Wednesday 26 April, 1916.

SUNDAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MONDAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TUESDAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THURSDAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRIDAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SATURDAY

 

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.

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT
*Mary Louisa Hamilton Norway described the first introduction of artillery on to the streets of Dublin
 
Wednesday, 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 sick.
 
Mary Louisa Hamilton Norway The Sein Fein Rebellion as I saw it

 Talking Points
By Wednesday, why was there no doubt about the outcome of the rising ?
Why did the military target Liberty Hall first?
Mary 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? Why?

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.

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT
*On 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 its walls.
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."
James 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 heavy casualties.

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.

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT
*On 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.
 
Joseph Sweeney in Curious Journey

 Talking Points
What dangers did James Stephens face in walking around Dublin?
What dangers did looters face from both the rebels and the military?
In what areas did the heaviest fighting take place?
Why were the Sherwood Foresters surprised at being greeted by well wishers on arrival?
What 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 between them.