Recruiting conference for Irish soldiers in Mansion House in 1916

1916/2016: a miscellany

 

February 11th, 1916 A recruiting conference for Longford, Meath, Westmeath, Louth, King’s County (Offaly) and Queen’s County (Laois) took place at Dublin’s Mansion House and a large crowd attended. The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Sir James Gallagher (Independent), told the gathering he hoped a large number of Irishmen would be induced to give their help to the allies. The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Wimborne, made a strident speech in which he suggested that “every man or woman who withholds a son or an employee from the service of the country is, I daresay, unconsciously contributing to his own, and to the general, peril”.

The crowd was told by Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond that Ireland had since the start of the war raised three divisions and a further 53 battalions (approximately 55,000 men). There were 145,000 Irishmen serving in the infantry alone. The towns of Ireland had “done magnificently” but the agricultural districts were much slower to offer recruits. He said those producing food were as important to the war effort as anyone else. “The great bulk of them could not go, and, indeed it would be right to prevent the great bulk of them from going.”

However, some of them could go but chose not to. No grouping in Ireland had benefited more from the social changes in recent decades than the Irish farmer. Redmond recalled that when he entered public life in the 1880s the Irish farmer was “steeped in misery, poverty and slavery”. Today they were “free, independent and prosperous”. Redmond concluded: “ I venture to say there is not a single part of the British empire that Germany would more greedily seize upon than the fertile fields of Ireland.”

Dublin Metropolitan Police secret files:

Thomas J Clarke visited his shop, 75 Parnell Street, for a few minutes at 11am. Those seen to visit the place during the day included M Foley, E Daly, John T Kelly (Séan T Ó Ceallaigh), John McDermott (Séan MacDiarmada), Rev Eugene Sheehy and Charles S Power. PH Pearse left Kingsbridge by 3pm train for Waterford, RIC informed. About 45 members of the Sinn Féin Volunteers were drilled without rifles at the rear of the hall, 41 Rutland Square, between 8pm and 10pm.

February 11th, 2016

One of the most famous first-hand accounts of the Rising was by James Stephens, the then registrar of the National Gallery of Ireland. Stephens published a day-by-day account of his personal experience of Easter Week 1916 which became a book, The Insurrection in Dublin. The National Gallery is marking the Rising with a series of portraits of individuals mentioned in Stephens’ book including Sarah Purser, George Russell (AE), Thomas Bodkin and Douglas Hyde. Also included is a watercolour by Belgian refugee Edmond Delrenne (pictured) depicting Sackville Street in the aftermath of the Rising.