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Tuesday 21 March 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# A thousand words
The story of the chip shop, a Hollywood actor and Pearse's 1916 surrender
The Kingfisher sadly burnt down last week, and the site has an interesting history

kingfisher Catherine Healy / The Kingfisher restaurant on Dublin's Parnell Street Catherine Healy / /

LAST WEEK A somewhat iconic part of Dublin’s northside burnt to the ground.

The Kingfisher restaurant and takeaway on Parnell Street was noted for its potent smell of fish and chips and had been on the site since the 1970s.

Located next door to Sinn Féin’s HQ, it turns out that the site has some further political significance.

The footpath to the front of the restaurant is the spot where this photograph was taken.


This picture is one of the defining scenes of the Rising and shows 1916 leader Commandant-General Patrick Pearse surrendering to Brigadier General William Lowe and his son, 18-year-old Officer John Lowe.

Author Michael B Barry – whose book ‘Courage Boys, We Are Winning’ looks at an illustrated history of the period - explained to that the picture would have been shot outside where the Kingfisher is today, looking up Parnell Street towards the top of O’Connell Street.

The image depicts a low point for the revolting forces, with Pease offering up unconditional surrender.

Speaking to, Barry explains that it was only coincident that the picture was taken in the first place.

“It just so happened that there was an amateur photographer from the British Army on hand to capture the scene,” he said.

Moore also explained that the first surrender – where Pearse handed over his sword to General Lowe – most likely happened a short distance away, near to the top of Moore Street.


Also present in the picture (although it isn’t obvious at first glance) is Nurse Elizabeth O’Farrell.

A midwife at Holles Street Hospital and a fervent Republican, she stayed in the GPO throughout the Rising and braved crossing over onto enemy lines to give message of the surrender.

When the picture first appeared on the front of the front of the British tabloid the Daily Sketch in May 1916, all that was left of the Cumann na mBan member was a pair of shoes.

nurse elizabeth o'farrell Brian Merriman Nurse Elizabeth O'Farrell Brian Merriman

The role of Nurse O’Farrell was examined in the play ‘Eirbrushed’ that ran in the New Theatre in 2014.

According to Barry, her exclusion was likely the result of an editorial decision, rather than a calculated move to remove any evidence of female participation.

“In the news business it’s not uncommon to focus on the dramatic. It has been said that it was to do with painting women out the role they played, but really it could have been a simpler thing,” he said.

Patrick Pearse, the nurse, the General, and… the Hollywood actor

So what does a Hollywood actor have to do with this you might be wondering?

Well, the soldier stood to the left happens to also be the man in this picture.

Jealousy_lobby_card_1945 Wikicommons John Loder Wikicommons

John Lowe, who went on to be known was John Loder, moved to the United States after serving in the British Army both in Ireland and during the First World War.

He began to win roles during the 1920s at the dawning of the talkie-era, and continued to act up into seventies, making his last on-screen appearance in The Firechasers in 1971.

Read: Never mind the cordon: Christ Church reverses decision to close on Easter Sunday

Also: Fascinating statistics compare modern-day Ireland to the country in 1916

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