Easter Rising: The witnesses to history

Shane Hegarty and Fintan O’Toole have based these Easter 1916 articles on testimonies gathered in the 1940s and 1950s by the Bureau of Military History. These are profiles of the main witnesses they quote from:

View of the crowd gathered outside the ruins of the GPO in  April 1916. Photograph: Getty Images

View of the crowd gathered outside the ruins of the GPO in April 1916. Photograph: Getty Images

 
  • AUGUSTINE BIRRELL: Chief secretary for Ireland. A well-known essayist and British cabinet minister, he had been transferred to Ireland in 1907.
  • EAMON BULFIN Attended Patrick Pearse’s school, St Enda’s, and joined the Irish Volunteers and Irish Republican Brotherhood. Stationed at the GPO during the Rising.
  • ÁINE CEANNT Wife of Eamonn Ceannt, one of the Rising’s leaders.
  • LIAM T COSGRAVE Joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and was present at the landing of the Howth rifles. Served under Eamonn Ceannt at the South Dublin Union during the Rising.
  • Capt E GERRARD Educated at Clongowes Wood College, in Co Kildare; served in the Dardanelles before being stationed at Athlone in 1916. On leave in Dublin during the Rising, he was stationed at Beggar’s Bush Barracks. ERNEST JORDISON Managing director of British Petroleum in Ireland.
  • ARTHUR HAMILTON NORWAY Secretary of the GPO in Ireland; his office became the rebel HQ during the Rising. His wife, Mary Louisa, wrote several letters during the week.
  • ROBERT HOLLAND From Inchicore in Dublin, he attended his first Fianna Éireann meeting aged 12, and got his first gun when the Howth rifles landed.
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