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Last Battlefield of 1916, on Moore Street, is the soul of a nation Photo by: Google Images

Relatives of Ireland’s martyred heroes rally to preserve Easter Rising HQ

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Last Battlefield of 1916, on Moore Street, is the soul of a nation Photo by: Google Images

Moore Street, Dublin already had a long history before April 1916. The area was developed on land which originally was part of a 12th century Cistercian monastery, and during the 18th century, the Moore Street Terrace, currently Nos. 10 to 25, was built to provide housing for tradesmen and professionals who served the grand houses which lined what was then called Sackville Mall and is now O’Connell Street, just one block away, according to history provided by Mr. Heron.

As time passed, storefronts replaced the homes and the area developed into a market street, where Dubliners shopped for fresh meat and poultry.

Helen Litton, the grand-niece of executed Rising leaders Thomas Clarke, who was a member of the Provisional Government and Ned Daly, who commanded the Four Courts Garrison, and the granddaughter of a Volunteer who made a charge up Moore Street to clear the way for the evacuation, recalls shopping at the outdoor market stalls with her granny and as a young housewife. She believes that an important part of the preservation effort on Moore Street is maintaining the character of the area by providing for a street market.

In 1916, the shops of Moore Street were diverse, and included T.F. Cogan provision dealer at No. 10; Mrs. Norton’s china and glass at No. 14; Miss O’Gorman’s clothes dealer at No. 15; Patrick Plunkett’s poultry and fish at No. 16 and R.J. Gore druggist at No. 17. These shops and the gardens behind them bore witness to the final hours of the struggle of the Provisional Government after it evacuated the burning GPO until its leaders made the heart-wrenching decision to surrender.

Stories from Moore Street demonstrate the bravery, love of country and love of family exhibited by the Volunteers in the waning days and hours of the Rising.

Honor O Brolchain recalls the letter written by her great-uncle, Joseph Plunkett “somewhere in Moore Street” on the day of the surrender, to his fiancée Grace Gifford, in which he wrote that he had tried to arrange for them to meet and get married but had been unable to do so. He went on to say,” my other actions have been as right as I could see and make them and I cannot wish them undone.”

Another Plunkett brother, George, and two Volunteer friends, while erecting a barricade near No. 10 heard moaning across the street, and George rushed across, under fire, and retrieved the injured man, a British soldier, who was well-cared for by the Volunteers until the end.

And it was in No. 16 that the leaders of the provisional Government, including Padraig Pearse, Tom Clarke, Sean MacDermott, Joseph Plunkett and the badly wounded James Connolly met in a Council of War on April 29th to consider surrender after observing civilian
casualties occurring on Moore Street, as British guns continued to strike at the Volunteers.

Elizabeth O’Farrell left No. 15, under a white flag of truce, and walked up Moore Street to arrange the terms of surrender with the British commander on the afternoon of April 29th and Patrick Pearse signed the Decision to Surrender here on Moore Street.

It was in the yard behind Nos. 20 and 21, O'Hanlon’s Fishmongers that the members of the GPO Garrison were addressed by Sean McDermott, and informed of the surrender.
And, finally, as Ms. O Brolchain stated, recalling the bravery of her great-uncles and their comrades, “To make the decision to surrender for humanitarian reasons and not know what the outcome would be must have left them desolate and yet they were courageous to the end and, with Plunkett, already dying of tuberculosis, and Willie Pearse leading and Clarke and McDermott bringing up the rear, they marched out in such style as to take the British military aback.”

Moore Street, Dublin…an important market area for generations of Dublin families…Once filled with market stalls and provisioners, it now bears the scars of urban blight and decay, but almost 100 years ago, that area witnessed the agony of the Irish nation at war, as it struggled to free itself of the yoke of British colonial power.

But now… The relatives of the 1916 heroes have been in the forefront of the movement to create a living monument to the men and women who fought and died to reawaken the spirit of freedom among the Irish people. And they hope to create a living memorial that honors Moore Street’s past…her market roots, her heroic deeds, the brave men and women who struggled there for the ideals of freedom…and focuses on her future…as a dynamic part of Dublin.

If you believe that Moore Street should be preserved as a historical and cultural memorial to Ireland’s heroic age, and the men and women who fought for its freedom, let the Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar (minister@dttas.ie ) know how you feel or write to the Board of Fáilte Ireland, 88 – 95 Amiens Street, Dublin 1, Ireland, info@failteireland.ie, and let them know that heritage tourism interests you.
 

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