1916/2016 A miscellany

A diary for March 24th, 1916, and March 24th, 2016

Molly O’Reilly’s daughter Constance with a doll of her mother wearing the Irish Citizen Army uniform.

Molly O’Reilly’s daughter Constance with a doll of her mother wearing the Irish Citizen Army uniform.


March 24th, 1916

The munitions industry was a lucrative one in 1916 as the British ramped up production in advance of the Battle of the Somme.

Millions of pounds were at stake for government contracts, and an Irish delegation went to the minister for munitions, David Lloyd George, to secure some contracts.

“The object of the delegation was to persuade the Government to give Ireland a fair proportion of the vast expenditure on the war,” The Irish Times reported.

Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond introduced the delegation to Lloyd George. As a result contracts worth £126,000 went to Ireland.

They also pressed Lloyd George to fully equip the National Shell Factory on Parkgate Street, Dublin, so it could employ 1,400 people making munitions full-time.

Nine young men were remanded in custody in connection with an alleged attempt to murder four RIC officers at a Sinn Féin room in Tullamore.

The incident, which was one of the first clashes between Irish Volunteers and the British authorities, happened after an angry crowd who had just seen men from the Leinster Regiment off at the train station surrounded a premises in the town where the Volunteers were gathered.

A Volunteer fired shots to disperse the crowd, alerting the RIC who demanded entry and went searching for arms. A full-scale fight broke out between about 15 Volunteers and 21 police in which shots were fired and the Volunteers defended themselves with hurley sticks.

When they appeared in court, an application for bail was refused and the prisoners were removed to the prison by an underground passage, all the exits from the courthouse having been guarded by armed constables.


A new doll has been launched to remember a teenager who raised the flag over Liberty Hall before the Easter Rising.

Molly is named after Molly O’Reilly, who was 15 when she marched with the Irish Citizen Army to the GPO on Easter Monday.

After launching the doll, who wears the Irish Citizen Army uniform, Treasured Dolls in Tallaght was contacted by some of Molly O’Reilly’s surviving relatives. Molly O’Reilly’s daughter Constance, named after the Countess Markievicz, was presented with a doll named after her mother, as was Molly O’Reilly’s great-granddaughter, Caitlyn Corcoran. A new play about Sir Roger Casement has premiered in Lisbon. Casement tells the story of his involvement with the Putumayo Indians in the Amazon.

Casement is a well-known figure in Portugal because of the country’s colonial ties with Brazil. The play is co-authored by Christabelle Peters and Bartholomew Ryan, an Irish man living in Lisbon.

It focuses on Casement’s role as a humanitarian and his experiences in the Congo and in the Amazon. It is a two-act monologue with just the character of Casement (who is played by Ryan) in the Hotel Braganza in the centre of Lisbon, where he stayed in between voyages to the Amazon.

Historians Joe Mooney and Hugo McGuinness from the East Wall History Group and the North Dock People’s Voice Project will tell stories of Dublin’s docklands from 1916 through an exhibition of photographs at the Gibson Hotel for four weeks.

On display will be a note signed by James Connolly for Christina Caffrey, a member of the Irish Citizen Army, in March 1916. It has never been exhibited before.

McGuinness said it was important to tell the stories of ordinary people who did extraordinary things for “their country, stories and individuals that often get overlooked when history is written”.