Beer and spirits was at the heart of events in 1916. Proclamation signatory Sean McDermott once worked as a barman in
Belfast before turning
his attention to more pressing matters. The rebels managed not to seize British
Army barracks around the city or even the seat of The British Government in Ireland,
but did capture The Watkins Brewery on Dublin Castle Ardee Street, The Jameson Distillery,
Roe’s Distillery, Dublin City Distillery, and the Barmack Brewery and many
The Watkins Brewery raiding party was led by the teetotaller Con Colbert who was subsequently executed in the aftermath of the Rising. The brewery was unprotected except for a yard manager and was quickly captured by twenty rebels and the only counter attack they suffered from Monday to Wednesday was a large group of angry women, the wives and families of Irishmen serving in the British army, who demanded that the rebels go home ‘to their mammy’s and daddy’s’.
The Marrowbone Lane Distillery where Jameson whiskey was produced in great quantity was captured by Captain Seamus Murphy and his men. The military advantage of the distillery was the height of the chimneys and warehouses.
A section from Eamonn Ceannt’s 4th Battalion seized Roe’s Distillery located at
on James’s Street.
Barmack’s Distillery on Mount
Lane off Clanbrassil
Street was seized by Captain Henderson. Despite
the seizure of all these distilleries there was very little drunkenness from
the rebels but much of the stock was looted by the poor of the city.
The Dublin City Distillery on
Pearse Street was seized by Captain
Cullen as part of Eamonn DeValera’s battalion who captured Boland’s Mill.
DeValera hoisted the Irish flag, then a green flag with a gold Brian Boru harp
at its centre on top of the Distillery. The British artillery and gunboat Helga
shelled the distillery believing that this was the rebels’ location but
DeValera was located in the bakery watching the British destroy the wrong