1916 Rising: Dublin 4 and 6 street maps

Our series on what was happening on the streets of Dublin during Easter Week 1916 explores the inner southern suburbs, scenes of a heavy battle and brutal killing

The Easter Rising began on Easter Monday – April 24th – 1916. The rebel leader Pádraig Pearse agreed to an unconditional surrender on Saturday, April 29th. This extract from Joseph EA Connell's book Dublin Rising 1916 explores the city, street by street. Here he looks at some of the key locations in Dublin 4 and Dublin 6.


In 1916 Dublin 4 was the scene of the bloodiest battle of the 1916 Rising, in the Northumberland Road area.

1: Merrion Road, Ballsbridge: Pembroke/Ballsbridge town hall, Ballsbridge Following his garrison's surrender, Éamon de Valera was taken into captivity and held in the weights and measures department of Ballsbridge town hall, on Merrion Road. This was on the opposite side of the city to the main body of arrested Volunteers, who were detained at Kilmainham Gaol or Richmond Barracks, in Inchicore. He remained in Ballsbridge during the first of the executions and was transferred to Richmond Barracks only on May 8th.

2: 1-5 Northumberland Road: St Stephen's Schoolhouse and Parochial Hall Patrick Doyle, Joe Clarke, William Christian and James McGrath held off the soldiers of the Sherwood Foresters from here as long as they could, then fled to Percy Place, where they were captured. St Stephen's parish school – now the Schoolhouse pub and restaurant – was across the road. Denis O'Donoghue, Robert Cooper, James H Doyle and James (Séamus) Kavanaugh occupied the school building until their position became untenable. They were withdrawn early in the week and occupied Roberts Builders' Yard, providing covering fire for those in Clanwilliam House, across the canal.


3: 25 Northumberland Road This building on the corner of Haddington Road gave a clear line of fire to the main gate of Beggars Bush Barracks. The Volunteers first opened fire on the First Dublin Battalion Associated Volunteer Corps, who were returning from manoeuvres in the Dublin hills. They were a part-time, volunteer, veteran corps, a "home defence force" composed of old rugby-club members, former British Army soldiers, and business and professional men. They were carrying rifles but no ammunition. Sub-Comdt FH Browning, who was killed, led this group. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he was one of the best cricketers Ireland ever produced. Seven of this group were wounded, and Browning and four others were killed outright. Once it was realised that the group was, in effect, unarmed, the insurgents ceased firing, and the incident was regretted when the full facts were understood. Moreover, when it became known in the city that a group of elderly and defenceless men had been shot down, public reaction against the Volunteers was very hostile. That evening Pearse was forced to give an order prohibiting firing on anyone not carrying weapons, whether or not they were in uniform.

4: Shelbourne Road: Beggars Bush Barracks Part of the task of de Valera's Third Battalion was to dominate the barracks, but they made no attempt to do so. The British had few troops there, and it could have been taken. On Tuesday a sentry at the barracks came to Capt Gerrard and reported that he had just shot two young girls. When asked why, the sentry replied, "I thought they were rebels. I was told they were dressed in all classes of attire." The barracks was not a regular military establishment, and only two regular British officers were present on Monday. Their sole defence consisted of 16 service rifles (which the men did not know how to use) and little ammunition. They held the barracks until the Sherwood Foresters arrived.


Early in the 20th century, Rathmines, and particularly Belgrave Road, became known for all the republicans living there. Count and Countess Plunkett, Alderman Thomas Kelly, Robert and Una Brennan, Nora Connolly O’Brien, Count and Countess Markievicz, Agnes O’Farrelly and Kathleen Lynn were among those living in the area.

5: 11 Grosvenor Place, Rathmines (now No 21): Home of Francis and Hanna Sheehy Skeffington and their son, OwenFrancis was the first lay registrar of University College Dublin; he resigned after a dispute in which he favoured allowing academic status to women. He was 37 when he was murdered during the Rising; he is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery. When Hanna Sheehy and her fellow student Francis Skeffington were married, on June 27th, 1903, they combined their surnames, and she gave her husband the credit for awakening her commitment to women's issues. They had one son, Owen. Hanna and Frank were friendly with James Connolly; they supported the labour movement during the 1913 Lockout but took no active part in the 1916 Rising. See below for details of his death.

6: 49B Leinster Road, Rathmines: Surrey House, home of Countess Constance Gore-Booth Markievicz She moved into the house in 1912. James Connolly and his family lived here between 1913 and 1916. Before the Rising it was a great meeting and gathering place for nationalists. The Spark and the Workers' Republic were printed here. The house became a de facto headquarters for the Fianna. The older members gathered here, and a small firing range was set up in the basement. These members became known as the Surrey House clique.

7: Rathmines Road: Portobello Barracks (now Cathal Brugha Barracks) In 1916 the Third Reserve Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles was stationed here. Capt JC Bowen-Colthurst murdered Francis Sheehy Skeffington here, along with JJ Coade, a young man, aged about 19, returning from a sodality meeting, and two magazine editors, Patrick MacIntyre and Thomas Dickson.

Sheehy Skeffington was one of Dublin’s most noted pacifists and eccentrics. He often took up a station in front of the Custom House and began expounding on any topic of the day that displeased him. Connolly and Pearse thought him a man of high principle, although he argued with their wishes for a physical-force rebellion.

After seeing some of the looting on Sackville Street – now O’Connell Street – on the first day of the Rising, he wished to establish a committee to halt such action. Sheehy Skeffington’s intent was to establish a “citizens’ police force” to prevent looting.

On Tuesday evening Sheehy Skeffington was returning to his home near Portobello Bridge. As he neared Portobello Barracks he was stopped, arrested and detained. When Capt Bowen-Colthurst returned at midnight he took charge of Sheehy Skeffington, intending to use him as a hostage. Bowen-Colthurst then headed up Rathmines Road, several times firing his pistol into the air.

At Rathmines Church he found two boys who had just left a sodality meeting and ordered them to stop. To avoid trouble, JJ Coade turned away. Bowen-Colthurst ordered a soldier to bash his head with a rifle, and as Coade fell to the ground Bowen-Colthurst shot him dead. After killing Coade, Bowen-Colthurst led his small patrol to a pub owned by Alderman James Kelly. They wrecked it.

In the pub Bowen-Colthurst also arrested Dickson and MacIntyre, the two newspaper editors, who had nothing to do with the Rising.

Then the men returned to Portobello Barracks, where Bowen-Colthurst told Sheehy Skeffington to say his prayers. When Sheehy Skeffington refused Bowen-Colthurst told his men to remove their hats, and he prayed for them all.

At his trial Bowen-Colthurst testified that he spent the night looking over documents he had seized from the men and came to the conclusion that they were all “very suspicious and dangerous characters”. He told the officer in charge of the guardroom that he was “taking the prisoners out into the yard and shooting them, as it is the right thing to do”. They were subsequently executed.

Later Bowen-Colthurst attempted a cover-up and ordered the ransacking of Sheehy Skeffington’s home, looking for evidence to implicate him. Bowen-Colthurst was eventually arrested and court-martialled, and found guilty but insane.

8: 21 Oakley Road, Ranelagh: Cullenswood House. Pádraig Pearse's Scoil Éanna, St Enda's School This was the first site of St Enda's, founded by Pádraig Pearse and Thomas MacDonagh and opened on September 8th, 1908. It was originally conceived as St Lorcan's School but took the name St Enda's from the patron saint of Pearse's beloved Aran Islands. When St Enda's moved to a site on Grange Road in Rathfarnham (the Hermitage), in 1910, this site became St Ita's. Mrs Pearse reopened St Enda's here after the Rising. The Hermitage was occupied by British troops; it then moved back to the Grange Road site. Cullenswood House currently houses Gaelscoil Lios na nÓg, an Irish-language primary school that was founded in 1996.

This is an edited extract from Dublin Rising 1916, published by Wordwell