Easter Monday in Dublin …A stroll in Stephen’s Green

There is a song that goes :

For Dublin can be heaven
With coffee at eleven
And a stroll in Stephen’s Green.

Such was the case for us on Easter Monday 2016, as we ambled about ‘The Green’ as it is known. We were in Dublin, Ireland’s Capital City, for events commemorating the Rising against British rule in Ireland, which took place on Easter Monday April 24 1916. St Stephen’s Green, a beautiful Victorian park in the centre of Dublin was one of the pivotal sites seized by the Irish Citizen’s Army on that fateful day. Under the command of Michael Mallin, the Green was seized, trenches were dug and barricades were erected.

Shelbourne Hotel as seen from inside Stephens Green

Shelbourne Hotel as seen from inside Stephens Green- Image Library of Congress.

On that evening the British Army moved troops into The Shelbourne Hotel and the nearby Hibernian Club, and on the next day from these vantage points, they fired down on the rebels in the Green. It is said that fire was temporarily halted to allow the Green’s groundsman feed the local ducks! The Irish Rebels eventually had to retreat to the nearby Royal College of Surgeons which had been occupied by Irish Citizen Army forces, led by Commandant Mallin and Countess Markievicz.  After surrendering on 29 April,both were tried and sentenced to death. Mallin was executed while Markievicz’s sentence was commuted.

The \fusiliers Arch at Stephens Green with bullet damage from British trioops who were firing on insurgents in the Green

The Fusiliers Arch at Stephens Green with bullet damage from British troops who were firing on insurgents at the Royal College of Surgeons.

All was quiet on Monday as we commemorated those events from almost a century ago.

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Events in the Green included concerts and a vintage circus, all of which took place in beautiful springtime sunshine, with families and individuals lapping up the atmosphere.

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Outside the buildings were draped for the occasion

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The Royal College of Surgeons, where insurgents were based in 1916

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The lovely Unitarian Church on Stephens Green

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Damian Shiels, historian,outside the Royal College of Surgeons where he was scheduled to deliver a talk in the Reflecting the Rising series to commemorate the events of 1916.

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Postboxes were painted red for the commemoration, reverting to the British mailbox colour. Irish post boxes are green nowadays.

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People wandered about having a good time. The Irish flag is green, white and orange, although we often see green, white and gold flags, which are incorrect. The green white and orange is an all inclusive flag that symbolises peace between the green, Catholic Irish and Protestant Irish, represented by the orange.

Back in The Green,these two memorial busts epitomize for me the discourse that is Ireland, the contentious issues that to this day divide. To me they are powerful in that these memorials stand as equals in one of Ireland’s most prestigious sites, one that was pivotal on that Easter Monday in 1916.

On the left is Tom Kettle, who having joined the Irish Volunteers went on to enlist in the British Army (Ireland was at that time part of Britian and tens of thousands went to war in British uniforms). He was killed at Ginchy, during the Battle of the Somme in September 1916. On the right is the revolutionary nationalist Constance Markievicz a suffragette and a socialist, who was on active service at Stephens Green on Easter Monday 1916. I love that they are both of equal stature in this very special place. It was a good day to be strolling in Stephen’s Green.

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12 Comments

Filed under Celebrations in Ireland, Ireland, Irish at War, Irish Culture, Irish Heritage, Irish History, Living in Ireland

12 responses to “Easter Monday in Dublin …A stroll in Stephen’s Green

  1. I have read quite a number of articles over the years re the Easter Rising, but every one tended to push one side or the other, even if reasonably subtly with some.

    It is refreshing to read a summary that explains the commemoration of the event in a non partial way and just gives a summary of what occurred.

    It would have certainly have been a very moving time to be in Dublin and to see the actual places that featured so heavily in those dark days. May the lessons of the past be well learnt.

    • It’s a bit of a challenge to summarise Chris. They were a small group who chose to do this, and it was you no means a popular rising. Hundreds of civilian casualties and Dublin was destroyed . They surrendered on the following Saturday and generally they were thought of as gurriers! Following the executions however, the mood changed and they were celebrated as heroes. Independence was still a long, long way off however and we had to wade through the death and destruction of the War of Independence and if that was not enough, we then had the Civil War before we emerged on the other side with a republic in 1949, although we have declaration of a free state in 1922. It is fair to say that the so called murderous ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland has tainted the memory of the fighters for Irish freedom. Even our national flag has been tainted to a degree by the ruthless sectarian killings in Northern Ireland from 1968 to 1998, all too fresh in our memory. Confused? So are we! But thanks for trying to come to grips with it! I steadfastly adhere to the principle that no land is worth the spilling of one drop of blood, but then I do not always go with the flow! 😀🇮🇪

  2. Thanks to your post, I now know what Easter Monday is as I read it mentioned in another blog. It is good to remember those who sacrificed. Good that the two busts were equal! Thanks for the history lesson.

  3. SV, thanks for a very informative post. I’m with you all the way about no land is worth the spilling of one drop of blood.
    I just hope we can learn from the past.

  4. Nicely done. It must have been a powerful day in Ireland on this anniversary.
    If you can open this link it is from our CBC radio’s Michael Enright who did a great documentary about the many sides to the uprising and the effects both then and now in Ireland.
    http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thesundayedition/the-triumph-of-failure-ireland-1916-1.3502753

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