Key sites of the Easter Rising

Key sites of the Easter Rising. Image copyright Ireland Calling

The Easter Rising was one of the key events in Irish history. Below is a brief overview of some of the key sites of the conflict.

Four Courts

The Irish Volunteers led by Ned Daly seized the building without complication but fighting was not as intense or frequent as at other sites during the Rising. The building was eventually surrounded by British forces as they took back control of the city and Pádraic Pearse ordered the rebels to surrender.

Sackville Street

Now known as O’Connell Street. This was a central site of the Easter Rising due to its location between the River Liffey, where the British ship HMS Helga was docked, and the General Post Office which the lead group of Irish rebels had seized and were using as their headquarters. Much of the street was destroyed by British gunfire as they tried to force the rebels from the GPO. Many of the shops were also destroyed by looters taking advantage of the chaos.

Jacob’s Biscuit Factory

The building was taken by a troop of Irish Volunteers led by Thomas McDonagh. The Irish Times reported at the time that the building was not taken for its strategic location but for its plentiful supply of food which was intended to be delivered to other rebel strongholds.

The Royal Barracks

Now known as Collins Barracks, it was the British Army base for the 10th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who were called in to take back control of the city. Many of the soldiers were Irish themselves and were fighting against their own countrymen and even their own family. One soldier killed in the Rising was named Lieutenant Gerald Neilan from Roscommon. His younger brother Anthony was fighting for the Irish Volunteers.

Boland’s Mill

A troop of roughly 100 Irish rebels led by Eamon de Valera took control of the mill. It was an important strategical site for the rebels because it was next to the railway line and enabled them to prevent the British Army transporting more soldiers into the city by train. The British shelled the building numerous times, but the rebels remained there until news came through of the surrender.

Clanwilliam House

A rebel stronghold that faced Mount Street Bridge, one of the key routes for British soldiers into the city. From the house, the rebels were able to open fire on the British troops who had no cover. More than 200 British soldiers were killed or injured from this position following a tactically poor decision to engage in a direct assault on Clanwilliam House.

Dublin Castle

The site of the first fatality of the Rising. A group of Irish Citizen Army soldiers killed the lone policeman standing guard at the castle on 25th April 1916. They didn’t enter the castle but instead withdrew to the neighbouring City Hall. Dublin Castle was used as a military hospital by the British Army during the rest of the Rising.

Trinity College

One of the British Army’s key strongholds during the Rising. They placed machine guns and snipers at Trinity and spent three days firing at the rebels in the General Post Office, according to reports from the time.

St Stephen’s Green

The only selected rebel base that was not inside a building. Michael Mallin led roughly 200 members of the Irish Citizen Army, many female, in taking the green. They removed civilians and barricaded each entrance to the green. However, their openness was ruthlessly exposed by the British Army who stationed machine gunners at the Shelbourne Hotel overlooking the green.

Wynn’s Hotel, Abbey Street

The location at which both the Irish Volunteers and Cumann na mBan were founded. During the Rising, the hotel caught fire and was destroyed. It re-opened ten years later and now displays two brass plaques in its lounge as recognition of the two organisations.

North King Street

The site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Rising. The British stormed the street in an attempt to surround the Four Courts but their progress was painfully slow, moving forward literally one house at a time. Over the course of 28 hours, in an area that covered approximately 150 yards, fourteen British soldiers were killed as well as 15 civilians.

Moore Street

The final stronghold of the Irish rebels during the Rising. After being forced from the GPO, the rebels planned to move to the Four Courts. However they came under heavy fire and sought refuge in the houses on Moore Street. Several rebels were killed including one of the founding figures of the Irish Volunteers, Michael O’Rahilly. Many civilians were also fatally wounded after being caught in the crossfire. It was from here that Pádraic Pearse made the decision to surrender before any more lives were lost.

Liberty Hall

The initial meeting point for the Irish Volunteers before they began their march on the GPO. Liberty Hall had long been a site of Irish republicanism. During World War One it hung a banner stating: “We serve neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland.” James Connolly’s newspaper The Irish Worker was printed there, and it also served as an ammunition depot and meeting place in the weeks leading up to the Rising.

General Post Office

Also known commonly by the abbreviation GPO, it was the centre location of the Rising. The Irish Volunteers seized the building and Pádraic Pearse read out the Proclamation of Independence. The British flag was lowered and replaced by the Irish Republic flag and also the Tricolour. The GPO served as the rebel stronghold and headquarters for almost the entirety of the Rising.

Father Matthew Hall

Used as an emergency hospital by the rebels during the Rising. Sir Thomas Myles, an esteemed surgeon at the British occupied Richmond Hospital, convinced Ned Daly of the necessity to use the hall as a first aid centre. Although Myles didn’t approve of the violence used by the rebels, he remained throughout the week to tend to the wounded until a safe transfer to Richmond was negotiated.

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