A timeline of events during Easter Week in 1916

We look at the timeline of events during Easter Week in 1916.

A timeline of events during Easter Week in 1916

Monday

The Irish Republican Brotherhood had Irish Volunteers senior officer Bulmer Hobson detained over the weekend, fearing he might warn British authorities about a Rising he opposed in the present circumstances.

After deciding the day before, on Easter Sunday, to proceed with the Rising despite Eoin MacNeill’s countermanding order, those planning the rebellion had Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army members assemble at Liberty Hall and other places in Dublin city.

Eoin MacNeill
Eoin MacNeill

12pm:

Irish Volunteers, Irish Citizen Army, Fianna Éireann and Cumann na mBan and other groups began to occupy buildings around Dublin, The Rising had begun.

Volunteers parade in front of Tom Clarke and James Connolly in a scene from 1966 RTÉ drama Insurrection.
Volunteers parade in front of Tom Clarke and James Connolly in a scene from 1966 RTÉ drama Insurrection.

At the GPO on Sackville St (now O’Connell St), Citizen Army commandant James Connolly was in charge of the Army of the Irish Republic. Other sites occupied included:

  • Four Courts area of north inner city (Edward Daly);
  • Jacob’s Biscuit Factory in south inner city (Thomas MacDonagh);
  • Boland’s Mill on south-east of city (Éamon de Valera);
  • South Dublin Union (Éamonn Ceannt);
  • St Stephen’s Green in south inner city (Michael Mallin, Citizen Army).

12.17pm

A magazine fort in the Phoenix Park, north-west of the city, was attacked.

12.45pm

Patrick Pearse stood outside the GPO and read aloud the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, to mostly confused and disinterested onlookers.

The 1916 Proclamation readout at the GPO by Captain Peter Kelleher during the recent centenary commemorations.
The 1916 Proclamation readout at the GPO by Captain Peter Kelleher during the recent centenary commemorations.

1.15pm

Forces inside the GPO killed four lancers, members of the 6th Reserve Cavalry sent to the scene, on Sackville Street. The Volunteers began to erect barricades and secure bridges around the city.

1.20pm

The Irish Citizen Army tried to gain access to Dublin Castle, administrative centre of the British authorities in Ireland, but failed. Citizen Army leader Sean Connolly shot dead unarmed policeman James O’Brien and the troops instead took over City Hall next to the castle. Soon after, Connolly was hit by enemy fire and killed.

Late afternoon

Looting had already begun in the city centre, as military reinforcements from the Curragh in Co Kildare had arrived into Dublin.

8pm

While British forces had already begun attacking City Hall in Dublin, Cork Brigade commanders Tomás MacCurtain and Terence MacSwiney arrived back to Cork city. After standing down more than 1,000 Volunteers the day before in the belief that the Rising was cancelled, they heard of a message from Pearse that had arrived earlier on Monday: “We start at noon today. P. H. Pearse.”

By this time, with Volunteers back in their respective company areas, local military and police were already surrounding Volunteers Hall in city centre after learning of Rising. started in Dublin.

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