Dublin still bears the scars of the 1916 Easter Rising battle almost 100 years later
The GPO, The Shelbourne Hotel and other spots were battlegrounds in 1916
“Urban combat was very new to the British Army, and they had to adapt very quickly to what was happening in Dublin,” said O’Brien.
One of the biggest battles in the area happened at North King St, and involved the Irish Volunteers and the British South Staffordshire regiment. The army suffered heavy casualties at that spot, said O’Brien.
While many of the houses there were knocked down, some originals still remain. The Irish Volunteers occupied a public house at the junction of North King St that was called Reilly’s which is still standing, but under a different name. Similarly, the Capuchin hall, where Comdt Edward Daly set up his headquarters, is also standing.
Also near the Four Courts was a medical mission, where a group of British lancers took shelter after being intercepted making their way up the quays. This building still stands today, but “The whole front of that building is peppered with bullet holes.”
St. Stephen’s Green
Now a bustling hub for Dublin city, St. Stephen’s Green was used to dig trenches during 1916.
“The rebels dug trenches, probably at the four entranceways and other places – the written sources aren’t very specific about where they were.” Dr. Brück added that with it being a Victorian park, the Irish Citizens Army takeover of the area was quite symbolic.
“The rebels took St Stephen’s Green over on Easter Monday,” said Dr Brück. “There has been debate over whether it was a strategically good location to take over or not. Some would say it was stupid to take over Stephen’s Green as it was looked over by different buildings and they didn’t have enough men to take control of buildings overlooking the green. Others would say there is a water sources so that was good.”
The rebels were led by Michael Mallin and Countess Markiewicz - there is a limestone bust of Markievicz in the park today. There, they dug trenches and put barricades up around entrances and smaller entrances in the park, and also commandeered passing vehicles to help them in their task, said Dr Brück.
O’Brien added that “one photograph taken of the trenches for a newspaper at the time showed them facing straight down Dawson St.”
Today, you can see pock-marks and bullet holes on the Fusilier’s arch at the entrance to St Stephen’s Green.
Still a popular spot in Dublin today, The Shelbourne Hotel became a takeover spot for British forces beginning on Easter Monday in 1916. At first light, they began shooting at the rebels from the windows of the hotel.
The soldiers barricaded downstairs in the Shelbourne, and some guests were wounded by fire from the rebels in the park. The guests were moved to the rear of the building to avoid more injury.
While the inside has since been refurbished, the outside of The Shelbourne remains the same as it was back then.
Royal College of Surgeons
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