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Clare Champion

Saturday 29 April 1916


An insurrection broke out in Dublin on Monday last. Rumour follows rumour of desperate doings in the Irish Capital, but little information of an authentic nature has come through, except an official statement from the Lord Lieutenant, stating that Liberty Hall has been shelled; that 10,000 troops have been brought from England, and that the situation is well in hand.

On Tuesday the “Irish Times” published the following Proclamation:-


Whereas an attempt, instigated and designed by the foreign enemies of our King and Country to incite rebellion in Ireland, and thus endanger the safety of the United Kingdom, has been made by a reckless, though small, body of men, who have been guilty of insurrectionary acts in the City of Dublin.
Now, we, Ivor Churchill, Baron Wimborne, Lord Lieutenant General and Governor General of Ireland, do hereby warn all His Majesty’s subjects that the sternest measures are being and will be taken for the prompt suppression of the existing disturbances and the restoration of order.
And we do hereby enjoin all loyal and law-abiding citizens to abstain from any acts or conduct which might interfere with the action of the Executive Government, and, in particular, we warn all citizens of the danger of unnecessarily frequenting the streets or public places, or of assembling in crowds.

Given under Our Seal on the 24th day of April, 1916,


The “Irish Times” also added the following significant par. :- “Yesterday morning an insurrectionary rising took place in the City of Dublin. The authorities have taken active and energetic measures to cope with the situation. These measures are proceeding favourably.”

The usual crop of wild and extravagant rumours went their course, but no authentic information came through, until the following official statement was issued by the Lord Lieutenant from the Vice Regal Lodge at 2.40 on Wednesday:-

“Royal Naval Reserve gunboat in Liffey shelled, and the troops subsequently occupied, Liberty Hall, the head quarters of the Sinn Fein forces. Meanwhile large reinforcements have arrived in Dublin, including a detachment of 10,000 troops from England, with artillery, engineering and medical corps. In other portions of the city the situation is well in hand. Repairs to lines are now being rapidly effected.”

The following official communiqué was issued by the G.O.C. in Dublin on Wednesday:-

“Reports from the provinces indicate that normal conditions prevail. Situation in Dublin has improved, and adequate forces are at the disposal of the military authorities to cope with the situation.”

In its report of the Royal Dublin Society Spring show on Tuesday the “Irish Times” says:- “A large number of exhibits arrived in the city yesterday, but owing to the seizure of the railway premises by the Sinn Fein and Larkanite Volunteers it was not possible to forward many of them to the Show grounds.”

Mr T. Browne, of Ennis, who happened to be in Dublin on Monday and Tuesday, in the course of an interview with our representative, said he saw the Sinn Feiners take possession of the General Post Office. They went into the P.O. and took forcible possession. The staff had to leave the premises. They next broke the windows of the office, and stuffed them with mail bags, placing a number of men with loaded rifles at each of them; over the post office the Republican Flag floated, and surrounding it was a barbed wire entanglement. The volunteers next entered the Metropole Hotel, out of which they took the beds, and carried them to the G.P.O.
Highly sensational rumours about the seriousness of the situation in Dublin were current on Wednesday, but were not confirmed. One rumour had it that the revolutionaries had taken not only the G.P.O. but the Castle, and were in possession of machine guns. Another was to the effect that the dead military and civilians lay in heaps on the streets.
Beyond the official communication and Mr Browne’s information, no reliable news has, however, come through.
The situation in Clare is perfectly quiet and normal.
In Ennis the situation in Dublin has been discussed with feverish interest.
A review of the Irish Volunteers, announced to be held in Gort on Monday, was abandoned at the last moment. Extra police were drafted into Gort, but were subsequently transferred to the coast around Ballindereen, where, rumour had it, an attempt would be made to land arms. Evidently there was no foundation for the rumour.
It was also rumoured that isolated police huts in Galway were raided, but inquiries failed to elicit any confirmation of it.
It is, however, evident that the railway line between Ennis and Galway, probably near Craughwell, has been damaged. Railway services with Galway had been interrupted on Thursday. It was also said that telegraph posts and wires were cut.
An Irish Volunteer Organiser named Fahey was arrested at Craughwell on Tuesday, and conveyed through Ennis to Limerick by motor. He was handed over to the military authorities. On Wednesday night Thomas Coen, Ardrahan, was arrested and escorted, via Ennis, to Limerick.
Though the situation in the provinces, on the whole, appears to be normal, it is understood that a proclamation proclaiming martial law all over the country is about to be issued.
Wednesday’s “Daily Sketch,” which arrived in Ennis on Thursday, published an official statement by Mr Birrell. It says:-

“Before the House of Commons sat in secret on yesterday Mr Birrell, the Irish Chief Secretary, revealed the disquieting fact that armed rebellion had broken out in Ireland.
Answering Captain Craig, Mr Birrell said:

“At noon on Monday grave disturbances broke out in Dublin.
The Post Office was forcibly taken possession of, and twelve lives have been lost.
The rebels are in possession of four or five different parts of the city.
Soldiers have arrived from the Curragh, and the situation is now well in hand. Telegraphic communication has been cut off.”

In the course of a very remarkable article on the capture of Sir Rodger [Roger] Casement the “Sketch” says:- “That he (Casement) is a traitor to Ireland there is little need to prove. The response of that country to her leader’s call to arms, and the deeds of her regiments in the field, meant that Ireland was heart and soul for the war.
We knew that there was a disloyal minority – but so there was in Wales, England and Scotland. Ireland as a Notion [Nation] stood for the Alliance in word and deed.
There are a few pro-Germans in Ireland and probably disturbances were arranged to coincide with the ‘invasion’. It will be regrettable if these now come off, but nobody in or out of Ireland will overate their significance. We, too, have our traitors and their only difference between theirs and ours is that ours have not the Irish pluck.”

In its news columns the “Sketch” says:-
“Sir Rodger Casement, whose arrest in connection with the abortive attempt to land arms in Ireland from a German vessel, was brought to London on Sunday morning. He was met at Euston by officers from Scotland Yard, and is now detained in military custody. It is understood that evidence as to his proceedings in Germany since the outbreak of the war will be produced at his trial.”

The “Sketch” further says:- “Sir Rodger Casement published an extraordinary pamphlet for private circulation in New York, the preface of which was written in 1911. It was circulated by the German Foreign Office, and contained the following –
‘The day the first German comrade lands in Ireland, the day the first German warship is seen proudly breasting the waters of the Irish Sea, with the Flag of Ireland at the fore, that day many Irishmen must die in the sure peace of God that Ireland may live.’”

Mr Asquith stated in Parliament on Wednesday that troops have arrived from Belfast and England in Dublin. Martial law has been proclaimed in Dublin city and county. Drastic action to suppress the movement and to secure the arrest of all concerned is being taken. Outside Dublin the country is tranquil. Only three minor cases of disturbances have been reported.
Steps are being taken to acquaint neutral countries of the real significance of this most recent German campaign.
It is not the case that the rebels have machine guns. I have just received a telegram saying that the situation in Dublin is satisfactory.
Liberty Hall and St Stephens Green have been occupied.
The Lord Lieutenant is in Ireland, had been there all the time, and rendered great assistance.
The rebel associations are going to be proclaimed illegal.
News from Ireland as to the condition? has been censored, for the moment.
It is untrue that the Vice Regal Lodge has been taken.
Eleven insurgents were killed in the occupation of Stephen's Green.
Provincial news is reassuring.
Inspector-General of the Royal Irish Constabulary reports that at Drogheda the Nationalist Volunteers turned out under arms to assist the Government.
Many local persons have offered assistance.
Mr Birrell said: I am going to Ireland so I can make arrangements.
It is difficult to say whether any route to Ireland is open or closed.
A wireless from Rome states that the Pope strongly disapproves of the recent disturbances in Dublin and has ordered a telegram to be sent to the Archbishop, asking for particulars. His Holiness recommends the people to remain quiet.

What an Ennis Man witnessed

Mr P. O’Halloran, Church St., Ennis, who was in Dublin for the Easter holidays, and returned to Ennis after some difficulty on Wednesday, has related his experience to our representative. “While out walking on Sunday night,” he said, “there was a sort of electrical feeling in the air, as if something was expected,” but there was nothing to indicate anything to him. Next day, when returning from Failyhouse Races, at 4.30 the railway bridge at Cloncilla was injured, just after the train passed and large numbers were obliged to walk into Dublin. As he came from Broadstone, he met women and children with bundles of boots, and later saw that Tylers and Mansfields shops had been looted. He saw the General Post Office in the possession of the Volunteers, the windows of which were barricaded with mail bags, chairs and tables. Over it floated two flags, one green, white and yellow and the other green and gold. There were armed men on the roof, while others paraded outside. There were proclamations posted up by the Volunteers, proclaiming Ireland a Republic, and informing the D.M.P. and R.I.C. that their services were not required, that the city was in the hands of the Volunteers.
There were no trams, and the police seemed to have been withdrawn – there were none about the streets. At 9 o’clock he witnessed systematic looting of shops in O’Connell Street by women and little boys. They always turned on the electric lights. The volunteers guarded all the Banks with the object of preventing raiding. There were sentries posted on the roof of Wynne’s Hotel where he stayed. The Volunteer tried to put down looting and fired shots at the looters to deter them. During the night he heard continuous firing for about an hour in the Capel Street direction between opposing forces. At seven o’clock on Tuesday morning he heard reports of two very loud explosions. He saw Abbey Street being barricaded with motors, bikes and bicycles taken from a sho? and with bales of paper taken from the “Times” offices. Trinity College was held by the military, and officers with glasses were on the roof.
So far as he saw, the Volunteers did not interfere with any member of the public. They were well armed and disciplined and he never looked at a more determined lot of men. Every man seemed bent on doing the work he had taken on hands regardless of the consequences.
With other friends he left Dublin on Tuesday. They walked some five miles to Finglas and met parties of Volunteers coming in from the country to the city. Motoring to Mullingar, they got a train to Athlone. There they were informed that all communication was cut off with Athenry. They heard Ennis was burned, Limerick was in the hands of the Volunteers, that 15,000 from Galway were marching on Athlone, and other wild and extravagant rumours. Motoring again from Athlone to Loughrea, they drove from Loughrea to Ennis and found things normal as they went along but had received instructions to avoid Craughwell.

Clare Champion

In the maze of rumours little or no light has been thrown on present happenings in Dublin. The disturbances which the Chief Secretary describes as grave, broke out at noon on Monday when the Post Office was taken and twelve lives lost. On Wednesday, Liberty Hall was shelled from a gunboat in the Liffey, and possession of it was afterwards taken by military. Troops have been sent to the capital from England, Belfast and the Curragh. In Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Asquith stated that the rebels had not machine guns and that eleven of them had been killed in the occupation of Stephen’s Green. In Drogheda, the National Volunteers turned out under arms to assist the Government. The Premier assured Parliament that outside Dublin the country was tranquil, only three minor cases of disturbance being reported. In Clare, there is perfect quiet and the situation is discussed in the light of the effect which it will have on Home Rule. A wireless from Rome says that His Holiness the Pope recommends the people to remain quiet. The “New York World” and the “New York Press” lay the blame for the revolt on Germany. The “Tribune” attributes the outbreak to the policy of wait and see and the fatal policy of suffering Ulster to arm and train men. Neither in Parliament nor in the English Press does there, up to the present, appears to be any desire to over-estimate the significance of the affair. The “Sketch” says that the response of Ireland to her leaders call to arms, and the deeds of her regiments in the field, means that Ireland was heart and soul for that war. “We knew,” it goes on “that there was a disloyal minority but so there was in Wales, England and Scotland. Ireland as a nation stood for the alliance in word and deed.” To Mr Redmond’s followers, the moment is full of keen anxiety, and one and all wait for some statement from the sorely-tried Irish leader whose superhuman endeavours succeeded in placing the Irish case in a position of unassailable power. What effect the Sinn Fein revolt will have on the Irish question, or the granting of Home Rule, time alone can tell. We do not think that the Government itself can be held to be blameless. The arming in the North, and the illegal threats of rebellion was undoubtedly the origin of the trouble. If the Ulster Volunteers had been suppressed when they preached sedition, we have little doubt that Dublin would be peaceable to-day. It is late now, however, to discuss those matters, and one can only hope and pray that the worst has come and gone, and that prudence and patience may save our unhappy country from a fate which one likes not to contemplate.

The 1916 Rising in the Clare Newspapers