Thoughts on Easter Week – The Way We Were

With all the historical revisionism that’s going on about the Easter rising, let’s see the immediate  reaction in contemporary English and Irish sources.

Let’s see whether the refrain “Dubliners didn’t support the Rising” was just British propaganda of the time, which persists to this very day, 100 years later.

sylvia pankhurst

Justice can make but one reply to the Irish rebellion, and that is to demand that Ireland shall be allowed to, govern herself.

patricia lynch
Patricia Lynch,  sent to Dublin in 1916 by Sylvia Pankhurst to report on the Easter Rising for The Workers’ Dreadnought.

 “In Ireland the attitude towards the rebels taken by many, even of those who condemn the rising, is one of esteem, admiration and love”.

A correspondent who lived on Dublin’s Navan Road as a little girl told how she had seen a fleet of cars carrying wounded men and was extremely upset asking the local people what was wrong.

Don’t worry. They are great heroes and are fighting for Irish freedom’ she was told.

english lady
English lady

“The Irish people are inconsiderate, as usual, to start their revolution when other folk were beginning their holiday”

dublin lady 1916
Dublin  Lady

How dare those poor women  exchange their rags for silken dresses from ruined shops”.

sergeant wwi

British Army Sergeant

“months after the end of the Rising, flower sellers and paper vendors round the pillar, sported fur coats and bejewelled fingers, which in the usual way, they could never have bought with the profits from their flower selling.”

the times

“a brutal, bloody and savage rebellion.”


Field Marshal Viscount French, commander-in-chief, home forces,

A show of force will do good”.

patricia lynch

“The rebels, untrained men, women and boys, had for arms only “a job lot of rifles,” whilst the authorities opposed them with machine guns, bombs, bayonets, and cannon”.

devalera surrenders
Devalera looked like a king when he came out, defeated but unsubdued

Moore St
last stand
When the end came and the fire drove the garrison out, they sought to escape by rushing in a body from the rear of the building. The street at the back bends a little, and beyond the bend was a machine-gun, which, as soon as the rout began, discharged its volleys into the fleeing rebels.”

horror girl 2
To turn machine guns on them and they running away!”

easter widow
The English don’t hate the Germans the way they hate us.

waitress 1914
a waitress

They don’t shoot German prisoners, although they call them ‘Huns’ and ‘baby-killers’: they only shoot our brave Irish boys”

‘The Irish Rebellion’ ( London in 1916),

Canadian journalist F. A. McKenzie, who was not sympathetic to the Rising, wrote:

I have read many accounts of public feeling in Dublin in these days. They are all agreed that the open and strong sympathy of the mass of the population was with the British troops. That this was so in the better parts of the city I have no doubt, but certainly what I myself saw in the poorer districts did not confirm this. 

“It rather indicated that there was a vast amount of sympathy after the rebels were defeated. The sentences of the courts martial deepened this sympathy.

dublin people 1916

On the destruction of Dublin

The bombardment of the centre of the city seemed an act of gratuitous vandalism and vengeance on the people of Dublin”

“The Germans could do no worse!”

You’ll find the full reports hereù

Refs and Pics

The “denizens of the slums” and looting during the Easter Rising.

1916 in the de Valera papers

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