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Our friendly and excellent guides are available as Step On Guides for any visiting tour or coach operators who may like a unique, entertaining and educational tour of Irish History and the events of Easter Week 1916.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Blog of The Year 2016 - Shortlist


We are honoured in this a very special year to be rewarded for our research by being shortlisted for Littlewoods Ireland Blog of the Year awards in the Arts and Culture section. Win, lose or draw we will continue to bring you the unique aspects of the Easter Rising.

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Trials of the 1916 Press Pack - Part Six

Sidney Cave in his report on the same meeting published in the New York Sun on the same day went further with the conversation between the journalists and Lord Wimbourne and his civilian administration deputy Birrell. His by lined article was squarely aimed at the North American reader as it was titled

The newspaper article title was a reflection of a question prompted by an interview that the Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond had given to an Associated Press reporter when asked about the Rising.
The misguided insane young men who have taken part in this movement in Ireland have risked and some of them have lost their lives, But what am I to say of those men who have sent them into this insane and anti-patriotic movement while they have remained in the safe remoteness of American cities.
I might add that this movement has been set in motion by the same class of men at the very moment when America is demanding reparation for the blood of innocent American men, women and children shed by Germany (the sinking of the Lusitania) and thus they are guilty of double treason, treason to the generous land that received them as well as the land that gave them birth. 

‘IRISH PLOT NOT HATCHED IN U.S, SAYS WIMBORNE
Lord Lieutenant Is Certain Rebellion Failed Because It Was Sprung on Spur of Moment.’
He wrote
‘'There is no evidence at all that any American influence been concerned in the trouble in Dublin. There may be sympathisers in America with the disturbances, but even of that I have no knowledge”
Lord Wimbourne. Lord Lieutenant of Ireland made this statement to me at the Vice Regal Lodge this afternoon for transmission to America. In reply to a question put to him concerning the Sinn Feiners' Insurrection and the siege of Dublin.
I had repeated to him the official statement made concerning Sir Roger Casement's attempted landing that the plot was hatched In America. "I have not heard that. Certainly we have no official confirmation," he replied.
Lord Wimbourne received me in His official residence, from which one of his
predecessors. Lord Spenser, unquestionably watched the commencement of the Phoenix Park murders. For the first time I was able to obtain an official account of the amazing event of the last week. Augustine Birrell. Secretary of State for Ireland, was present at the time added frequently to comments of the Lord Lieutenant.

I give Wimbourne’s own narrative

Attack on Castle Fails.
"It began on Monday at half past eleven. We heard there had been an attack on the castle, that Stephen's Green and the Four Courts had been occupied, and also that the post office had been seized. Telephonic communication to the Curragh was at once put in motion and reserve troops arrived in Dublin that night.
"The following morning this situation at the castle eared. All they did there was to shoot a policeman at the castle gates. They never got in or occupied it.
Sir Mathew Nathan (secretary to Augustine Birrell) was at the castle, but was never for a moment in danger.
"They prevented communication with the north. Also they cut all telegraphic communication with the country except the Curragh. This apparently they were unable to do. They failed to seize any station except the Broadstone station. This was surprised, but they didn't hold it long.

Author Note
Cave failed to mention as it was in both UP and AP accounts of the press conference that the Broadstone Station was unprotected when it was attacked.

"Tuesday morning we had all our reinforcements from the Curragh. Since that morning the Sinn Feiners had attempted nothing except sniping from any hidden spots or roofs. Tuesday a gunboat on the Liffey shelled Liberty Hall which we occupied at once "
Mr. Birrell pointed out that a great deal of time had been taken up of necessity by the soldiers In working their way round the Sackville street area
Lord Wimbourne resumed
"Wednesday night we had a complete cordon round the city, By Thursday there was another inner cordon round the Sackville Street district so we really had a double cordon. The troops from the Curragh were insufficient to deal with the trouble so we had to send for assistance. Field artillery has been used to get them out of houses.
"The situation in the provinces on the whole is very good. With the exception of fighting in Galway and Athenry where the police are in possession of the town, but where the rebels are encamped in the ruined castle; Wexford and Enniscorthy, County Meath and Louth everything is quiet. At Galway town they attacked and we landed men from the fleet to support the police and military. The most serious fighting was in County Meath and County Louth there was hostile assembles but there were no serious developments. "The Sinn Feiners, I understand issued a proclamation proclaiming a republican government and referred to foreign aid. I understand that Germany has been very lavish with promises, which have not come up to expectations. I am absolutely sure there is a connection between the movement and Germany.
Mr Birrell interposed at this point
"The whole thing was timed. The Casement ship was armed and sent out from Germany and Sir Roger Casement in a submarine was timed to land at the same time as the German fleet attacked Yarmouth and Lowestoft and the time of the attack here. The intention I have no doubt, was that of a diversion of troops from the Continent to Ireland. If the landing had occurred it would have raised a great flame In England."
Lord Wimbourne added:
"It is interesting to note that an automobile went into the river at Tralee on the night of the arrest of Sir Roger Casement. The occupants were drowned. Two bodies were recovered and on the clothing of both were Sinn Fein badges."
Resuming the narrative the Lord Lieutenant said:
"The proclamation of the rebels, which I understand was sent by wireless, had seven signatures. Including Jim Connelly, J. T. Clark, an old Sinn Feiner who kept a tobacconists shop and has been under suspicion and has been reported on for years and men named Pearse and McDermott.
"The situation has now become a military one in Dublin. Martial law has been declared in Dublin county and Dublin city. There is no sign of sedition in the Royal Irish Regiments, the Royal Irish Constabulary or in any section of the Irish population except the Sinn Feiners. My own belief is that the decision to make this rising was not arrived at until Monday itself. I think the attack was a most audacious and badly planned plot which miscarried, not because we were largely ready for it, but because it was formed on the spur of the moment."
The Lord Lieutenant had no official details of the casualties or of the properties destroyed by artillery or fire, but it is believed that the totals are much less than have been rumoured.


But despite the strict War Office censorship that they have overseen most telegraphs or telegrams being sent across the Atlantic, as the British controlled both the sea cables and the wireless stations, Associated Press managed to get very accurate reports into the American Press. The AP’s article was carried by the Harrisburg Telegraph in Pennsylvania and the following is that article with the bold italic notations this author has made to illustrate the reporting of Berry.

SINN FEINERS DESPERATELY FOR LIVES CITY ON FIRE
Regulars Now Command All Rebel Positions, the Fall of
Which Is Matter of Time; Field Cans Bark, Machine
Guns Rattle and Rifle Fire Patters All Over City Apparently at Same Time; Casualty List Exceeds 100

SACKVILLE AND GRAFTON STREETS IN FLAMES; ARTILLERY BEING USED ON VACANT HOUSES
Snipers on House tops Take Pots hot at All Civilians; Firmly Believed in Popular Mind That German Submarines Have Been Landing Arms For Several Months; Countess in Uniform Shoots Guard; Looting Is Now Widespread London. April 27. (Thursday)

Parts of the city of Dublin arc in flames, an Evening News dispatch filed at Belfast last night says. Street fighting continues and there is much looting. One dispatch received from Ireland this afternoon says that Sackville and Grafton streets in Dublin arc in flames and that artillery is being used on the houses, the inhabitants having been removed. (It was made to sound like an ordered evacuation of civilians. Both of the streets mentioned were the main shopping districts)

Dublin. April 27. —Fifteen hundred (a very accurate number in the immediate chaos of the aftermath of the Rising) or so armed men of the Sinn Fein had a hold on Ireland's capital today. After four days of fighting their rebel flag still flew from a number of central points. Since Monday some of the chief positions in the city have been in the hands of the rebels. In defending these strongholds against regular troops and Irish nationalist volunteers the rebels are fighting with desperation for their lives which they know may be forfeited on account of treason. (The notion of executions is already in the press despite the fact that leaders of the previous two rebellions were exiled rather than executed)

Regulars now command all the rebel positions, the tall of which is merely a question of time. The streets of Dublin were deserted to-day except for sentries and military guards. Business was at a standstill. Civilians peeped anxiously from behind curtained windows. Field guns were barking, machine guns rattling and rifle tire was pattering, apparently from every quarter at the same time.

When the Associated Press (Robert Berry) correspondent landed early this morning at the quay near the customs house the pinging of bullet from rifles of snipers in the vicinity was frequent. Augustine Birrell the secretary for Ireland had made the passage from England with the newspapermen. As he stepped ashore he shouted cheerily:
"I wish you luck gentlemen. I don't know what will happen to you. Now that you are here"
Soldiers and rebels fired at each other from street corners, wharves, roofs and windows. Sentries with fixed bayonets on loaded rifles, stationed every few yards shouted their commands to halt. Naval guns joined in and added to the deafening gun fire. From the quay the respective positions could be seen. The rebels were
holding a square section of territory from the point where Liberty Hall stood before a gunboat destroyed it as for as Sackville Street, to St. Stephens Green and the Four Courts district and along the southern side of the river to the Butt and O’Connell bridges. They also held isolated positions in a flour mill and a disused distillery opposite the North Wall station. (This was very accurate reporting despite strict British censorship)

Rebel Flag Waves Over all this section there was considerable fighting the whole day. The distillery was the scene of one of the sharpest little battles of the uprising. The rebels were forced out of the flour mill by bombardment and many of them were seen, covered with flour making their way to the distillery.
Once there they hoisted the rebel flag which floated from the corner of a square tower. Soon a naval gun opened fire. The first shot hit the tower, and then half a dozen in succession struck the roof around it. The flag still flew and the rebels replied with rifles and a machine gun. The bombardment ceased after a dozen shots, but was renewed later. Hit after hit was scored, but the flag remained hanging from its pole. One shot hit a water tank just below it and for a time there was a miniature cascade down the walls of the distillery. When night fell and all firing except with rifles ceased the flag was still flying defiantly over the side of the little tower. (Was this bombardment for the benefit of the journalists based in a hotel on the North Wall Quay on the Liffey)

Barricades Bombarded

Another brief artillery demonstration was directed against the barricades in Sackville Street. Clouds of thick smoke soon rose around various prominent objects in that part of Dublin as the shells burst, while between times the rattle of the machine guns seemed like a continuation of the reverberation of the heavy pieces. So closely guarded were the approaches to the lighting zone that it was impossible to gauge accurately what damage was done and attempts by correspondents to pass a long street leading toward the center of the city brought upon them a detachment of soldiers with weapons ready for use. The' troops had early in the rebellion learned lo distrust civilians, some of whom were found to be evidently in sympathy with the Sinn Feiners if not in league with them. Wearing khaki meant the same as a sentence to death.

Kill Unarmed Soldiers

When the revolt began at 1 o'clock Monday afternoon the soldiers walking
about the city were as usual, unarmed and numbers of them paid the full penalty without being able to defend themselves. Other governmental uniforms brought discomfort for their wearers. (This was perhaps a reference to the story of the killing of the GR’s at Mount Street). The Dublin metropolitan police were exposed to somewhat similar treatment to that accorded soldiers by the rebels and most of the policemen went to their homes and changed to civilian clothing. Postmen on duty at the general post office which was the first building seized by the Sinn Feiners and later became their were sent away and told to come back in a week for their wages which would be paid in Irish republican coinage. The rebels cut all the wires, destroyed the apparatus and seized all money. (This seemed to be very open reporting)

Even Had Entrenching Tools

Everything except, failure seemed to have been foreseen by the rebels who, when they started the revolt were as well uniformed as were the regular soldiers. Their clothing, arms and equipment were good and they were even provided with entrenching tools which they used when they marched on St. Stephens Green. The ammunition supply of the rebels appeared to be plentiful and was used unsparingly. Some bullets which entered the hotel where the correspondents assembled were certainly of German manufacture. Other weapons used by the rebels were 12-bore shotguns and cartridges filled with ugly leaden slugs. (The hotel was the North Western Hotel on the North Wall Quay)

Flames Light City

The battle was thickest to-day around an entire block of business houses in the Sackville street quarter. These buildings had been occupied by the rebels at the start and breaches had been made in a party wall between the stores so that the men could retreat righting from one room to another in the event of the places being stormed. To-night the Irish capital was brilliantly lighted by the flames from an Important central block of houses a couple of acres in extent. Frequent explosions occurred followed by salvos of machine gun and rifle tire turned on the rebels who were making their way from one building to another.

Bodies lying in streets

No exact idea of the number of casualties was obtainable but many bodies were lying about the streets unburied. Houses contained many others. The authorities said the troops had not suffered nearly as much as had the rebels whose strong holds was under fire at all times both day and night. (This was clearly a British military slant on casualty totals emanating from their spin doctors as military casualties were double those of rebel forces)

German Submarines Are Believed to Have
Landed Armies in Ireland By Associated Press London, April 29.

Although the story of the early hours of the Dublin uprising has now been disclosed in considerable detail, England is still without authentic information as to the progress of later events. Normal telegraph, telephone and mail services with Ireland have not been restored and the existing means of communication are subjected to such strict censorship that it is possible to obtain only fragmentary information, such news dispatches as came through this morning added little to the information contained in last night's official advices and stories of eye-witnesses.

Casualties Mat Growing

So far as official reports show the situation in Dublin is gradually being brought under control. There seems to be no doubt that the rebels still control various parts of Dublin and that street fighting continues with a lengthening list of casualties. It is reported the casualty list already exceeds 100. Of the situation outside Dublin little is known beyond the official admission that the dissatisfaction has spread to various localities in the west and south of Ireland. Field Marshal French's statement of last night described these disturbances as local in character and so far as has been revealed by information which has passed the censorship they have not been attended by heavy fighting. (This paragraph is an excellent example of information and mis-information going hand in hand)

Snipers Pick of Civilians

Upwards of 100 persons have been killed or injured thus far in Dublin, a correspondent at Belfast Evening News reports in a dispatch filed last night. He says the rioters hidden in houses commanding important street junctions or covered by barricades in the streets are keeping up a constant fusillade. The list of casualties continues to lengthen. It includes many civilians who the correspondent says, have been picked off by Sinn Fein snipers for no other reason than that they were believed to be loyal. The cordon of troops is being drawn gradually but surely around the rebel strongholds. The authorities are carrying on their difficult task with the greatest forbearance. Every effort is being made to avoid unnecessary bloodshed and damage. (Blame is already been apportioned with the rebels being singled out as the aggressors and the force committing war crimes. This is an attitude originating in Unionist Belfast) (Avoiding a growing civilian casualty list would be difficult as the British forces are the only side using artillery)

Germans Landed Arms
"The thing that surprises me the most about the uprising in Ireland is the supply of munitions in the hands of the rebels," said an Irishman who arrived in London this morning, he spent ten hours in Dublin on Tuesday and, departing that evening, remained until last night in Kingstown.
"There is little doubt in the popular mind that Germans have been landing
arms from submarines for months," he continued, "and it is even said though I don't believe it—that a few Germans also landed and organized. "I learned that the rebels made prisoners of a large number of policemen and a few stray soldiers at the Royal Irish constabulary depot and at Phoenix Park. (This was simply a rumour being accepted as fact as newspaper editors struggle to get a true picture of events due to censorship and lack of communications from the heart of the action)
"My walk through the center of the city Tuesday afternoon was very eventful and 1 was glad finally to reach Kingstown. I was challenged many times by both rebel and loyal sentries. The rebel sentries were threatening but allowed me to pass after searching for arms. (It was always the aim of Patrick Pearse that the rebellion should be conducted in a proper military fashion and that there should be no stain left on the flag of the new Irish Republic)

Countess Shoots Guard

"I heard that the Countess Markievicz, the sister of an Irish baron, who was prominent in the Larkin strike and a leading figure in the present movement, shot dead a guard in front of Dublin Castle in an effort to capture the Castle. This effort proved abortive."
This informant, who is an engineer of the War Department and a strong Royalist, says a great majority of the people of Ireland are entirely without sympathy for the rebels, whom they regard as a small and irresponsible minority. (True)

James Larkin Leading Irish Uprising; Aided by Uniformed Countess Dublin.
Tuesday April 25 (By Courier to Kingstown), via London. (False, Larkin was in the US when the Rising began)

Dublin now has been held up for twenty-four hours by a combination of members of the Sinn Fein Society and followers of James Larkin, head of the Transport Workers' Union and well known as a strike leader. There has been the same violence in the city as marked the big streetcar strike in 1913, the Associated Press, eyewitness of the disorders declared.

This strike was headed by Larkin but supplemented by the use of an armed force with military pretensions and the seizure of strategic points designed to give the disturbance the aspect of a revolution.

Gas Supply Cut Off

The trouble has gone on now for twenty-four hours and has completely dislocated the life of Dublin. No shops are open and no business is being transacted. Street cars have ceased to run and the gas supply has been cut off. Use of the telephone between the city and the suburbs has been forbidden by the military, and the running of trains to and from the country is very irregular. Monday, at midday, the Sinn Fein revolutionists were assembled as if for one of their usual parades. They were supposed to be going out for an Easter Monday march. Some of the rank and file even imagined that this was their purpose. About 6OO of them, however, took possession of the general post office in Sackville Street, which at the time was attended by the usual small holiday staff of clerks. There the six hundred men remained all day and night and still hold forth. Telegraph and postal- communication, insofar, as it goes through this the chief post office in Ireland, has ceased

Hoist Irish Republic Flag

The raid was beyond the power of the police to deal with. Small detachments of Lancers appeared on the scene, but after two or three of their horses had been shot and two or three of the men wounded they withdrew. Since then the Sinn Feiners in the post office have been left alone and they have hoisted the flag of the Irish Republic over the building. (The human interest side playing on the heart strings of the readers creating a sense of animal cruelty being perpetrated by the rebels that this despite thousands of horses being killed on the western front)

The Countess Markievicz, the sister of an Irish baron, in a volunteer uniform was a prominent figure in the disturbance. She was one of the leading sympathizers with James Larkin in the 1913 street car riots and her house was raided in January by the police, who are said to have seized a printing press and type with which alleged pro-German literature was being printed. Her husband is said to be a Polish nobleman.

Much Rifle Firing
There has been much rifle and revolver firing, seemingly at nothing in particular and several persons out holiday-making have been killed or injured. The wounded were removed to St. Vincent's Hospital, on one side of St. Stephen's Green. In the Portobello road, over the canal which forms the boundary of the city, the Sinn Feiners seized a corner public house. Here also holiday-makers suffered from promiscuous shooting. One platoon of the Royal Irish Rifles succeeded in dislodging and taking prisoner these Sinn Feiners. During Monday officers and men in khaki and also isolated Individuals were shot at in the streets. Some of them are reported to have been killed or wounded. (The British over playing their success in retaking J T Davy’s pub after three hours of constant fire despite the fact that the rebels had left earlier via a back door and no prisoners were taken in the pub when it was recaptured)

College of Surgeons Seized

The Royal College of Surgeons, which faces St. Stephen's Green on the west, was seized by the Sinn Feiners and their flag flown from it. It is impossible as yet to ascertain or even approximate the number of persons killed or injured, but there is no doubt that the aggregation is considerable as the holiday crowds were large and the shooting by the Sinn Feiners was very wild and reckless.

Redmond Sees Menace in Revolt to Free Ireland London, April 29.(Thursday)—John Redmond,
leader of the Irish Nationalists in the House of Commons, last night gave the following statement concerning the uprising in Dublin:
"My first feeling, of course, on hearing of this insane move, was one of horror, discouragement and utmost despair. I asked myself whether Ireland, as so often before-in her tragic history, was to dash the cup of liberty from her lips—was the insanity of a small section of her people once again to turn all her marvellous victories of the last few years into irreparable defeat and to send her rack, on the very eve of her final recognition as a free nation, into another long night of slavery, incalculable suffering and weary and uncertain struggling.

For look at the Irish position today.

In the short space of forty years Ireland has by a constitutional movement made an almost unbrokenly triumphant march from pauperism and slavery to prosperity and freedom. She has won back the possession of Irish land; she has stayed emigration she has succeeded in placing on the statute books the greatest character freedom ever offered her since the days of Grattan. Is all this to but lost?

Revolt Was Kindled in Phoenix Park, Scene of Ireland's Darkest Days
By Associated Press London. April 29.
It was in Phoenix Park, the scene of some of Ireland's darkest days, that the first spark of the Irish revolt was kindled, says a Daily Mail dispatch from Dublin. On Monday morning the so-called Citizen army held a review in the park, paraded and marched with, leaded rifles and fixed bayonets. Afterward they were addressed by their leaders and marched in flamboyant. well-ordered ranks for the return to Dublin, adds the Mail.
Passing the Vice Regal Lodge in silence, they entered the outskirts of the town where they met some of the troops of the Dublin garrison marching in the opposite direction. Two men in the first rank of the Citizen army levelled their rifles and fired among the soldiers. Two officers and several men fell. The attackers immediately flung up their arms but the soldiers replied, killing three Sinn Feiners.

Signal For Revolt

This was the signal for a general revolt and the news was carried like a flash to the heart of the city. (This may have been a reference to the attempt to blew up the munitions depot in the Phoenix Park) A message to the Royal military barracks brought the first draft of soldiers. Owing to the fact that it was a holiday with races in progress, Dublin was fairly empty.

Resultory firing began in different streets, obviously with the purpose of diverting the attention of the military from the main objects of the rebels attack the post office, hotels in the center of the city, the four courts, St. Stephens Green and Trinity College all of which were soon in the hands of the rebels.

Constant Fusillade of Shots by Rebels Keep Dublin Streets Deserted
By Associated Press London, April 29.

A graphic story lot' the situation in Dublin, as told by I a clergyman who got away from the city by motor to Belfast, is printed in the Daily Telegraph to-day. The clergyman said there was hardly a soul to be seen in the streets of Dublin. The rebels had entrenched themselves in St. Stephens Green over night and on Wednesday morning were blazing away with their rifles. He was unable to discover at what they were firing. All around St. Stephens Green are the houses of gentry, judges and leading governmental officials, while at one corner of the green is the Shelburne Hotel, the occupants all of which are virtually prisoners. At the head of Grafton Street, Dublin's fashionable shopping thoroughfare, the rebels had erected strong barricades. Rows of motorcars, commandeered in the streets the previous day, were thrown across the road, shutting off access to the green.

At Dublin Castle there were few traces of Monday's struggle. The entrance was barred up. It was here that two of the earliest fatalities occurred, the policeman on duty at the gate of the castle and the sentry inside, both being shot dead. (DMP man James O’Brien and Guy Vickery Pinfield)

Shot At All in Uniforms

The offices of the Daily Express and the Evening Mail were early in the hands of the rebels, who utilized them as points of vantage for firing at every man seen in uniform. An establishment on the opposite side of the street also was captured. To reach the city from St. Stephens Green, the clergyman had to proceed by way of York Street, whence it was e easy to go to the quays. There was no traffic south of Four Courts, which were still in the hands of the rebels who could be seen inside wearing their green hats. A hospital close by had been completely wrecked and the inmates made prisoners in the upper rooms. At the general post office a green white and orange flag floated to the breeze. The rebels were still in possession of the building. Sackville Street was a scene of desolation, the sidewalks littered with glass, shops had been looted and their contents carried away in large quantities. Travelling by circuitous route, the clergyman left the city unmolested, and on the way to Belfast turned back a number of motors which were going to Dublin.

SINN FEINERS ARRESTED
By Associated Press Cork. April 29.

A committee of Dublin Sinn Feiners arrived here by automobile Monday and held a secret conference with local leaders. Later the committee was arrested at Limerick by the military before they had a chance to confer with the leaders there.

Brave Little Irish Girl Runs Through Hail of Bullets to Aid Wounded
By Associated Press Holyhead, via London, April 29.

Eye-witnesses arriving here state that when they left Dublin Thursday night Sackville Street was completely in the hands of the rebels and was blockaded with barbed wire entanglements. Hundreds of visitors in the hotels were unable to get away. Looting of shops was in progress in many quarters and the horses were lying dead in the streets. A resident of London returning from Dublin praised the heroism of an Irish girl l5 years old who ran from her home like a deer in the face of a hail of snipers' bullets to rescue wounded soldiers. The informant said: "She grasped a wounded soldier under the arms—a stranger to her, for he had just arrived from England and dragged him to where others stood ready to carry him to a hospital. Then back she ran for another of the stricken soldiers. Her example inspired scores. She repeatedly led nurses and doctors from a hospital almost in a rain of fire from buildings to places where the wounded lay. Loud cheers greeted her.

Emphasizes Organization of Rebels and Efforts of Leaders to Stop Riots
By Associated Press London, April 29.
The Times publishes an account of an eye-witness of the Dublin uprising which emphasizes the excellent organization of the rebels and the fairly successful efforts of the leaders to restrain rioting. This account says:
"Civilians were not molested in the streets and much of the firing was of blank cartridges. There was an effort to show that the movement was strictly military in character and directed only against the government not against the populace. There was a little looting, but only about ten or twenty shops were entered. There was no violence against private persons and as long as you did not wear a uniform you were as safe walking in Dublin streets as in the streets of London.
"This shows a remarkable difference from the Dublin riots two years ago when it was not safe for anybody to walk in the streets for fear of violence. During last Monday's and Tuesday's trouble the populace could go where they liked. There was barbed wire around the past office, but the sentinels made no effort to prevent people who wished to do so from crawling under the barriers.

Seize Money

"On the other hand, it was made clear that anybody in his Majesty's uniform would be shot at sight. Another illustration of the rebels excellent organization was the fact that, although food was commandeered from a big hotel, it was paid for. According to reports, the money came from the post office vaults, where it is alleged a large quantity of new money was seized. We planned to rise simultaneously with our Dublin comrades, but something went wrong with the arrangements said a leader of the Sinn Feiners in Cork in an interview published here today. (The food was paid for was another indication that the rebels conducted themselves in a proper military fashion and that they were soldiers and not a mob or rioters)

Prepared for Anything
"'We might have been in possession of the post office but for the fact that
the military was there first. – added the leader. 'Now I do not think we will rise here, but if they come to demand our arms we shall shoot them. When the news of the Dublin rising trickled through here Monday we all retired to our armoured barracks, loaded our rifles, polished bayonets, set in stores of provisions and prepared for anything. The bishop of Cork and the lord mayor came to the barracks at midnight and demanded admission, which was granted after considerable parley. They implored us to lay down our arms and not to resort to physical force. We refused absolutely. Sorrowfully and with bowed head, the bishop said: "Then I leave you to your fate." We told him we did not fear our fate, whereupon he departed

On Sunday morning the journalists were taken again through the streets to HQ on Parkgate Street and brief by the military. They were told that four hundred and fifty rebels had laid down their arms at the Parnell Statue on Sackville Street. An insurgent Lieutenant and ten men carrying a white flag had entered the city from County Meath with a view to the surrender of their forces in that county. He was given permission to talk to the prisoner Pearse ‘Commandant General of the Republican Army’ in order that the surrender could be confirmed. Afterwards the Lieutenant was allowed return to Meath to make arrangements for his men’s surrender. The journalists were also informed that ‘piles’ of rifles had been gathered up and taken to Dublin Castle.   


The battle for Dublin was over. There was other fighting to be covered and within forty eight hours most of the war correspondents, who made their way to Dublin were back on the Western Front. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Trials of the 1916 Press Pack - Part Five

Excerpt from the book 'The Easter Rising Press Pack' (c) Eddie Bohan

VII
      
Despite the fact that by now the journalists had been issued with Military Passes by the Officer Commanding the North Wall area that would allow them to travel anywhere in the city by early Friday Wilbur Forrest had only reached the Customs House, a couple of hundred yards away from the hotel. He belied his lack of knowledge of the city when he misidentified it as the Four Courts. By early afternoon the ‘guests’ had tired of their confinement and dire warnings about the lack of security around the city. The British were trying to control what news got out. In the afternoon George Leach who had reached the hotel and Forrest evaded British sentries and rebel barricades and meandered their way to the Shelbourne Hotel on St. Stephen’s Green where they had received reports that a female rebel was involved in the fighting.

Captain Butler informed the Foreign Office on April 30th
            ‘we do not know where they are or what they are doing’
As they reached the back of the hotel on Kildare Street, the battle was still raging. The British troops on the roof of the fine building were pouring fire across the twenty two acres of the Green towards the Royal College of Surgeons where Michael Mallin and Countess Markievicz commanded the Irish Citizens army battalion who were forced to abandon their trenches in the Green for the security of a building.

Just as they entered the lobby of the hotel a British major in charge was not pleased with their presence once their identity and papers were checked.
            ‘Get the hell out of here’ he boomed
After some five futile minutes arguing their case that they should be allowed out onto the roof to report the story the two reporters departed the same way they had come in and in defeat headed back towards the North Wall.

They watched as the starving of the city followed them as they walked through the back streets and alleyways occasionally pausing to allow nearby gunfire to cease. Their civilian clothes provided them some immunity especially from any sympathetic Sinn Feiners in upper windows who fired on uniformed soldiers as they struggled to regain control of the city. In one doorway as they hid from the bullets whizzing down the street, they noticed a women huddled with her children in the hallway of a tenement block. She looked gaunt and exhausted. With tears flowing down her wrinkled face even though they guessed she was not that old, the woman cried out
            ‘No food, no food, my God when will it end’
The firing stopped and they left the family to their woes. The two men ducked from doorway to doorway make slow but steady progress. When they eventually returned to the hotel there was some good news as bread would now be served with their evening meal. On several corners they were stopped and questioned by sentries and even on occasions despite their press passes they were thoroughly searched.

Early on Friday morning, another bright sunny day in Dublin while Forrest and Leach dodged the rebel bullet and their dangerous route back to the hotel, six of the journalists were taken in an open military truck that offered them very little protection with a military escort to the British army headquarters at Parkgate Street near the Phoenix Park. This group whose military pass was signed by the British officer commanding the North Wall, Major Harold Somerville, included Berry of AP, Thomas Naylor of the Daily Chronicle, Phillips of the Daily Express, Bidwell representing the British based Press Association wire service and Baldwin Herbert, a war photographer with the Central News Agency. 

While the foreign correspondents enjoyed their meal being handed to them in the hotel dining room, they were probably unaware that two fellow journalists had been summarily executed by a British officer in Portobello Barracks on the Tuesday and the British military were intent on covering the killings up. The two men were thirty eight year old Patrick McIntyre editor of the Searchlight newspaper and thirty one year old Thomas Dickson editor of The Eye Opener magazine in Dublin. He two men had been arrested on the same day as the pacifist Francis Sheehy Skeffington.

In the dining room as if to make a point to the complaining Forrest about their unwelcome entertainment the night before, the Colonel entered with a red haired, black moustached prisoner who he claimed was the sniper who caused them so much hardship the night before. Forrest asked the rebel prisoner if he had realised he was shooting into his hotel room. He said he knew exactly what he was doing and was proud to have participated in Ireland’s bid for liberty. He only lamented that he wasn’t more accurate with his Russian made rifle. Feeling assured that night, Forrest and Berry retired to their candle lit room. They ambled about their room safe in the knowledge that they had seen the face of their adversary and now all was under control.      

The two journalists worked for a while on their respective typewriters writing their version of events, sharing their stories, Forrest having been in the thick of the action in St Stephens Green and writing about the female rebel and how she is reported to have shot a policeman dead in the early hours of the rebellion and Berry was recounting the meeting in the Vice Regal lodge. They were just about to retire to their beds when a bullet crashed through what little glass panels there was in their bedroom window and missed Forrest by just a couple of life saving inches. Immediately once again they grabbed their mattresses from the bed and settled on the floor under the window sill.

By Saturday morning the British noose around the rebels was tightening and the rebellion was crumbling. Later that evening the first of the rebel prisoners following Patrick Pearse’s surrender were marched down the North Wall passed the journalists hotel. They were to be transported in cattle ships to England and Wales for internment. Forrest reported
‘They were the rank and file of the succession movement. Here some of the low brow of the slums of Dublin indiscriminately mixed with their leaders. But standing out like brilliant lights in the slow moving columns were idealist type, the intellectual, the College professor, the patriot and the martyr glorying in his captivity.’

Percival Phillips described the prisoner movement
‘the people in the street watched the prisoners pass without any demonstration save an old woman spat at them and called them dirty dogs’
(Despatches from the World)

That morning a group of them were taken by motorcar through the disturbed streets of the city via the North Circular Road into the Phoenix Park arriving at the Vice Regal lodge and a press briefing from the King’s representative in Ireland the Viceroy Ivor Guest, Lord Wimbourne. Included in that group was Berry from AP and the INS correspondent Sidney Cave.
Following the meeting in the Vice Regal Lodge with the press pack Captain Butler reported that
            ‘the US journalists heckled poor Birrell and the Lord Lieutenant with alarming acrimony.’

VIII

So how did they report it to the press Stateside? Robert Berry of AP, whose piece was carried by the Bismarck Daily Tribune of Dakota on April 30th 1916 reported

‘Dublin, April 29.—-Baron Wimbourne, lord lieutenant, of Ireland, expressed to the Associated Press at the Vice Regal lodge today, the assurance that, the seditions movement, would be suppressed in the course of a few days. The Viceroy was full of praise for the loyalty displayed by the great majority of private people and consid­ers the momentary success gained and the damage done by the rebels as small, when viewed in connection with the surprise of the outbreak and the evident preparation made for it. The country outside of Dublin, ex­cept for a few isolated places, has, he declared, remained peaceful.

Baron Wimbourne, when requested to give an account of what had happened, since the Irish rebels had pro­claimed an Irish republic last Mon­day afternoon, said:
"The outbreak began Monday morn­ing at about 11:30 o'clock. About that time information was received that Dublin had been attacked, St. Steven's green occupied and the post office seized by the rebels. Telephon­ic communication with the Curragh camp was immediately obtained by the authorities, and the reserve troops there were brought into Dublin that night and the following morning.

Sniping Operations
"On Tuesday morning all the re­inforcements we had called for from Curragh had reached Dublin, and since that moment the rebels have not attempted anything except snip­ing from certain houses and locali­ties. It is so easy for them to aban­don houses by back doors and away to other advantageous positions. The military cannot distinguish the rebels from other citizens. Some­ times they reach the houses after hid­ing their rifles and cartridges and mingle with the ordinary inhabitants. As a matter of fact, the general run of people do not sympathize with them. In the early stages of the revolt, the Sinn-Feiners fired on the mem­bers of the fire brigade, but later we cleared the area around the fires and the fires and the firemen were able to extinguish the flames. Regarding the situation in the provinces on the whole, it is very good.

No German Supplies.
"As to the landing of Sir Roger Casement.'' said Baron Wimbourne, "that, was arranged in Germany with the connivance of the Sinn-Feiners. On the night of his arrest, a motor car upset in the river and the occu­pants who were drowned both wore Sinn-Feiner badges. The Germans do not seem to have supplied the rebels with arms which are of all descriptions, including fouling pieces. A proclamation issued by the rebels announcing the foundation of the Irish republic, was signed by seven persons, including Clark. Connolly, Pearce and Mac Dermott."

Post office Burned.
Field Marshal Viscount' French, commander of the Home forces, re­ports that the general post office at Dublin, which has been the principal stronghold of the Sinn-Feiners, has been burned down. Connolly, one of the leaders of the rebels, is reported to have been killed. Many of the rebels have been tak­en prisoners and the move in Dublin is on the verge of collapse. In the rest of Ireland, the situation is gen­erally satisfactory.

The newspaper added though under a piece titled ‘Rebellion Not Quelled.’


‘Official statements were lacking during the day, regarding the situ­ation in Dublin. New dispatches re­ported the military gaining the ascend­ency, but with the rebels still in pos­session of important points, all of which, however, were declared to be commanded by the regulars. Fires of a serious nature have broken out, according to the current telegrams, and street fighting is continuing.’

The Trials of the 1916 Press Pack - Part Four

Excerpt from the book 'The Easter Rising Press Pack' (c) Eddie Bohan

VII
      
Despite the fact that by now the journalists had been issued with Military Passes by the Officer Commanding the North Wall area that would allow them to travel anywhere in the city by early Friday Wilbur Forrest had only reached the Customs House, a couple of hundred yards away from the hotel. He belied his lack of knowledge of the city when he misidentified it as the Four Courts. By early afternoon the ‘guests’ had tired of their confinement and dire warnings about the lack of security around the city. The British were trying to control what news got out. In the afternoon George Leach who had reached the hotel and Forrest evaded British sentries and rebel barricades and meandered their way to the Shelbourne Hotel on St. Stephen’s Green where they had received reports that a female rebel was involved in the fighting.

Captain Butler informed the Foreign Office on April 30th
            ‘we do not know where they are or what they are doing’
As they reached the back of the hotel on Kildare Street, the battle was still raging. The British troops on the roof of the fine building were pouring fire across the twenty two acres of the Green towards the Royal College of Surgeons where Michael Mallin and Countess Markievicz commanded the Irish Citizens army battalion who were forced to abandon their trenches in the Green for the security of a building.

Just as they entered the lobby of the hotel a British major in charge was not pleased with their presence once their identity and papers were checked.
            ‘Get the hell out of here’ he boomed
After some five futile minutes arguing their case that they should be allowed out onto the roof to report the story the two reporters departed the same way they had come in and in defeat headed back towards the North Wall.

They watched as the starving of the city followed them as they walked through the back streets and alleyways occasionally pausing to allow nearby gunfire to cease. Their civilian clothes provided them some immunity especially from any sympathetic Sinn Feiners in upper windows who fired on uniformed soldiers as they struggled to regain control of the city. In one doorway as they hid from the bullets whizzing down the street, they noticed a women huddled with her children in the hallway of a tenement block. She looked gaunt and exhausted. With tears flowing down her wrinkled face even though they guessed she was not that old, the woman cried out
            ‘No food, no food, my God when will it end’
The firing stopped and they left the family to their woes. The two men ducked from doorway to doorway make slow but steady progress. When they eventually returned to the hotel there was some good news as bread would now be served with their evening meal. On several corners they were stopped and questioned by sentries and even on occasions despite their press passes they were thoroughly searched.

Early on Friday morning, another bright sunny day in Dublin while Forrest and Leach dodged the rebel bullet and their dangerous route back to the hotel, six of the journalists were taken in an open military truck that offered them very little protection with a military escort to the British army headquarters at Parkgate Street near the Phoenix Park. This group whose military pass was signed by the British officer commanding the North Wall, Major Harold Somerville, included Berry of AP, Thomas Naylor of the Daily Chronicle, Phillips of the Daily Express, Bidwell representing the British based Press Association wire service and Baldwin Herbert, a war photographer with the Central News Agency. 

While the foreign correspondents enjoyed their meal being handed to them in the hotel dining room, they were probably unaware that two fellow journalists had been summarily executed by a British officer in Portobello Barracks on the Tuesday and the British military were intent on covering the killings up. The two men were thirty eight year old Patrick McIntyre editor of the Searchlight newspaper and thirty one year old Thomas Dickson editor of The Eye Opener magazine in Dublin. He two men had been arrested on the same day as the pacifist Francis Sheehy Skeffington.

In the dining room as if to make a point to the complaining Forrest about their unwelcome entertainment the night before, the Colonel entered with a red haired, black moustached prisoner who he claimed was the sniper who caused them so much hardship the night before. Forrest asked the rebel prisoner if he had realised he was shooting into his hotel room. He said he knew exactly what he was doing and was proud to have participated in Ireland’s bid for liberty. He only lamented that he wasn’t more accurate with his Russian made rifle. Feeling assured that night, Forrest and Berry retired to their candle lit room. They ambled about their room safe in the knowledge that they had seen the face of their adversary and now all was under control.      

The two journalists worked for a while on their respective typewriters writing their version of events, sharing their stories, Forrest having been in the thick of the action in St Stephens Green and writing about the female rebel and how she is reported to have shot a policeman dead in the early hours of the rebellion and Berry was recounting the meeting in the Vice Regal lodge. They were just about to retire to their beds when a bullet crashed through what little glass panels there was in their bedroom window and missed Forrest by just a couple of life saving inches. Immediately once again they grabbed their mattresses from the bed and settled on the floor under the window sill.

By Saturday morning the British noose around the rebels was tightening and the rebellion was crumbling. Later that evening the first of the rebel prisoners following Patrick Pearse’s surrender were marched down the North Wall passed the journalists hotel. They were to be transported in cattle ships to England and Wales for internment. Forrest reported
‘They were the rank and file of the succession movement. Here some of the low brow of the slums of Dublin indiscriminately mixed with their leaders. But standing out like brilliant lights in the slow moving columns were idealist type, the intellectual, the College professor, the patriot and the martyr glorying in his captivity.’

Percival Phillips described the prisoner movement
‘the people in the street watched the prisoners pass without any demonstration save an old woman spat at them and called them dirty dogs’
(Despatches from the World)

That morning a group of them were taken by motorcar through the disturbed streets of the city via the North Circular Road into the Phoenix Park arriving at the Vice Regal lodge and a press briefing from the King’s representative in Ireland the Viceroy Ivor Guest, Lord Wimbourne. Included in that group was Berry from AP and the INS correspondent Sidney Cave.
Following the meeting in the Vice Regal Lodge with the press pack Captain Butler reported that
            ‘the US journalists heckled poor Birrell and the Lord Lieutenant with alarming acrimony.’

VIII

So how did they report it to the press Stateside? Robert Berry of AP, whose piece was carried by the Bismarck Daily Tribune of Dakota on April 30th 1916 reported

‘Dublin, April 29.—-Baron Wimbourne, lord lieutenant, of Ireland, expressed to the Associated Press at the Vice Regal lodge today, the assurance that, the seditions movement, would be suppressed in the course of a few days. The Viceroy was full of praise for the loyalty displayed by the great majority of private people and consid­ers the momentary success gained and the damage done by the rebels as small, when viewed in connection with the surprise of the outbreak and the evident preparation made for it. The country outside of Dublin, ex­cept for a few isolated places, has, he declared, remained peaceful.

Baron Wimbourne, when requested to give an account of what had happened, since the Irish rebels had pro­claimed an Irish republic last Mon­day afternoon, said:
"The outbreak began Monday morn­ing at about 11:30 o'clock. About that time information was received that Dublin had been attacked, St. Steven's green occupied and the post office seized by the rebels. Telephon­ic communication with the Curragh camp was immediately obtained by the authorities, and the reserve troops there were brought into Dublin that night and the following morning.

Sniping Operations
"On Tuesday morning all the re­inforcements we had called for from Curragh had reached Dublin, and since that moment the rebels have not attempted anything except snip­ing from certain houses and locali­ties. It is so easy for them to aban­don houses by back doors and away to other advantageous positions. The military cannot distinguish the rebels from other citizens. Some­ times they reach the houses after hid­ing their rifles and cartridges and mingle with the ordinary inhabitants. As a matter of fact, the general run of people do not sympathize with them. In the early stages of the revolt, the Sinn-Feiners fired on the mem­bers of the fire brigade, but later we cleared the area around the fires and the fires and the firemen were able to extinguish the flames. Regarding the situation in the provinces on the whole, it is very good.

No German Supplies.
"As to the landing of Sir Roger Casement.'' said Baron Wimbourne, "that, was arranged in Germany with the connivance of the Sinn-Feiners. On the night of his arrest, a motor car upset in the river and the occu­pants who were drowned both wore Sinn-Feiner badges. The Germans do not seem to have supplied the rebels with arms which are of all descriptions, including fouling pieces. A proclamation issued by the rebels announcing the foundation of the Irish republic, was signed by seven persons, including Clark. Connolly, Pearce and Mac Dermott."

Post office Burned.
Field Marshal Viscount' French, commander of the Home forces, re­ports that the general post office at Dublin, which has been the principal stronghold of the Sinn-Feiners, has been burned down. Connolly, one of the leaders of the rebels, is reported to have been killed. Many of the rebels have been tak­en prisoners and the move in Dublin is on the verge of collapse. In the rest of Ireland, the situation is gen­erally satisfactory.

The newspaper added though under a piece titled ‘Rebellion Not Quelled.’


‘Official statements were lacking during the day, regarding the situ­ation in Dublin. New dispatches re­ported the military gaining the ascend­ency, but with the rebels still in pos­session of important points, all of which, however, were declared to be commanded by the regulars. Fires of a serious nature have broken out, according to the current telegrams, and street fighting is continuing.’

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Trials of the 1916 Press Pack - Part Three

Wilbur Forrest decided to go over to the railway terminus hoping to find some eye witness accounts. He crossed Watling Street, now a cul de sac toward the curved front of the railway building. Rebel snipers opened fire on their quarry as he crossed the street. His trip back was negotiated faster, taking a running start from the cover of the entrance. The rebel was a second too late, the bullet hitting the street behind Forrest. It was almost a sporting event.

The rebel kept firing this time aiming at the static hotel building pot marking the outside wall. The Colonel decided to place a number of soldiers on the roof to return fire but rather than eliminating the sniper’s fire, it concentrated the rebel fire on the enemy station on the roof. But the sniper was in no way accurate with shots crashing through doors and windows sending those inside diving for cover and moving towards the back of the building.

The British military spin doctors arrived at the hotel to brief the holed up and bored pressmen but information was light and was not tallying with some of the first hand accounts they had already gleaned from locals and soldiers. The Foreign Office had continually pressed for more details of the Rising but rigid War office censorship not only prevented the rebels getting their interpretation on the Dublin troubles but also stifled much potential propaganda. There was an internal British government conflict. There was a lack of or tardiness in issuing military passes to the journalists. Colonel Warburton Davies of the War Office wrote to Hubert Montgomery
‘There appears to be a great deal of trouble as a result of the American correspondents’ trip to Dublin. We propose to put it down to the Foreign Office.’
  
Captain Butler also reported to the Foreign Office that the lack of proper reporting facilities such as access to telegraph or telephone was depriving the journalists of a scoop. The short briefing seemed to take to tracts, firstly the military attempted to portray the barbarity of the rebels while on the other hand they were lauding themselves at the leniency in how the rebellion was being quashed.
The battle between news giving and news withholding was raging within the British Government and press

‘Britain holds the record as the worst press agent of the allies and many things could be disclosed which could establish once and for all the predominant part she is playing in the war and go far to remove the impression also in neutral states that she is experiencing a bad time’
wrote W Orton Tewson in the San Antonio Express April 30th 1916

Phillip Gibbs of the New York Times wrote in his paper that it was a ‘splendid coincidence’ that on the night when Sinn Fein were ‘trying to besmirch the honour of Ireland on the streets of Dublin, Irish battalions at the front on France were on the fighting line and by great gallantry gave proof of the world that the heart of Ireland was loyal’ In the midst of the Rising 538 Irishmen many of them Dubliners died at Hulluch when the Germans launched a poison gas attack.  

But the street, house to house fighting in Dublin was different to the open field battles of the Western Front, this was urban warfare many of whom had never experienced this kind of close quarter combat before. From the roof they press were able to identify the green flag with the golden harp hoisted above the distillery beside the Victoria Bridge on the Ringsend Road. The men had a ringside view of the British artillery targeting the distillery that despite the flag flying from its roof was now empty with the rebels having been withdrawn to Boland’s Mills.

In Forrest’s despatch printed in the Pittsburgh Press on Sunday April 30th he reported,
“A naval destroyer landed a party of correspondents from England at 7am, Thursday at the North Wall Quay almost in the heart of the ‘war zone’ and within a stone’s throw of Liberty Hall former headquarters of the Sinn Feiners which was literally blown to bits by naval guns at 1pm.

We watched the bombardment from a window on the third floor of a hotel. Naval patrol boats swinging in close to shore sent shells screaming into the city bringing the rebel strongholds crashing down with loud roars.

One shell blew a great hole in the side of the Dublin City Distillery where a large number of Sinn Feiners had congregated. In response the rebels ran up the flag of the new Irish Republic, green and gold emblazoned with a harp. Another shell hit the distillery and the rebels burst from the doors in mad flight.

The fighting Thursday was the most desperate of the week. The rebels knowing that surrender meant the enforcement of the death penalty for treason fought like cornered rats. The Government troops in no mood for gentle handling of the rioters attacked fiercely.

Soldiers were posted in large force along the quays and in the warehouses across the street from our hotel answering with sharp volleys to the sniping rebels. Shells from the British 18 pounders were bursting accurately against the walls and roofs of several buildings held by the Sinn Feiners. Through binoculars we watched from the roof of our hotel successive infantry attacks as the Government troops charged against the rebel barricades. The fighting was so near we could pick out with ease individuals in the struggling groups.

Many of the British soldiers facing fire for the first time in their lives displayed the greatest daring in charging the rebel positions in the face of hot fire.

When dawn broke on Friday the ruins of Liberty hall and other buildings wrecked by artillery or burned to the ground were clearly visible. The general post office and custom house seemed unscathed by the flames.

Only intermittent firing was heard after breakfast and a party of correspondents accompanied by a British Officer attempted a tour of the business district near the battle zone. The sniping became too hot and the party retreated.” 

Forrest reported that it was ‘shell number thirty eight’ that eventually felled the rebel flag. Their attention was then turned to the right and the area around the rebel headquarters as nightfall fell on the Thursday smoke was giving way to flames licking the sky illuminating the city centre as nightfall set in.

It was the reflection of many of these experienced journalists that the rebellion had been well planned and under the noses of the British authorities.

VI

Thursday night arrived and Forrest was sharing a third floor room with Berry at the front of the hotel. They had eventually got some copy away out of Dublin, how long it would take to get to London was another matter. A military tug had arrived in port to deliver military despatches and it returned the typewritten reports across the Irish Sea. The electricity in the hotel had been cut and light was now provided by candle. There was a single candle in each room. Forrest and Berry had just turned in as it had been a long forty eight hours since they met at Paddington Station. Tiredness had enveloped the two reporters. Just as Forrest was about to snuff out the candle a bullet
‘buzzed through the window in the manner of a bumble bee in a hurry’ striking the back wall of the bedroom. Another quickly followed and the two men tumbled from their beds to the relative safety of the carpeted floor. As they waiting for the next shot they noticed one of the fired bullets on the floor having failed to penetrate the wall.

They pulled their mattresses from the beds and lay beneath the window sill. Forrest decided to test the rebel sniper’s accuracy. Using the light from the candle, he placed his brimmed hat on his cane which he famously took everywhere and waved it in front of the window drawing fire from the rebel sniper located a couple of hundred yards away. His firing was not accurate whether it was a lack of experience or poor weaponry the men could only speculate. Only one more bullet penetrated their room, the rest cannoning off the brickwork outside. They were baiting the rebel into wasting ammunition and he eventually tired and the shooting stopped. Berry blew out the candle and the two men slept the night on the floor.

When the men made their way down to breakfast early on the Friday morning they complained sarcastically to the Irish born Colonel that it was an outrage to allow a sniper to interrupt their nights sleep but another new problem was to face the journalists that morning, one that faced the entire city, a food shortage. The only food available in the hotel was some cod fish that had been landed further down the quay. To wash it down there was a small supply of port wine from the cellar. There was no milk and the water supply had been interrupted. The British reporter from the Manchester Guardian stated
            ‘as evidence of food shortages, it is only necessary to state we were served roast beef and potatoes for luncheon and dinner and this for four days running’.

Arthur Draper reported that when the fish had been landed the evening before a number of women draped in their shawls gathered around the trawler when they were fired upon by rebel forces in Boland’s Mills. A British soldier with the women waited for a second volley of shots to identify the origin of the mussel flashes and he immediately returned fire silencing the sniper and allowing the women to collect their much needed yet meagre food supply.

The reporters watched as a local bakery was cleared by British soldiers and the ovens fired up to begin producing bread again. Once the bakery was producing bread local women and children who had now struggled for food for four days and ravenous with the hunger queued outside in an orderly fashion desperate for a small ration. There was constant fire from the rebels with Forrest reporting that two children were hit, killing one of them.

More U.S. correspondents arrived on the Friday of the rebellion landing at Rosslare, County Wexford. Among them was Vermont born Dewitt McKenzie and the Canadian war correspondent Frederick McKenzie (no relation to Dewitt). The Quebec born reporter writing for The Star in Toronto, he was definitely not a friend of the rebel cause. He suggested that support for the rebels came from three classes of people, the old irreconcilables, the young intellectuals and Dublin’s Labour movement. He reported that ‘The Irish Volunteer’ newspaper edited by Irish Volunteer leader Eoin McNeill in its April 22nd edition before the rebellion dealt with how insurgents could hold a crossroads during guerrilla warfare. It contained he said ‘full practical instructions in Civil War’. He found his way to the hotel with the rest of the correspondents.

He ventured out onto the North Wall Quay where a troop of Crown soldiers were behind a row of wooden beer barrels returning fire towards the gas works and Boland’s Mills on the southside of the Liffey. He reported from behind the barricade with enemy fire passing overhead
            ‘our boys had machine guns’.

He later visited Sackville Street ruined by flames and looting.
            ‘The heart of one of our great cities wrecked by the work of our own people’.
Back in the hotel someone had a copy of the Proclamation, one of the few not in military hands and already the holder was asking for £250 for the sale of this historical document.

He also reported some hearsay accounts from St Stephens Green where Countess Markievicz, he told his readers was in a green military man’s uniform. He reported on what happened to British prisoners of war in the Royal College of Surgeons.
‘‘They’re going to shoot us old man whatever we do’ a young NCO said to a fellow prisoner. ‘We might as well have a good time while we can’
He started chatting to the rebel women cooking the meals. Chatting led to kissing. The Countess was horrified when she saw the young soldiers arm around the girls waist. The girls were banished to another part of the building by Markievicz but they crept back to enjoy the company of the POW’s’


McKenzie believed that the right place for a war correspondent is where he can see what he is supposed to describe. What many of the correspondents did manage to see was a copy of the new Republic’s own newspaper The Irish War News. The four page publication first hit the streets on the Tuesday of Easter Week. Two journalist and printers were in the GPO when it was seized and Patrick Pearse knowing their backgrounds detailed the two men to seize a printing press and publish the new states’ first newspaper. Waterford born James Upton, an editor at the Kilkenny Journal and Joseph Stanley who was the man behind the printing of The Spark at Liberty Hall left the rebel headquarters and seized James O’Keefe’s printing press at Halston Street. There with the assistance of Mathew Walker and his son Charlie, Tom Ryan and James O’Sullivan, 12,000 copies rolled off the presses. The front page article written by Patrick Pearse was titled ‘If The Germans Conquered England’. The back page contained a ‘Stop Press’ column that announced that a new Republic had been declared and the provisional Government members were named.