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Monday 25 September 2023 Dublin: 18°C
Library of the Royal Irish Academy
1916 Liveblog Day 4: Dublin burns and 32 civilians killed in a bloody, bitter day for the Rising
Moment by moment, is following what happened during the 1916 Rising one hundred years ago.

IT IS THE fourth day of the Easter Rising and the remaining rebels are under constant attack.

The GPO and Four Courts are being blitzed with machine gun and rifle fire, and large parts of Sackville Street (O’Connell Street) are up in flames.

To mark the centenary of 1916, is documenting the events of the Rising as they happened. Each day this week, you can follow what happened during one of the defining events of Ireland’s history, from the moment the rebels started assembling outside Liberty Hall on Easter Monday, to the surrender on Moore Street the following Saturday. You can catch up here on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and you can see all our sources here.

As ever, we want to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, tweet us @thejournal_ie, send a mail to or send a telegram to The Journal, Golden Lane, Dublin 8.

Good morning everyone and thanks for sticking with us as we cover what’s happening around Dublin and parts of the country. It’s Catherine Devine here on liveblog duty.

Here is what’s happened since our last post yesterday.

GPO ruins National Library of Ireland National Library of Ireland

  • British troops stormed the house on Northumberland Road where a gun battle had been raging for hours and found that it had been held by only two rebels.

  • An armoured car tried to advance on the GPO but was stopped as the driver was shot.

  • Volunteers in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, took control of the town hall in the early hours of the morning and have surrounded the RIC barracks, cutting off its gas and water supply.

  • Liberty Hall was stormed by infantry after being blown to pieces.

  • A number of British troops were shot dead trying to cross Mount Street Bridge.

  • More fighting took place around the Four Courts. Rebels set fire to buildings in an attempt to hamper the military advance.

  • British troops eventually succeeded in crossing Mount Street Bridge and set fire to Clanwilliam House.

  • During the night there was constant sniper fire across the city.

British soldiers have opened fire on the Jameson distillery on Marrowbone Lane, where a small number of rebels are still holding out.

The rebels are significantly outgunned by the British, who have machine guns and other modern weapons. The rebels are relying on homemade bombs made from tin canisters and hand-held weapons.

Ireland & Independence - The Easter Rising - 1916 PA British troops manning a roadblock PA

We have more information about the two rebels who were based in the house on Northumberland Road, where a large number of British soldiers have been killed and injured. The two men managed to prevent hundreds of soldiers from reaching Dublin city centre.

Lieutenant Michael Malone was a sharpshooter, and a carpenter by trade. His brother, Sgt William Malone, was killed serving with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in Ypres last year. Michael Malone was killed by rifle fire as the soldiers entered the house.

Michael Malone National Library of Ireland Michael Malone National Library of Ireland

Seamus Grace is a Dubliner who moved to America in 1913 and joined the Canadian army in 1914 where he served for more than a year. He has been a member of the Irish Volunteers since he returned home in 1915.  He managed to escape through the basement before being captured by British forces.

The house had been donated to the rebels by a sympathiser.

Two young Volunteers had also been in the house with Malone and Grace, but Malone sent them home on Wednesday morning for their own safety.

One of the brigade officers from the British Army has been talking about the shock among the troops after the heavy losses at Northumberland Road.

Northumberland Road National Library of Ireland National Library of Ireland

The soldiers all came from the Nottingham and Derby Regiments of the British Army and were nicknamed ‘the Sherwood Foresters’.

The brigade officer said:

They all knew each other and each other’s parents and relations, and to see their lifelong pals shot down beside them by their own countrymen, as Irish men are considered, was a shock.

Food is being distributed to civilians from warehouses. The food shortage is now critical as all shops, businesses and banks have been closed since the Rising began on Monday. The large numbers of British soldiers in the city have taken a lot of the available food.

Many of the civilians who have been wounded or killed have been shot in their attempts to either find food or flee the fighting.

It’s official: The Rising has spread to Enniscorthy in Wexford. The Volunteers had initially abided by Eoin McNeill’s order on Sunday to call off proceedings but anxious to help their comrades in Dublin, they decided to take action on their own overnight.

Rebels Enniscorthy National Library of Ireland Seven of the rebels in Enniscorthy. National Library of Ireland

The 200 or so rebels have taken control of the town hall and surrounded the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks, cutting off its gas and water supply. They have blocked off all roads and the railway line, and cut the telephone and telegraph wires.

A Proclamation signed by Seamus Doyle (pictured above,front row, second from right) has been posted on the Market House door stating the town is in the possession of the Irish Volunteers.

The Volunteers have made the Athenaeum building in the town centre their headquarters and the republican flag has been hoisted above it.

British troops are beginning to shell Sackville Street (O’Connell Street) once again, after a brief respite. An 18 pound shell landed on the reserve printing offices of the Irish Times on Lower Abbey Street and caused rolls of newsprint to go on fire

Rebels and Volunteers in the GPO have not had food since Tuesday. They are filling buckets with tea and using empty salmon tins to drink it as that is all they have left.

The 1916 Easter Rising PA PA

The fire at the Irish Times building which began less than an hour ago has spread to nearby Wynn’s Hotel and the Royal Hibernian Academy. British troops are moving forward to Middle Abbey Street under the cover of smoke.

The latest British attack on rebels stationed at the Jameson distillery on Marrowbone Lane has been repelled by the rebels throwing canister bombs down on the troops.

Firing has been reported in Merrion Square and St Stephen’s Green.

Rebels from Jacob’s Factory who were trying to deliver ammunition to Westland Row train station came under attack and had to retreat. One of the rebels was shot by a machine gun while cycling back to Jacob’s Factory.

Jacobs National Library of Ireland Jacob's Factory National Library of Ireland

Today’s edition of the Connacht Tribune focuses on the uncertainty around what exactly is happening in Dublin since the Rising began on Monday. Its front page headline reads: “Is It Insurrection? Alleged General ‘Rising’ in Ireland”.

Connacht Tribune National Library of Ireland National Library of Ireland

British artillery is blasting the block of buildings between Lower Abbey Street and Eden Quay.

UPDATE: Almost 16,000 British troops are now in Dublin city under the control of Brigadier General WHM Lowe. The number of rebels has been estimated at around 1,400.

Lowe National Library of Ireland Lowe, pictured bottom right. National Library of Ireland

In Enniscorthy, Co.Wexford, a young girl has been killed and a policeman has been wounded after the Volunteers seized the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks.

Separately in Enniscorthy, an order has been issued by the rebels to close all pubs in the town to make sure not one person will be under the influence of alcohol during the days of Republican rule.

Enniscorthy National Library of Ireland The main square in Enniscorthy. National Library of Ireland

Sources are telling us a woman who was dropping looted goods down to a friend from a shop window on Sackville Street has been shot in the head by a sniper.

The fire on Sackville Street and Abbey Street is raging out of control. Hopkins & Hopkins and the Imperial Hotel have to be evacuated because of the inferno.

95947824k Library of the Royal Irish Academy Clerys and the Imperial Hotel Library of the Royal Irish Academy

This map shows the current positions of British troops and Irish rebels.

Map Thursday National Library of Ireland National Library of Ireland

The thin red line shows how the British troops have surrounded Dublin city centre, while the heavier red line shows how troops have wedged their way across the city, separating the insurgents to the north and south of the Liffey and severing their lines of communication.

The red circles show the rebel positions.

Fighting continues around the Four Courts with the rebels now under intense fire from shells being launched from the roof of Jervis Street Hospital.

Four Courts Jervis St Map Google Maps Map showing the Four Courts (left) and Jervis Street Hospital. Google Maps

BREAKING: James Connolly, one of the rebel leaders, has been seriously injured outside the GPO.

Connolly had been checking outposts around the building when he was was wounded just above the ankle by shrapnel from a bullet fired by a sniper. He dragged himself along the laneway into Prince’s Street and was carried back to the GPO. He remains in the GPO and has not left for treatment.

James Connolly National Library of Ireland National Library of Ireland

James Connolly works for the Irish Transport and General Workers Union and established the Irish Labour party.

More fighting at the South Dublin Union as the Sherwood Foresters – the British Army troops who suffered heavy losses at Northumberland Road –  attempt to march to Kilmainham.

South Dublin Union Bureau of Military History South Dublin Union Bureau of Military History

A machine gun on top of Jervis Street Hospital is now firing on the Four Courts.

Four Courts National Library of Ireland A barricade at the Four Courts National Library of Ireland

The British troops have begun throwing grenades inside the distillery on Marrowbone Lane held by the rebels. We’re hearing reports that one grenade bounced back and nearly killed several of the soldiers in the area.

The blasts are shaking the building so much the roof may cave in.

Some Catholic priests have been acting as liaisons between the rebels and authorities, trying to minimise the violence and suffering. However others are opposed to the Rising and refuse to help.

Leslie Price, a member of Cumann na mBan, was initially refused at the church on Marlborough Street after she asked a priest to come bless the men in the GPO, under orders from Thomas Clarke.  “They are murderers,” he reportedly told her.

However after she told him that she was going back alone, and that every man in the Post Office was prepared to die,  the priest changed his mind and agreed to go back to the GPO with her.

Rebels in the GPO 2 National Library of Ireland Men inside the GPO National Library of Ireland

The fire on Abbey Street and Sackville Street is intensifying and continuing to spread from building to building.

The food shortage is not just affecting humans in Dublin. Old animals in Dublin Zoo, including ponies, goats and several dingos, are being slaughtered to feed the carnivores because there is no meat left to feed them.

A battalion of British soldiers just tried to get onto Sackville Street from Lower Abbey Street amid the flames, which have now spread to the entire block between Lower Abbey Street and Eden Quay.

Reports from the scene suggest that the soldiers from the Ulster Composite Battalion had tried to cross through a burning barricade. The rebels allowed them to get through and held fire until the soldiers were in full view when they began firing on them. There are a large number of casualties at the scene – one report says that the rebels “might as well have been shooting fish in a barrel”.

We have been granted access once again to Joseph Plunkett’s notebook from inside the GPO:

0323 National Library of Ireland National Library of Ireland

The note reads:

Thursday 4th Day of the Republic: About one o’clock Comt General [James] Connolly was sounded in the left arm and ten minutes later in the left leg (by a sniper). The leg wound is serious as it caused a compound fracture of the shin bone.

Thursday 4th Day: one o’clock. The Linenhall Barracks in the possession of the enemy is on fire.

British forces are using Guinness lorries with improvised armored plates to drive into the rebel stronghold of North King Street.

Requisitioned Guinness truck National Library of Ireland National Library of Ireland

Vice-Commandant Cathal Brugha has been wounded 25 times after running directly into a grenade blast at the South Dublin Union.

Cathal Brugha National Library of Ireland National Library of Ireland

However, he is still continuing to fight on with the help of WT Cosgrave. Brugha is a travelling salesman and Cosgrave is a Sinn Féin councillor.

News just in that Capel Street Bridge has been taken by British troops, cutting the rebel forces completely in two. There is chaos as infantrymen are ordering civilians out of their homes so that they can occupy them.

Two huge armoured cars followed by infantrymen on foot are making their way towards the Four Courts.

tank National Library of Ireland National Library of Ireland

The armoured cars are clearing buildings which stand in their way and are coming under intense fire from the Four Courts.

Machine guns are now firing incessantly in the area.

Sources say that the British have decided to retreat completely from the South Dublin Union close to James’s Street, and to focus their attacks on Sackville Street. Arrangements have been made to remove the dead bodies from Marrowbone Lane.

Thomas Weafer, the 26-year-old rebel who has been commanding the large Hibernian Bank building at the corner of Sackville Street and Lower Abbey Street, has been shot dead.

Weafer, originally from Enniscorthy in Wexford, was one of the most-trusted men in the rebel ranks and had been given control of the bank – a key strategic location which allowed Weafer and his men to control access from Amiens Street Station towards Sackville Street.

0011 National Library of Ireland National Library of Ireland

His body is reported to still be at the scene. Flames from the adjoining buildings have begun to reach the bank and it is too dangerous for anyone to try to retrieve his body.

The fires in and around Sackville Street are burning freely and the shelling of the area persists. Much of the street has either been destroyed or is in flames.

There are reports that some shopowners have been asking local carpenters to make shutters for their shops to prevent them from being looted.

Noel Purcell, a 16-year-old apprentice cabinet maker with Bex and Co, has said that looters have been targeting food, liquor and vegetable shops in particular.

The number of deaths today are as follows:

British armed forces: 15

Rebel forces: 7

Civilians: 32

Police: 0

Reports say that 15 of the 32 civilians who died today were killed on North King Street, close to the Four Courts, which has seen heavy gunfire for almost the entire day.

Four Courts pic National Library of Ireland The Four Courts has sustained heavy damage National Library of Ireland

One of the civilians killed was 16-year-old Bridget Allen from Thomas Street, who died from gunshot wounds. There was no medical assistance available for her after she was shot. Reports say that her widowed mother, Mary Allen, was with her when she was killed.

Bridget is one of more than 20 children aged 16 and under who have died so far in this battle.

Martial law will come into effect at 7.30pm. As with last night, no civilians are allowed on the streets between that time and 5.30am tomorrow.

The British Army has warned that anyone who is seen carrying weapons is “liable to be fired upon by the military without warning”.

As night begins to fall and bullet fire continues around Dublin city centre, we are going to take this opportunity to try to get home.

We will resume this liveblog in the morning and will keep you up to date on all the happenings of this long-awaited but still unexpected Rebellion.

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