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

Saturday April 29 1916







Before the House of Commons sat in secret on Tuesday Mr Birrell, the Irish 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.

This week has witnessed history-making with a vengeance. The few among us with memories stretching back to the momentous days of ’67 felt quite wafted back over the intervening years; while all were reminded of the period which had come to be regarded as almost prehistoric, when the only means of communication with the metropolis was the old postchaise. Since Monday no mails or Dublin papers reached Ennis from Dublin, and only one train left the city for the country, yesterday at 6.40 a.m., and one this morning brought via Rosslare copies of the “Sketch,” which was eagerly devoured by readers full of the extraordinary stories which have been current since Monday. Official communiques, which have been permitted to appear by the authorities, now disclose the sensational news that since Monday Dublin has been in a state of armed insurrection, while reports from the West of Ireland show that in a few places there has been disturbances. The official message from the Vice Regal Lodge yesterday had the eminently satisfactory announcement that the situation was “well in hand.” This would point to a speedy termination of the extraordinary conflict which has broken out with such remarkable suddenness, and the return to reason and sanity of the misguided tools and dupes of a dangerous Pro-German element, which had sought to disrupt our country in the present great crisis. With the Dublin General Post Office admittedly in the hands of the Sinn Feiners who had fled to arms there has been a complete sundering of all telegraphic and postal communication, and at the local office, by order of the authorities, no messages of any description, no matter how pressing, can be accepted by the staff. On the railways no bookings have been made for Dublin by either the Junction, Nenagh, or Athenry, and to-day no train was permitted to leave Ennis for Athenry. This is due to the tactics which have been adopted on the Gort-Athenry section, where on Tuesday a number of telegraph-poles along the line were cut down and the wires tangled up. As a result of this there was a complete failure of the electric staff apparatus, and the morning train was held up for some hours, while the train due in Ennis at 11.55 did not reach until close on halfpast 3 in the afternoon. A special left here this morning, with an Inspector of the Company, to make an examination of the line.

Some travellers from Dublin yesterday morning brought nerve-racking stories of the scenes in Dublin, but in the absence of official authorization we are naturally precluded from giving any of the details so available, but if true, they indicate an appalling condition had prevailed before the authorities had controlled the situation, as the tone of the official messages would seem to imply. No intelligence that the situation is otherwise than normal has reached us from any part of Clare, and matters are particularly calm in the Ennis district.

On Tuesday a man named Fahy was arrested in the Gort-Ardrahan district, and it is stated that in his motor-car were found arms and ammunition, and documents understood to be of a treasonable nature. He was brought to Ennis in the motor, under police escort, in the small hours of Wednesday morning, and sent on to Limerick to be handed over to the military authorities.

Last night, a young man of the small farmer, or labouring class, whose name it was stated was Cole, was brought to Ennis in custody from the Kilcolgan locality, where it is reported there was some disturbance, and he was sent handcuffed, in custody to Limerick, by the 8.40 train this morning. Military, it is stated, have taken charge of the Shannon Bridge, as a precaution against possible attempts to injure it. During last night a number of police arrived in Ennis by motor, and other vehicles, and it is believed that some of these are destined for districts towards the Galway side, where disturbances are said to have occurred.


The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland announces that during the night the Royal Naval Reserve gunboat on the Liffey shelled, and the troops subsequently occupied, Liberty Hall, the headquarters 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.



A Royal Proclamation was published yesterday which substitutes trial by courtmartial for offences hithertho triable by civil courts.





The official communique issued by the Lord Lieutenancy, from the Vice Regal Lodge on Thursday says-

For the last forty-eight hours satisfactory progress has been made. The enemy activity is confined to sniping from houses in certain restricted areas. Additional reinforcements have arrived from England, and are on hand for disposal as required. Dublin, Wednesday

Liberty Hall, the Sinn Fein headquarters, has been shelled by a gunboat in the Liffey, and the building occupied by troops. Large reinforcements, including 10,000 troops from England, with artillery, engineering, and medical corps, have landed in Dublin, and occupied the city. Repairs to the railway line are being rapidly effected, and the situation is well in hand. The Garrison Commander at Queenstown states that reports from the provinces indicate that normal conditions prevail. The situation in Dublin has improved, and adequate forces are at the disposal of the military authorities to cope with the situation.


The latest available news of the Sinn Fein rebellion in Ireland is contained in the statements made in Parliament yesterday by the Prime Minister and the Irish Secretary. Mr Asquith’s statement is noteworthy as containing the first official intimation that the hand of Germany is responsible for the deplorable outbreak.

Mr Asquith – 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 disturbance 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 they situation in Dublin is satisfactory. Liberty Hall and St Stephen’s Green have been occupied. The Lord Lieutenant is in Ireland, has been there all the time, and rendered great assistance. The rebel associations are going to be proclaimed illegal. News from Ireland is censored, for the moment. It is not true that the vice Regal Lodge has been taken. Eleven insurgents were killed in the occupation of St Stephen’s Green. Provincial news is reassuring. The 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.



The following is taken from an English newspaper published on Thursday morning :-
“Situation satisfactory. St Stephen’s Green captured. Eleven insurgents killed. Provincial news reassuring. Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary reports that at Drogheda the National Volunteers turned out to assist the military. Many private persons have offered assistance.”
Such was the message which Mr Asquith, in the House of Commons the same afternoon, stated he had just received from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Previous to the Prime Minister’s statement the following questions were answered by Mr Birrell, the Chief Secretary for Ireland :-
Colonel Sharman Crawford asked which routes to Ireland were open.
Mr Birrell said that owing to the necessity of the military situation it was difficult to say what routes were open. They had no information at Euston that morning whether the Irish mail had left. The Stranraer, Larne, Fleetwood, Belfast boats were taken off at present.
Colonel Crawford expressed anxiety to return to his battalion in Ireland.
Mr Birrell – If anyone is anxious to adopt this course, and if he will communicate with me, I might be able to take him over with me.
Sir F Banbury asked whether they were to understand that the Chief Secretary was going to Ireland that night.
Mr Birrell – I am going to Dublin if I can make arrangements.
Mr Butcher asked if any further statements could be made on the position.
Mr Asquith said that troops had arrived from Belfast and from England. The place called Liberty Hall had already been occupied by soldiers, and so had Stephen’s Green. Martial law had been proclaimed in Dublin city and county. Drastic action was being taken to secure the arrest of all concerned in the movement. Outside Dublin the country was tranquil. Only three minor cases of disturbances had been reported. Steps had been taken to make our friends abroad aware of the real significance of this most recent German campaign (cheers).


Sir E Carson asked whether news from Ireland was censored.
Colonel Sharman Crawford asked what steps had been taken in the county of Dublin to suppress this rebel…… [illegible]
Mr Asquith said …… [illegible] were to be proclaimed.
Mr Ashley asked whether English journalists would accompany the American journalists who were going over that night.
Mr Birrell – I think so.
Sir Henry Dalziel – Is it true that the rebels have a considerable number of machine guns, and have the Intelligence Departments any idea of how many?
Mr. Asquith – So far as I know that is not the case.
Mr Asquith added that there was no reason to believe that the banks in Ireland were not safe.
Sir. A. Markham asked why the news was censored?
Mr Birrell said they were anxious that news should not reach neutral countries which would be calculated to give a false impression of the importance of what had taken place – important as that was.
Mr Birrell said it was not true that the Viceregal Lodge was occupied.
Mr Asquith then read the telegram received from the Lord Lieutenant.
In the House of Commons on Tuesday, referring to Dublin, Mr Birrell stated telegraphic communication was difficult. He was unable to give further particulars.
Sir Edward Carson asked if any arrest had been made?
Mr Birrell said it was impossible to give any names.
Sir John Lonsdale – Were any lives lost?
Mr Birrell – Yes, sir; as far as I can say, twelve.
In reply to a further question whether at seven o’clock on Monday night Dublin was still in the hands of the rebels, Mr Birrell said that they were in possession of four or five parts of the city. He added that he had been in telegraphic communication that day but it was difficult to maintain communication.



New York, Wednesday

The newspapers all comment on the disturbances in Ireland.
The “New York World” remarks that the Irish revolt was made in Germany and is not likely to get far. The net result will be to strengthen Sir Edward Carson. Many thousand of Irishmen are fighting not merely for Great Britain, but for France, Belgium, and democracy generally, and their deeds are already high on the roll of honour, Casement’s treason is treason to them.
The “New York Press” says – The German war machine plotters must have been mad to think that such a puny miserable affair as the whole thing was could achieve anything except to make a laughing-stock of their victims and arouse Ireland more than ever to send her men to shed their blood for the cause which is the cause of all civilisation, and to which no people have been more devoted than the men of Ireland. What fools the military intriguers in Berlin have always been from the first day to the last.
The “Tribune” considers that if Dublin was taken by surprise and without warning, it would seem that the chief difficulties must have begun before the war, and were attributable to the policy of “Wait and See,” and the folly of suffering Ulster to arm and train men – Central News.

The 1916 Rising in the Clare Newspapers