James’s Hospital), and Jameson Distillery. Volunteers also occupy the Mendicity Institute, and Boland’s Mills and Bakery, plus 25 Northumberland Road and Clanwilliam House

12.00: Volunteers seize weapons from the Magazine Fort in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

12.20: Rebels march into the GPO, and establish the headquarters of the Rising. The tricolour is flown from the roof.

12.45: Pearse reads out a proclamation declaring Ireland a Republic on behalf of the ‘Provisional Government’. It is met with general bemusement. Thousands of Dubliners have relatives fighting for the British in Europe, and most oppose the Rising. Some actually stone the rebels.

13.22: With many British soldiers at the Irish Grand National in Fairyhouse, Dublin Castle lies almost empty, but the rebels there hesitate, occupying City Hall instead.

13.38: British lancers are ambushed at the Four Courts. The British cavalry charges down Sackville Street – now O’Connell Street – towards the GPO but are repulsed.

16.45: The elderly, unarmed Veteran Defence Force march into a rebel ambush on Northumberland Road.

The Rising, DAY 2: Tuesday, April 25th, 1916

05.30: British troops at the Shelbourne Hotel and nearby machine-gun rebels at Stephen’s Green, who fall back to the Royal College of Surgeons.

11.20: Irish Volunteers repulse British infantry from the South Dublin Union. Terrified patients, including the mentally ill, are caught in the crossfire. Wounded 25 times, Volunteer Cathal Brugha fights on, helped by future taoiseach WT Cosgrave.

19.50: Dublin Fusiliers, Irishmen fighting in the British Army, capture the Mail & Express building on Cork Hill, but 23 die on nearby Parliament Street in an ambush. Rebels there retreat across the Liffey

20.00: A British gunboat sails into Grand Canal Dock and fires at Boland’s Mills and Bakery.

21.40: Rebels occupy the Imperial and Metropole Hotels near the GPO, plus parts of Henry Street. Martial law declared by British.

The Rising, DAY 3: Wednesday, April 26th, 1916

06.20: British reinforcements arrive at Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire)

09.00: Food supplies in Dublin run low. A British gunboat, the Helga, shells rebels at Liberty Hall. It is later captured by the British

09.36: British troops in the Gresham Hotel fire on the GPO. Street turning to rubble under artillery fire.

12.40: Rebels at 25 Northumberland Road, the Schoolhouse and Clanwilliam House ambush Sherwood Foresters. All told, fewer than 20 rebels claim 234 British casualties around Mount Street Bridge

13.45: Dublin Fusiliers capture the Mendicity Institute and lay siege to the Four Courts.

The Rising, DAY 4: Thursday, April 27th, 1916

11.35: British continue to pound Sackville Street with artillery, capture Capel Street Bridge and attack Four Courts and South Dublin Union.

20.25: Rebel leader James Connolly is wounded on Middle Abbey Street, and is treated in the GPO by a captured British Army doctor. Hoytes Oil Works explodes, burning down several buildings.

22.30: Rebels on O’Connell Bridge and Henry Street retreat into the GPO.

The Rising, DAY 5: Friday, April 28th, 1916

07.55: Burnt-out cars, trams, dead horses, and human corpses litter Dublin’s streets.

Continuous artillery barrage on Sackville Street.

11.18: Rebels continue to hold out in Boland’s Bakery, the College of Surgeons, Jacob’s, the South Dublin Union and the Four Courts.

The GPO and Sackville Street are in flames.

18.15: Part of the GPO roof collapses. Rebels later evacuate the Metropole Hotel and GPO and set up headquarters on Moore Street, under intense onslaught.

Capt Michael Collins and 15-year-old Capt Michael McLoughlin lead rebels to fire at the British near the Rotunda.

The Rising, DAY 6: Saturday, April 29th, 1916

12.00: Rebel HQ in Moore Street sends out a white flag to British barricade.

14.30: Padraig Pearse signs unconditional surrender to British Brigadier General Lowe.

19.00: Cmdt Daly at Four Courts reluctantly surrenders, as per Pearse’s orders.

19.45: Rebels march to Sackville Street to surrender. The Rising, Day 7: Sunday, April 30th, 1916

10.00: Cmdt De Valera receives Pearse’s surrender order at Boland’s Mills and eventually surrenders, as do rebels on Stephen’s Green and Jacob’s.

15.40: Rebels at the South Dublin Union reluctantly lay down weapons.

16.30: Rebels captured near the GPO and Four Courts are marched to Inchicore, and jeered at by Dubliners.

18.03: Vice-Cmdt O’Connor at Boland’s Bakery surrenders.

The Rising is over
1,350 people lie dead or wounded. A total of 3,430 men and 79 women are arrested by the British.

May 3rd-12th, 1916
Fifteen of the Rising’s leaders are executed at Kilmainham Gaol. Public opinion begins to soften towards the rebels.

The years afterwards
Sinn Féin win an election landslide. First World War ends.
1919: The First Dáil proclaims a republic. The Irish Republican Army, organised by Minister for Finance and IRB president Michael Collins, begins the Irish War of Independence (or Anglo-Irish War). Collins becomes the most wanted man in Europe. In June, De Valera leaves for 18-month trip to America.
1920: The British parliament passes Government of Ireland Act, creating a six-county Northern Ireland.
1921: Ceasefire in War of Independence. De Valera sends Collins to sign Anglo-Irish Treaty, but then refuses to ratify it, proposing Document No 2 instead. Sinn Féin splits.
1922: As the Irish Free State takes shape, the Irish Civil War begins, as the anti-Treaty IRA occupy the Four Courts. They surrender in Dublin after a week of fighting.
Michael Collins, now commander-in-chief of the Irish Army and chairman of the Provisional Government, is assassinated in Beal na Blath, Co Cork, that August.
1923: The Irish Free State, now led by WT Cosgrave, wins the Civil War.
1926: De Valera forms Fianna Fáil. They take the Oath of Allegiance to the King, enter the Dáil in 1927 and take power in 1932.

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