1916 Easter Rising

James Connolly card
On Easter Monday, 24 April, 1916, a small group of Irish republicans seized key locations in Dublin and mounted an armed rebellion against British rule in Ireland. In total, 485 people died during the six day insurrection – mostly civilians. 107 British soldiers were killed and there were 58 rebel fatalities.
The rebellion ended in surrender. 16 rebels were executed. Thousands more were imprisoned.
When the Rising broke out, it was unpopular with most Irish people who were critical of the rebels. In its aftermath, the public were outraged at the treatment and execution of the rebels and by that summer, they had acquired cult hero status.
And with it, the seeds were sown for further rebellion.

"I remember the Troubles in 1916. I was 12 years old then. I was in O’Connell Street when all the shooting was going on; all the people were looting from the shops. I was in the Fianna Eireann boy scouts. I was drafted into the Army from the Fianna.”


“During the Easter Rising of 1916, me and a girl named Anne O’Toole were caught up in the Rising for about two hours.  We were dragged into the GPO for our own protection.

We saw James Connolly and the poor O’Rahilly – he was a beautiful man. O’Rahilly was shot in Moore Lane trying to escape from the GPO.  British soldiers were said to have taken his ring and watch.  After the Rising his wife offered some money for his ring and watch to be returned, but I don’t know if she ever got them back.


I saw Irish Volunteers being rounded up in the Rotunda Hospital.  There was a British officer with this long drooping moustache.  I used to call him ‘Pig-tails’ because of his long moustache.  He was in charge of rounding up the Volunteers of the Irish Republican Army.”


“I remember in 1916 when I was eight years old.

The British troops were all around here and there was looting going on around the town. Mablett’s on the far side of O’Connell Street, was a sweet shop, so I came in, looting I was.  I picked up a box and ran out.  When I got home I opened the box and….there was nothing in it!”


My uncle, was in the IRA.  He was one of ‘The Boys’.  When he was on the run from the British, he used to hide in a house facing Jack Rafter’s pawn office in Gardiner Street.

The woman who owned the house used to hide the boys when they were on the run.  The boys had to be careful whose house they went to.

There was this woman who lived in Cumberland Street.  They were tenement houses at the time.  Some of the IRA were on the run from the British.  There was four of them.  They made their way down Sean MacDermott Street into this house in Cumberland Street.  This woman took them in and they gave her money to hide them.

Well, didn’t she go out and inform on them.   They were taken out by the British Army.

A couple of days after that, some of the boys went in and broke up the house.  She and her family had to leave the country.”


“I remember when Maud Gonne MacBride used to come down to the Gloucester Diamond.

She used to go into Mrs. Corbally’s house in the Diamond.  A tall woman, she wore this big black cape on her.

Memoires I have of Maud Gonne Mac Bride include the time she came down to the Corballys and brought me, Mrs. Corbally and some others to a party in her house out in Roebuck.  We had a great time.  When the party over, we went out to the back garden with her son, Sean MacBride, to pick ‘goose gobs’ – gooseberries.

Another time, Maud Gonne took me and Kathleen Byrne on a ship called the Royal Iris.  It was the last sailing of the ship, from the Custom House, on a Sunday.  It sailed around Dublin Bay.

Maud Gonne was a good woman. Her husband, Major John MacBride was executed in 1916 as one of the leaders of the Easter Rising.

Sean MacBride went on to become Irish Foreign Minister and the 1974 Nobel Peace Prize winner.”


I remember Maud Gonne MacBride used to hold her meetings outside the Pro Cathedral Church in Marlborough Street. I would be selling my newspapers outside the church when I would see her coming down the street in her car.

When it would stop I would run over to the car, open the door: and hand her a paper called Weekly Honesty and another called The Nation.”


Maud Gonne McBride

WB Yeats described Maud Gonne MacBride has having “beauty like a tightened bow, a kind/that is not natural in an age like this”.
She would spend her life fighting for Irish Independence.

“I remember Countess Markievicz, the great Irish patriot, used to come down to Gardiner Street.

She used to bring us to Irish dancing.  She would say to me: ‘Sarah, keep up the Irish dancing’.”


Countess Constance Markievicz

Countess Markievicz played an active part in the 1916 Easter Rising.
She was the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament in 1918.
In keeping with Sinn Fein policy, she refused to take her seat. She was the only woman to serve in the first Dáil. She was Minister for Labour from 1919 – 1922.

“My husband’s father was in the Irish Citizen Army and his mother was in Cumann na mBan.

Her companions were Maud Gonne MacBride, Mrs Despard and Mrs Barrett. James Connolly’s sister, Veronica, was my husband’s godmother. When Maud Gonne came down to my mother-in-law, she would bring fresh bread and vegetables in a big basket. My mother-in-law would keep her the fresh eggs from the chickens she kept in the Diamond.

The Old Cart

On a Sunday morning, my father-in-law would push out the old cart for Maud Gonne to stand on as she used to hold public meetings at the corner of Gloucester Diamond where she would be giving her speeches until the police moved her on.”


James Connolly

James Connolly was a central figure in the 1913 Dublin Lockout and he was one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising. He was executed by firing squad after the Rising.
Because of his wounds, he was unable to stand so he was tied to a chair and shot.

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