An ongoing and chronological look back at 1916 and some of the behind the scenes planning of the Rising which was certainly "NOT in the news" of the time.
This is how the last week before the Rising transpired — with confusion, tragedy and conflicting orders
Monday, April 17
- Seán MacDiarmada, Éamon de Valera and W T Cosgrave met at 9pm in the Irish Volunteers headquarters in Dublin’s Dawson St. As a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) Military Council planning to start the Rising the next Sunday, and a signatory to the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, MacDiarmada would be executed after the rebellion was quashed. Both de Valera and Cosgrave would also be sentenced to death but those sentences were commuted.
- MacDiarmada visited fellow Military Council member Tom Clarke’s shop on Parnell Street, as did future President of Ireland Seán T Ó Ceallaigh.
- At 41 Rutland Square (Parnell Square today), Dublin Metropolitan Police noted “about 40” Irish Volunteers drilling without rifles, with “extremist” suspects Joseph McGuinness, Frank Fahy. and Charles Kickham in attendance.
- Kickham was earlier seen at Volunteers headquarters with Diarmuid Lynch, Michael O’Hanrahan, and Herbert Mellows. Like de Valera, Lynch’s US citizenship would help him avoid execution later; O’Hanrahan was not as fortunate.
Tuesday, April 18
- The wording of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic was finalised at 21 Henry St, a restaurant owned by Jenny and John Wyse Power. Ms Wyse Power was first president of women’s auxiliary organisation to the Irish Volunteers, Cumann na mBan.
Wednesday April 19
- The ‘Castle document’ was read out at a meeting of Dublin Castle, prompting Irish Volunteers chief-of-staff Eoin MacNeill to issue orders that Volunteers be prepared to resist attempts to suppress the movement.
- The first of several dispatches from Dublin arrived to Irish Volunteers’ Cork Brigade commandant Tomás MacCurtain from Bridget Foley, Cumann na mBan. Its contents unknown, it was already the second to be sent from Seán MacDiarmada to Cork in three days.
Thursday, April 20
- MacNeill’s order arrived in Cork, telling MacCurtain only to take action in defence of men and weapons.
- The Aud
arrived in the late afternoon in Tralee bay but the expected signal from dry land to bring the vessel into Fenit pier to land the guns never arrived. A message had reached Berlin advising that the boat was not to arrive until Easter Sunday evening but, with no radio on board the Aud
, it could not be relayed to the ship’s captain Karl Spindler.
Friday, April 21
Saturday, April 22
- As Spindler scuttled the Aud
on its way into Cork Harbour at Daunt’s Rock, details reached Dublin of its capture and Roger Casement’s arrest in Kerry. On hearing these developments, MacNeill changed his mind and issued further orders for regional commanders, effectively cancelling the Rising: “Volunteers deceived. All orders for to-morrow Sunday are entirely cancelled.”
Sunday, April 23
- As MacNeill’s countermanding order reached Volunteers Brigade chiefs, the IRB Military Council met at Liberty Hall. It was decided to reschedule for midday on Monday instead, and orders were despatched again to regional Volunteers officers.
- Uncertain of the situation after receiving MacNeill’s countermanding order, Cork Brigade commandant Tomás MacCurtain allowed mobilisations go ahead. Originally intended to collect their portion of the arms from the Germans, the movements saw more than 1,000 Volunteers move to eight main rallying points. They were all sent home again before evening unaware of events about to begin in Dublin the next day.
— compiled by Niall Murray