By Wednesday morning, the military authorities have a better
picture of the extent of the opposition they are facing and are
now in a position to start putting down the rising. The deployment
of artillery on the streets of Dublin proves to be a turning
point for the military as it is now possible to literally demolish
rebel positions. James Connolly had believed that artillery would
never be used in this way because of the damage it would cause
to the property of wealthy employers. The events of Wednesday
are to prove him wrong and from now on the military outcome of
the rising is not in doubt.
The first target for this artillery is Liberty Hall. Early
on Wednesday morning, the gunship Helga anchors close
to the Custom House and begins firing on Liberty Hall. Since
the Lockout of 1913, the military and many of Dublin's employers
have viewed the ITGWU (trade union) as little more than trouble
makers. They believe that Connolly and his Irish Citizen Army
have to be involved in the rising. The firing on Liberty Hall
continues for sometime with the presence of the Butt Bridge preventing
any real damage to the building. Eventually, the gunners find
their target causing major damage to the building and surrounding
tenements. Unknown to the military, Liberty Hall is deserted
apart from a caretaker who emerges and runs for his life.
- *Mary Louisa Hamilton
Norway described the first introduction of artillery on to the
streets of Dublin
April 26th, 9.30 a.m. - While we were dressing a terrific bombardment
with field guns began - the first we had heard - and gave me
cold shivers. The sound seemed to come from the direction of
the G.P.O., and we concluded they were bombarding it. It went
on for a quarter of an hour - awful! big guns and machine-guns
- and then ceased, but we hear they were bombarding Liberty Hall,
the headquarters of Larkin and the strikers two years ago, and
always a nest of sedition. It is now crammed with Sinn Feiners.
The guns were on H.M.S. Helga, that came up the river and smashed
it from within about three hundred yards. It made me feel quite
Louisa Hamilton Norway The Sein Fein Rebellion as I saw it
- By Wednesday,
why was there no doubt about the outcome of the rising ?
did the military target Liberty Hall first?
Louisa Hamilton Norway said
that Liberty Hall was 'crammed with Sinn Feiners' - was this true?
- In your
opinion, was Mary Louisa Hamilton Norway sympathetic to the rebels?
- Kelly's Fishing Tackle Shop Immediately
After the Rising
- The military now step up its attacks paying particular attention
to buildings which it believes have been taken over by rebels.
One such building is Kelly's Fishing Tackle Shop on the corner
of O Connell Street. The location of this building overlooking
the quays makes it ideal for snipers. Using its superior firepower
and numbers, the military are able to deal effectively with this
threat. In spite of the ongoing danger, some civilians venture
out to see what is happening. Looting continues between any lulls
in the fighting.
Wednesday, James Stephens made the dangerous journey to the quays
to see the fighting for himself
- "I was
looking on O' Connell Bridge and Sackville Street, and the house
facing me was Kelly's - a red-brick fishing tackle shop, one
half of which was on the Quay and the other half in Sackville
Street. This house was being bombarded.
- I counted the
report of six different machine guns which played on it. Rifles
innumerable and from every sort of place were potting its windows,
and at intervals of about half a minute the shells from a heavy
gun lobbed in through its windows or thumped mightily against
- For three hours
that bombardment continued, and the walls stood in a cloud of
red dust and smoke. Rifle and machine gun bullets pattered over
every inch of it, and unfailingly the heavy gun pounded its shells
through the windows."
Stephens The Insurrection in Dublin
Fierce fighting continues across Dublin. The military continues
in its strategy of isolating these pockets of resistance. Areas
around the Four Courts, the College of Surgeons, the South Dublin
Union (St. James' Hospital) and Mount Street Bridge see some
of the heaviest fighting. Meanwhile, British reinforcements continue
to arrive at Kingstown (Dun Laoire). One such group, the Sherwood
Foresters, are pleasantly surprised when they are greeted by
well wishers on arrival in Kingstown. They commence to march
on foot to Dublin coming under heavy fire from buildings near
Mount Street Bridge. They are ordered forward by their commander
even though they are unprepared for such an ambush. They suffer
Inside the GPO, the deployment of artillery onto the streets
of Dublin means that the relative calm of the previous two days
has ended abruptly. There can be no doubt now about the intentions
of the military. Despite this spirits remain high and there is
still contact between the different rebel positions.
Wednesday, Joseph Sweeney was on sniper duty on top of the GPO
- On the Wednesday,
I think it was, the British mounted howitzers in the back of
the Rotunda Hospital grounds and they began to lob incendiary
shells on the GPO. So we dealt with them as best we could with
the hoses available. And then the fire became more intense, they
began to come oftener, and then they shut off the water supply.
So we had to retreat from the top of the roof into the lower
floor and we barricaded the window overlooking the street. A
young lad called Sammy Reilly, who is now a caretaker of Columbia
University in New York, and myself were on sniper duty, and we
stopped a lot of movement at the top of the street, because when
they saw the place on fire they thought they could move in. That
night they brought an armoured car that they had built in Inchicore
railway works around the corner of the then Great Britain Street
- it's now Parnell Street - into O'Connell Street and it proceeded
to clank on down towards us. So I said to Reilly, 'You take the
right aperture and I'll take the left,' and we concentrated fire
and stopped it. We must have killed the driver or injured somebody
because it stopped there and eventually that night, when all
the lights were out, they came along and pulled it back where
it had come from.
Sweeney in Curious Journey
dangers did James Stephens face in walking around Dublin?
dangers did looters face from both the rebels and the military?
- In what
areas did the heaviest fighting take place?
were the Sherwood Foresters surprised at being greeted by well
wishers on arrival?
tactics does Joseph Sweeney describe being used against those
inside the GPO?
- To Do
- It is
obvious from the eyewitness accounts that although the people are talking about the
same event, they all have different opinions about the Rising. Give
a summary of the opinions of Mary Louisa Hamilton Norway, James
Stephens and Joseph Sweeney. Try to guess what their backgrounds
were and why they held these opinions.
- * Dress
up as these characters and dramatise an imaginary conversation