Eyewitness account of the Easter Rising published for the first time

Arthur Matheson gives a day-by-day account of events witnessed from Dublin 2

Dublin, May 3rd, 1916: Arthur Matheson wrote his letter from 20 Fitzwilliam Square, the family home. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Dublin, May 3rd, 1916: Arthur Matheson wrote his letter from 20 Fitzwilliam Square, the family home. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

 

A day-by-day eyewitness account of the Easter Rising is being made public for the first time.

The account is written by Arthur Matheson of the well-known Dublin legal family who went on to become the first parliamentary draftsman of the new Irish State.

He commences writing to his sister Vera in London on Friday, April 28th, the penultimate day of the Rising and completes it on Tuesday, May 2nd. He gives a day-by-day account of the Rising, some of which he witnessed; other events were witnessed by his father. He jokes with his sister that “your Zeppelin raids are nothing beside our experience”.

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Matheson

Matheson recalls how his father saw Constance Markievicz “marching about in male clothes and was seen shooting at some officers in khaki who were peacefully walking about the streets and also a number of civilians both men and women”.

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The letter was supplied to publisher David Knight by Marie Carroll, a relative of Arthur Matheson. It had been in the possession of Charles Matheson, Arthur’s younger brother.

Ms Carroll said: “I wanted it to make it public because of the centenary. I dug it out and reread it. It is a fascinating take on the Rising from someone who was there.”

Extracts from Matheson’s letter are included in Willow Publishing’s book Easter Rising 1916, available in Eason and at www.willowireland.com