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1916 RISING - 6/5/1916 Newbridge man's eye witness account of the Rebellion

06/05/1916 Leinster Leader
A Newbridge Gentleman’s Experience
A Gentleman from Newbridge who was in Dublin on a holiday during the week end when hostilities broke out stated to our representative on Monday night there were three police shot in Stephen’s Green. He had been with his wife in Blackrock when the trouble arose and they managed to get as far as Ballsbridge by tram and then started walking in the direction of Kingsbridge when they met a carman who drove them, after some little persuasion, to Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, and then alighting they walked on in the direction of Kingsbridge when they encountered the military-a sergeant informing them that they could not get out of the city that night.
They were then fortunate enough to get into a hotel near Kingsbridge where they were accommodated and very kindly treated. There were in the hotel over 100 persons at the time. The machine guns were firing outside in the city. One elderly man when the rattle of the guns was heard in his nervousness moved his chair time after time in front of the windows. I said jokingly continued the gentleman, if anybody is to be shot in this place to-night it is as well be shot in bed with the result that a number, including the old man, sought refuge amongst the blankets and that particular old man on the following morning when breakfast was in sight said fervently, “Thank God, I am able to breathe life again.” The gentleman in question with whom your representative had the interview said he was very fortunate on the occasion, as having got into Lucan he met a motor car on its way to Newbridge and with his friends he eventually arrived home safely. While on the previous evening he was passing O’Connell bridge it was not held exactly by either party. It would appear at the time that the parties were on either side of the bridge and neither were firing. There seemed for the moment to be a truce. The Riot Act was not, as far as he knew read. Afterwards he saw a party, not the military, who were holding O’Connell Bridge, and they must have been the citizen army. The fight was going on in the Post Office district. The Dublin Police were not on the streets as usual as the city was under Martial Law. When our informant arrived in the neighbourhood of Kingsbridge at about 4 o’clock the machine guns were being used freely from the direction of South Dublin Union. It was said that Lieut. Ramsay, R.I.F., had been shot dead from the South Dublin Union neighbourhood. He saw three Sinn Feiners dead in the Union district. They had no special uniforms. There were a number of soldiers killed or wounded. A clerk working at the Post Office had said that he was put out at 11 o’clock with revolver at his head. One pedestrian had a narrow escape when a sergeant of the R.I.F. was skimmed by a bullet. It actually struck his cap and glanced off his scalp. The troops were rushed from the Curragh, while a Brigade of Artillery arrived from Athlone on Tuesday morning. The furniture was taken out of the shops to make barricades while barbed wire entanglements were also arranged in the streets. The one thing that struck our informant was the fact that there was an utter disregard of danger in the city to a very great extent. We actually saw while the severe firing was coming from Stephen’s Green bullets coming over the heads of children who were whipping tops, etc. in the streets. We were indeed glad to get out of the city. There were 35 men killed in James’ Street and we were held up in that direction for some time. Captain Anderson, a well-known Tipperary officer, was killed. He had served during the South African war and had but returned from the present war. A few members of the cavalry were killed in Sackville Street. From the South Dublin Union to Sackville Street and on in the direction of Kingsbridge men were firing from tops of the houses and from inside. I heard the machine guns throughout and it was said that the Sinn Feiners had them too. When the motors came along the street they were immediately seized by the Sinn Feiners and in some instances when they could not be used for their ordinary purposes they were utilised as barricades on the streets. There was steady firing in Dublin all throughout Tuesday.

To commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising we have posted an article from the Leinster Leader dated May 1916.

[Compiled by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Niamh McCabe]

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