Clare County Library
Clare History
Home | History | Foto: Clare Photo Collection | OS Maps | Search this Website | Copyright Notice


Clare Champion


Monday Evening May 6 1916 - Part 1


Rebellion Ended.

Unconditional Surrender of Rebel Forces

Three Leaders Courtmartialled and Shot

OTHERS IMPRISONED FOR THREE YEARS

Damage Amounts to £2,000,000

On Saturday morning we were officially informed that the following document has been signed by the leader of the volunteers …

In order to prevent the slaughter of unarmed people and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers, now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, the members of the Provisional Government present at Headquarters have agreed to an unconditional surrender, and the commanders of all units of the Republican Forces will order their followers to lay down their arms.

Signed: P. H. PEARSE.

Dated 29th day of April, 1916

On Saturday night we received the official communication:-

Yesterday, the Sinn Féin leader, Jas Connolly unconditionally surrendered to the General Officer, commander-in-chief in Ireland. The leaders, anxious to avoid further bloodshed, have signed a motion to other leaders and their parties both in Dublin and in the country, calling on them to surrender as their cause in hopeless.

These notices are being circulated by the Royal Irish Constabulary to all stations. A large number of men surrendered last night and this morning and it is expected that others will follow during the course of the day. A flying column will at once proceed to various points? to stimulate the surrender of parties in the country.

Emissaries have come in from the Sinn Féin Party at and about Ashbourne and Swords and from Wexford to verify the fact of the above surrender with a view to their immediate surrender.
– From Inspector General R. I. Constabulary.

NOT YET SUBMITTED

At midnight the following communication was received from the Lord Lieutenant: -

Viceregal Lodge, 30th April, 1916
Official communiqué issued by the Lord Lieutenant yesterday: - Pearse, the rebel leader, surrendered and the great bulk of his supporters in the city and throughout the country have done likewise. Only a few detached bodies have not yet made their submission, and these are being effectively dealt with.

SURROUNDED BEFORE SURRENDER

The following is a copy of an order issued from the Irish Command Headquarters for circulation by the R.I.C.

Sinn Féin Rebels in the area of Capel Street, Great Britain Street and Lower Gardiner Street, are completely surrounded by a cordon of troops, which is gradually closing on the centre. The troops, assisted by artillery, are gradually overcoming the resistance.

P. H. PEARSE INJURED

The order continues – One of the principle [sic] rebel leaders, P. H. Pearse, is known to be inside the cordon suffering from a fractured thigh. The woman known as Countess Markievicsh, has also been seen inside. Another leader, Jas. Connolly, is reported killed. The adjoining area containing the Four Courts is also surrounded by a cordon, which is closing on its centre, and containing therein most of the rebels.

INTERNMENT IN ENGLAND

Concluding, the order states – A division complete with artillery is now operating in the Dublin area, and more troops are constantly arriving. Arrangements are being made to intern in England all Sinn Féiners captured or surrendered who are not dealt with here. Roger Casement has declared that Germany has sent all assistance she is going to send, and that is now at the bottom of the sea. – Inspector General R.I.C., Dublin Castle.

POST OFFICE DESTROYED

Official report Saturday night says: The rebellion in Dublin is on the verge of collapse. Many rebels, including leaders, are surrendering. The Dublin Post Office and other buildings are destroyed by fire. The troops surrounded the rebel strongholds. This remainder of Ireland is generally satisfactory.

STORY OF DETERMINED FIGHTING

The special correspondent of a London Newspaper, telegraphing on Friday morning, stated that firing had been going off and that fires were blazing during the night. On Friday morning the sky was lit up with the reflections of the flames which extended along Sackville Street and down the quays to the Custom House. At 1 a.m. a terrible outburst of machine gun fire was directed against the houses of that location and North Western Railway whence sniping shots were constantly coming. Before that was carried out the houses had been searched and the women and children removed to a church near by. Several persons were captured. The correspondent added he could obtain no information as to the number of lives lost during the rebellion. “Stories have filtered through”, he adds, “to the effect that near the Post Office the ground was littered with the bodies of the rebels who had been killed. There was some determined fighting last night before the military were able to advance up Sackville Street.” Concluding, the correspondent states that the back of the rebellion is broken, but yet it will be long remembered.” “Nothing more dramatic”, he states, “has occurred throughout the war. The rebels are fighting against the inevitable. All their strongholds are being surrounded.” Describing how the fire ate its way through several blocks, he states that the Sinn Feiners faced “by a choice of fire or bullets, most of them choose the latter death as the ‘better of two evils’, though some sniped away as they were asphyxiated.

TWO PRIESTS SHOT

It is stated by London newspapers that two priests were shot while attending to the wounded.

CARSON PARTY TO BLAME

Dealing with the disturbances “The Star” says – “The root of it all is the … which was extended to the lawlessness of the Carson party in Ulster. How can a Government permit one section to import arms from Germany and to equip and organize rebellion without weakening its power to suppress another section. Equality of tolerance is the doctrine which flowed directly from the rise of Carsonism backed as it was by the whole Unionist Party in Great Britain and Ireland. Sauce for the Carson geese became sauce for the Sinn Fein gander.” The article states that the main thing for the English people to grasp is the deep gulf between the Irish Nationalist Party and the Sinn Feiners and concluding it points out that it is Ireland that pays for the disorders.

THROES OF WARFARE

Describing the scenes on Thursday, a correspondent states that every shop was shut down, practically every door was closed, and everywhere and at every hour, there were the constant reports of rifle firing, intermingled with the sharp rat-tat-tat of the machine guns and louder booms of heavy artillery. “For three and a half days” he goes on “Dublin has been held in the throes of warfare. Great buildings have been set on fire, dense smoke hanging like a black pall in the sky. Sniping was, perhaps, the most nerve wracking of the several operations carried on. Every large and tall building in the fighting areas – those surrounding Sackville St. and Brunswick St. – held its snipers, picked [sic]. The opening of a window or the raising of a blind meant a bullet.”
To-day (Thursday) all the openings to the adjoining streets were guarded by troops who escorted the few civilians hardy enough to venture out away from the disturbed areas.
The rebels has in their possession practically the whole of Sackville St. which was heavily barricaded and which includes the fine buildings of the General Post Office and of the Metropole and Imperial Hotels and the large flour mill in the Brunswick St. area upon the opposite side of the river. They were also in possession of their entrenched position in Stephen’s Green. Dead bodies were lying about within their lines testified to the nature of the fighting.

MR BIRRELL’S RECEPTION

Mr Birrell, the Irish Secretary who arrived in Dublin in the early hours of Thursday morning, after a capital passage, was greeted by the sound of the rifle shots of the opposing forces. He stood for some minutes on deck, listening to the report of the rifles, and observing the remarkable scene around him, and then left in a car. Before entering he turned to the small knot of special correspondents behind him, and remarked “Well! Good luck to you.” His good wishes, however, were somewhat discountenanced when he added with a lugubrious smile: “But I’m sure I don’t know what is to become of you”.

TRIBUTE TO BRAVERY

On Friday a systematic search was made by the military of all suspected districts. All men found in houses were arrested and imprisoned in churches, railway stations or warehouses.
“Young Irish men are very volatile” wrote a London correspondent on Fri?” Their range of emotions is great. From the crest of so-called patriotism they drop quickly to the depths of despair. It is the natural reaction. They don’t look or act like martyrs this chilly, grey, Friday morning. They are just pure plain Irish lads, huddled together like so many sheep in the dockyards. There is no Victoria Cross for these fellows. Brave they were, without doubt, but they were the victims of misguided judgement.”

POST OFFICE SUDDENLY SEIZED

At one o clock on the Bank Holiday there was preconcerted movement (writes a newspaper correspondent). The Post Office was filled with people when suddenly the building was occupied by Irish Volunteers, who carried their rifles in their hands. Every soldier in uniform, who happened to be in the post office was seized and held a prisoner. The upper windows were broken, and soon the Sinn Féiners were firing on every soldier who could be seen on the streets. In the meantime the Sinn Féiner’s flag had been run over the Post Office, and the Metropole Hotel, which is next door, was seized. Every tramcar was stopped and turned crossways on the rails. Motor cars were seized, their tyes punctured and then they were piled onto barricades. The object of seizing the Post Office seems to have been that of cutting off all communication with the outside world. For a time it succeeded. At the other end of the city Stephen’s Green other Sein Féiners turned everybody out of their gardens and locked the gates. They then proceeded to dig trenches and start firing at every officer and soldier they saw, most of whom were unarmed. It is said two officers were shot while looking out of the windows of the Shelbourne Hotel. Other parts of the city seized by the Sinn Féiners were the College of Surgeons on Stephens Green, Messrs Jacob’s Biscuits, some large buildings on the south side of the river; isolated houses at strategic points were also seized and loopholed for rifle fire.

THE EARLE [sic] FIGHTING

Another correspondent writing to an English Journal on Friday, states “Almost simultaneously with the seizure of the Post Office … on Monday, what appeared to be an excursion train arrived at Kingsbridge Station and set down a large number of rebels, who forthwith and without opposition proceeded to join forces with the other conspirators in different parts of the city.”

At Stephen’s Green about the same time drivers of tram-cars and motor cars were surprised to find themselves held up by Sinn Féiners wearing green tunics, who proceeded to utilize the vehicles as barricades, while in some instances they commandeered the cushions of the cars to line the trenches which they had dug in the Green. Many bread vans were also captured in this district and their contents carried off to the different points at which the rebels hoped to make a stand. At the City Hall the rebels hoisted the Sinn Féin flag on the pole where formerly the Union Jack had been fluttering in the breeze. Some of the earliest fighting took place at Ballsbridge. There was also a sortie near the Botanic Gardens. On the main road heading from Kingstown to Merrion Street, there was also a good deal of fighting. The rebels seized a schoolroom, and a small hall adjoining and again hoisted the emblem of their party. There was some cross-firing at this particular part.


WOMEN CAUSE TROUBLE

According to a newspaper representative the Post Office, which was seized on Monday, was barricaded from the available books. All the windows inside with bags and papers and all of the building were smashed. Jacob’s well-known biscuit factory was also one of the first places seized, and the trouble there was accentuated by the women taking sides. Their attempts to get refreshments into the men were resisted by their fellow workers, who are loyalists and several free fights between the women are reported. Sackville Street has also been the … of considerable looting. The rebels broke into the shops as soon as they had … themselves and boots were being sold at threepence a pair: Where poor women had no money boots, clothing, etc. were distributed free. “The women in most cases were accompanied by their children, and it was quite a common sight to see the little urchins walking along carrying four or five sticks of “rock” and quantities of other sweets. The flat roofs of the houses afforded excellent scope for the snipers, who could either lie flat or hide behind the chimney stack and fire down on the military below. In some of the tenements holes have been knocked through the walls of the upper rooms so it is possible for the rebels to go from one end of a tenement to the other without exposing themselves.
Liberty Hall the seat and headquarters of the rebels, is now no more.

AMAZING LOOTING SCENES

The looting scenes were amazing said Mr. Walter Clarke, a Norfolk business man. “The rabble - not the rebels proper - made hay in Grafton St. which is the Regent Street of Dublin. Practically every shop was looted. I saw women and girls with their aprons or dresses held up as baskets for jewellery and watches. The younger girls filled their aprons full of sweets. Some threw the sweets about like confetti. I saw an impudent looking ragged urchin come tripping out of a shop with a glossy silk bow over his eyes, and was joined by another imp wearing a wonderful pair of high hunting boots. I heard an expensively made bicycle was put up for Dutch auction at 2s – and found a buyer at one shilling! I saw one looter shot dead: Most of the looting went on at the Stephen’s Green end of Grafton Street and the loss of property must be considerable. Much of the looting seemed to be prompted by wicked wantonness.
In all the danger zones I saw well dressed ladies walking about quite calmly, almost indifferently, as though nothing unusual was happening. It may have been courage, or simply indifference. In one fashionable street a dead horse sprawled across the pavement, and it might have been a lamp-post for the little notice it received.”
Another English traveler describes how gold watches were sold at 2s 6d each, and he states it was a common sight to see women folk trying on the latest thing in hats on the street.

STEPHEN’S GREEN FIGHT

One place where the rebels made a stand was, at Stephen’s Green (writes an eye witness). The erected barricades with tram cars and motor cars just as you have read about in the French rebellion. Their barricades, however, did not accomplish much. The military got on the …, and several good … made short work of the Sinn Féiners. As soon as they found their … were … the latter made their escape. It … Stephen’s Green so far as they are concerned. Nevertheless it was a serious situation so long as it lasted.
A newspaper special correspondent writes- “The Sinn Féiners entrenched themselves on Stephen’s Green and held their ground against the soldiers for some time. The soldiers managed to get a machine gun into the upper rooms of the Shelbourne Hotel. From that point they commanded the Sinn Fein defences and were able to pour in a deadly fire, scooping rebels out like shelling peas from a pod. As soon as the Green was cleared the whole affair became like the Sydney Street battle.” The Sinn Féiners took to the houses and fired from the windows and roofs. Splendid work was done by one of the battalions. There was one company in action which must have included a large number of men who had just joined, went for the Sinn Féiners with the bayonet like veterans and took their punishment like men.

LIMERICK THE PASSWORD

According to a London weekly paper the Sinn Féiners used the word “Limerick” as a signal and password. Women and children were the victims of the shooting. The Sinn Féiners used machine guns in the defence of the Post Office.

BURROWING THE HOUSES

A prominent official of the principal railway in Dublin, who was an eyewitness of many incidents of the rebellion, and who arrived at E… from Kingstown, in the course of an interview, said – “Of course there was the possibilityof starving them out, but the Sinn Féiners had taken that into account. For instance, the men in possession of the Post Office burrowed through the wall, and commandeered all the food they required from the Metrople Hotel. In this manner they worked their way from street to street. They also provided them with a way of escape when driven out of a building.”

PROFESSOR MacNEILL’S WARNING

The “Daily Chronicle” special correspondent writing on Friday stated “It is confidently reported that Professor MacNeill, chief of staff of the Irish Volunteers, has been held as a prisoner since Monday, by the insurgents. It is no… in Dublin that the small active section? among the Sinn Féiners who advocated such measures as have been witnessed in Dublin last week had neither the sympathy nor the co-operation of the leader of the Volunteers. Professor [Mac]Neill indeed had repeatedly warned them of the evil consequences of their policy.
On Saturday, it may be noted every journal in Dublin contained an emphatic notice to the Volunteers from Professor MacNeill announcing that “in view of the present critical position the parade fixed for Easter Monday would not be held.” On the same day, I am informed the Volunteer leader appealed personally to the Archbishop of Armagh to endeavour to have the warning repeated by the priests at each Mass on Sunday. This was accordingly done but to no avail as the tragic events of the following day revealed.

TO DIE AT THEIR POST

“I’m told,” said Mr. M. Flavin M.P. in the course of an interview, “that the Sinn Feiners in possession of Westland Row Station sent for two priests, to whom they made confession, and then received Holy Eucharist, having made up their minds that they were to die at their posts”.

HOES BECOME RIFLES

“One incident,” a correspondent writing on Friday, “illustrates the nature of the opposition which the military have to face. A ruse which the rebels adopt in some of the outlying districts is to get into gardens, and when a body of military pass they appear to be innocent workmen. Passersby a little later, however, find that the hoe has become a rifle. Many soldiers have been shot as a result of this strategy.”


“DESERVED THE V.C.”

A thrilling incident was related to a “Daily Mail” correspondent by Mr. W. A. Reid, West Kinsingson [sic], London, who had just returned from Dublin. He said – “A young Irish girl, not more that sixteen, whose name I wish I could tell you, dashed out of a house and ran like a deer right in the face of the hail of snipers’ bullets. She grasped a wounded soldier under the arms – a stranger to her, for he had just arrived from England – and dragged him to where others were ready to carry him to hospital. Then back the Irish girl ran for another stricken man. Her examples inspired us all. I carried one to the hospital myself. Nurses and doctors from the hospital near by, clergy and civilians, joined in the work of rescue but that young slip of a girl … all the time. Loud were the cries that she deserved the V.C.”.

JOURNALIST’S GRAPHIC STORY

An English Journal contained the following – All night (Sunday) the rebels, calling themselves the “Irish Republic Army”, and under the command of Jas. Connolly, the notorious Syndicalist, who was Jim Larkin’s right hand man, began to pour into the city from all directions. Most of them were decorated with green sashes and seemed to be laboring under tremendous excitement. At a pre-arranged signal exactly at mid-day, a detachment of rebels broke into an empty shop in Dame street, Dublin , which had previously been loaded with rifles and ammunition, and quickly transferred the stores into a commandeered motor car, buildings in the neighbourhood were seized, and the roofs used as points from which soldiers who passed were shot at.

Meanwhile adjacent gun shops had been looted and their contents distributed to followers of Connolly, who were easily to be distinguished by the green uniforms they wore, with bandoliers complete. Those who were not wearing uniforms were provided with haversacks and water bottles, and rifles with fixed bayonets.

The rebels made for Sackville street, where the tallest buildings were seized and quickly thrown into a state of defence, and then three companies strong, the rioters, who were assisted in many cases by frenzied women who fetched and carried their ammunition and helped carried their ammunition and helped to distribute well-filled bandoliers to hundreds of young fellows who came in from the outskirts of the city to join the rebels, made for the Post Office which soon fell into their hands. Here the rebels strongly entrenched themselves, barricading windows with mail bags, and any furniture that came to their hands. While these preparations for withstanding a siege by the military were taking place, the work of cutting off Dublin from telegraphic communication with the outside world was being effectively accomplished. The telegraphic plant was demolished, the instruments brutally smashed, the wires cut and the telephone communications dismantled. Simultaneously with these events, another body of rebels had taken possession of Stephen’s Green, Jacob’s biscuit factory, and most of the buildings commanding the approaches to the center of the city. In particular they converted into a stronghold a public house known as Davy’s which dominates the only approach to the city from Portobello Barracks. From this strategic position they kept up a constant fusillade of fire on a platoon troops who endeavored to dislodge them. A third body of rebels took possession of Harcourt Street, and Westland Row Railway Station and stopped all trains, sentries with fixed bayonets being mounted as guards. The first part of the Rebel plan which was to isolate Dublin had thus been accompolished. All the positions in the hands of the rebels were immediately decorated with the rebel flag, a mixture of green, white and yellow, emblazoned with a harp and in some cases bearing the legend “Irish Republic”. The slot machines and seats on the railway station platform were thrown into the streets to help to form barriers barring the different approaches.
A fourth body of rebels took possession of the Four Courts, which they at once proceeded to convert into a stronghold, using whatever books they found, many of them historic tomes, to form the barricades for the windows and doors. Later in the afternoon, a newspaper office giving on to Dublin Castle was seized and here the rebels concentrated preparatory to an attack on the headquarters of the Irish Executive. The attack when it did come was determinedly pressed home and yielded them possession of the Four Courts, but the military were in sufficient strength to repel them, and promptly the invaders were driven out after a heavy exchange of shots. Communication was kept up between the different positions commanded by the rebels by means of dispatch riders using commandeered motor cars. Chaffeurs were brusquely ordered to deliver messages under penalty of being shot. Liberty Hall, the Sinn Fein headquarters, was used as a directing base. The effects of the rebel activities, so far as they had gone, was to give them possession of practically the heart of the city, with Dublin Castle, as it was forming a salient in their semi-circular line. With Harcourt St. station securely held by armed posses, who turned back anybody who ventured near, with Jacob’s factory also in their hands, and College Green and Dame Street occupied by strong bodies of sympathizers. St. Stephen’s Green which the Sinn Feiners regarded as a most important strategic point had a formidable cordon of posts to protect it. The rebels entrenched themselves in the magnificent square in approved military fashion, barbed wire entanglements being erected across the road and the clubs which looked on the square converted into observation stations and snipers’ posts. At each end of the Green there were guards, who summoned the drivers of every vehicle to halt. One driver who refused to leave his van was shot without much ado. As each vehicle was seized it was overturned. Grafton Street, approaching the Square was barricaded by a strong barricade and rows of commandeered motor cars were drawn across the road thereby completely shutting off access to the Green from the direction of the Castle. On a corner building the rebels mounted a machine gun, which they turned onto the Shelbourne Hotel, from which the soldiers sheltering there vigorously returned their fire. Prior to this the manager of the hotel had been informed by the Sinn Feiners that anyone in uniform who entered or left the building would be promptly shot dead. Very interesting is the story that is told of the way the rebels announced their presence at St. Stephen’s Green. The park-keeper, a man used to being obeyed told them in forcible tones that they could not come in, whereupon they threatened him with their rifles, but still he refused. Eventually a parley took place, and it was agreed that he should be permitted to get the women and children out of the beautiful park first. Until the last woman and child had left the gates were kept closed on the rebels. Then they filed in, began to dig their trenches, set up their earthworks, and loophole them. During the night a barricade was erected along Sackville Street and the completing touch given to the spectacle of Dublin as a city on the state of an acute siege. Near the offices of the “Evening Mail”, which, because of its strategic importance, they had seized, the Sinn Feiners came in collision with some soldiers and police, shots were exchanged and two victims fell to the rebels’ bullets. This incident was typical of many which occurred during the … resulting in three more soldiers being killed. Cavalry parading down O’Connell Street were met with a fusillade of shots that caused a number of casualties. Near O’Connell Bridge the attitude of the rebels was frenzied that troops charged them with their bayonets and in the resulting hand to hand encounter many of the rebels were seen to fall. At this point with the dead and the dying and … of the wounded, there was little to distinguish it from a battlefield ... The rebels kept themselves supplied with food by helping themselves to the stock at Jacobs factory, and by … [remainder of article illegible]

Back
The 1916 Rising in the Clare Newspapers