100 YEARS AGO — DAY 5

Through General Sir John Grenfell Maxwel’s orders, more than a dozen innocent civilians were slaughtered at the hands of British troops in the North King Street Massacre. The top Home Office official Sir Edward Troup, told the prime minister, Herbert Asquith: “The root of the mischief was the military order to take no prisoners.”

The Metropole Hotel was on fire, and the rebels received orders to return to the GPO. At the GPO, James Connolly was wounded and a 15-year-old boy was appointed as a commandant.

The first direct hit at the GPO came at 3pm, and others soon followed. Pearse ordered the members of Cumann na mBan to leave the GPO, however, three ladies remained. The GPO was on fire, the water supply was cut off, and was evacuated at 8 p.m.

The following is from Pearse:
“I desire now, lest I may not have an opportunity later, to pay homage to the gallantry of the soldiers of Irish Freedom who have during the past four days been writing with fire and steel the most glorious chapter in the later history of Ireland. Justice can never be done to their heroism, to their discipline, to their gay and unconquerable spirit in the midst of peril and death. Let me, who have led them into this speak, in my own and my fellow Commanders’ names, and in the name of Ireland present and to come, their praise, and ask those who come after them to remember them.”

(Signed)
P.H. Pearse
Commandant General Commanding-in-Chief, the army of the Irish Republic and President of the Provisional Government

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100 YEARS AGO — DAY 4

On the fourth day of the Easter Rising, the remaining rebels are under constant attack with fierce street fighting. Large parts of Sackville Street (O’Connell Street) are up in flames.

James Connolly is severely wounded while involved in an action close to the GPO. He manages to crawl back to the rebel conclave which is now completely cut off from other rebels.

Witness James Stephens wrote of Thursday’s events: “There was sustained firing along the whole central line of the City, from the Green down to Trinity College, and from thence to Sackville Street, and the report of the various types of arms could be easily distinguished. There were rifles, machine guns and very heavy cannon.”

Stage and film actor, Arthur Shields, a Protestant and the younger brother of actor Barry Fitzgerald, was an Irish nationalist, fighting in the 1916 Easter Rising. He was captured and interned in the Frongoch internment camp.

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100 YEARS AGO–Day 3

Formerly a member of the Citizen Army, Francis Sheehy-Skeffington left the group when it became a military faction.

Although he was sympathetic to the Easter Rising, Sheehy-Skeffington did not directly support the rebels. On the 25th April 1916 Sheehy-Skeffington travelled into Dublin city centre. It was his intent to organize a civilian defense force to protect local businesses from looters. On his way back to his home in Rathmines, he was stopped by British forces at Portobello bridge and arrested for no other reason than he was sympathetic with the rebels.

Later that evening, Captain J.C. Bowen-Colthurst of the 3rd battalion Royal Irish Rifles set a raiding party with Sheehy-Skeffington as a hostage. He witnesses two murders before being executed the following morning. His wife was not notified of his death for four days.

Attempting to cover up the illegal arrest and execution of Sheehy-Skeffington, Captain Bowen-Colthurst ordered that his home be searched for anything linking him to the rebels, where nothing could be found. Subsequently the Simon commission ordered an investigation and found Bowen-Colthurst guilty of murder but that he was criminally insane. He was incarcerated in an insane asylum for eighteen months. Upon his release, he retired to Canada with a full pension.

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100 YEARS AGO — DAY 2

Tuesday – Day 2.  British move 7,000 troops into Dublin.   Martial law is declared by Lord Lieutenant Wimborne.

The Rising was not popular with the people of Dublin.  A fifteen year old volunteer offered this negative information:  The mob screamed “Come out to France and fight, you so-and-so slackers.”  A very big, tall woman had something heavy in her hand and tried to hit me in the head.  A volunteer saw this, fired and dropped the woman.

Another fifteen year old was involved in transporting arms across Dublin.  On Tuesday, after delivering a dispatch to an officer at Phibsboro Bridge, he stopped at home and told his mother he was all right.  On the way back to his post, he was shot in the head.  His last words were “God Bless the Volunteers”.  He was the youngest casualty on the Republican side.

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