Monday, May 9, 2011

Photo of the Day

I happened to find myself last week on the 5th floor of a city center building where I managed to snap this photograph. If I were looking at this exact view 95 yeas ago this week what I would have seen would be a ferocious firefight between the Irish Citizen Army (James Connolly's militant trade unionists who participated in the 1916 Rising) and the British Army. On the morning the Rising began, the ICA occupied City Hall, the building on the right of the picture with the green dome. They did not make a serious attempt to take Dublin Castle, the large building in the center. The rebels assumed the castle would be heavily guarded and since they were short of numbers due to the Risings last minute cancellation by Eoin MacNeil (it's a very long story) it was decided against attempting to seize Dublin Castle, the building which the British had administered Ireland from for 700 years. Unknown to the rebels however was the fact that on Easter morning 1916 there were only approximately ten armed men in the castle. Once the castle was reinforced by soldiers from the Royal Barracks (now Collins barracks) an intense battle began between the two positions which were close enough to each other to hurl grenades at. However with superior weaponry, particularly machine guns the British managed to clear city hall of rebels after about 36 hours of fighting. It was the first building occupied by the rebels to be taken by the British.


thesystemworks said...

I heard the reason why there were so few guards at Dublin Castle was because they were mostly at the Fairyhouse racecourse for some important competition, and the men in Dublin Castle were mostly sick. History can be so frustrating to study at times!

Ted Leddy said...


I have heard that about fairyhouse too. I have also heard that many of the rebels who did not show up (thinking that the rising was cancelled) were also at the horseracing. As word filtered around that there was fighting in Dublin both rebels and soldiers made their way back to the city. There is definitely a great movie scene in that somewhere if ever the 1916 Rising makes it to the big screen. One can imagine the scene as punters mingle with each other by the parade ring and the chaos that follows as some rebel overhears the soldiers recieving their orders to report back to their barracks before they all scramble (likely along the same route) back to Dublin.

If the rebels had enough men they could have taken Dublin castle but on Easter Monday morning only about 800 showed up, (although that number would rise to about 3000 by the Wednesday) not enough to take the castle or Trinty college. Militarily, they never had a chance.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the illustrated history lessons.

Ted Leddy said...


You are very welcome.