1916 Timeline


Monday 24th


D Company assembled at St Georges Church, Temple St

Georges Church

George’s Church, Temple Street

“Leaving my bicycle in the Hall I went to Kane’s of Stoneybatter to collect my equipment. I put on the complete web kit we had bought from the Tommy in Usher’s Lane including his knapsack which had been packed and was ready. I put the Lee Enfield on one shoulder and my own Martini rifle on the other, and carrying my own kit and a spare haversack full of 303, as well as a long French bayonet, I set out for George’s Church.”  (P.J. Stephenson)

Proceeded to Liberty Hall

“Heuston halted us facing Liberty Hall with our backs to the massive stone pillars that support the railway. He put us at ease and crossing over went in to Liberty Hall.”  (P.J. Stephenson)

 Heuston received orders from James Connolly

“Sean came down the steps and over to where we were still at ease. He looked very pleased about something, but merely brought us to attention, formed us into fours and putting himself at the head gave us the order: “Quick march.””  (P.J. Stephenson)

 D Company marched along the south quays to Ushers Island
12.00 – 13.00

Stormed the Mendicity Institution and took up positions at windows

Mendicity institution cropped

Mendicity Institution

“Sean turned right about, faced us and shouted: “Company left wheel, seize this building, and hold it in the name of the Irish Republic”.” “We were compelled to force open the door, whilst a Dublin policeman kept back a small crowd who had gathered. . . . After a minute he raised his voice and shouted in a broad country accent: “Eh, you fellows are going too far with this playing at soldiers. Don’t you know you can be arrested for what yez are doing“.  (P.J. Stephenson)

“Sean said to Joe Byrne and myself to go to a house near Watling Street to a position on an iron balcony outside w window on the first floor. This we found structurally unsafe so we reported back to Sean”  (J.J. Brennan)

13.00 – 14.00

10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers Regiment left the Royal (now Collins) Barracks; fired on from Mendicity Institution

Royal Barracks

Royal Barracks

“The Royal Dublin Fusiliers Regiment were coming out of the Royal Barracks headed by an officer carrying a drawn sword in columns of fours with their rifles at the slope. The column erupted suddenly on the quay and continued to pour its khaki bulk out like a sausage coming from a machine. No advance guard – no scouts thrown out in advance to give warning of enemy forces lying in wait. Stepping smartly in time as if on a ceremonial parade the column came nearer to us, and to add to the air of festivity a tram came running along the tracks from the Park.”  (P.J. Stephenson)


“At the order, we fired several volleys across the river at them.  They were thrown into panic; they ran for shelter wherever there was cover; into abandoned tram cars, behind the quay wall, into side streets, into houses.  When they recovered they opened fire across the river at the Institution and there began one of the hardest fought and persistent sieges of Easter Week” (J.J. Brennan)

British soldiers (300 – 400) took up positions around Benburb St, Blackhall St, Queen St Bridge and laid siege to the Institution.

Evening or early following morning

Dispatch sent to James Connolly seeking reinforcements

“MacLoughlin got his orders. Away with him like a cat over the walls of the houses on the east of the Mendicity into Bridgefoot Street” (P.J. Stephenson)


Tuesday 25th March


Reinforcements arrived from Fingal Battalion (accompanied by British soldier/ prisoner)

“We saw a number of Volunteers with an officer in uniform at their head turn onto Queen Street Bridge and with a wild burst of cheering rush across it and up Bridgefoot Street. MacLoughlin had come back with reinforcements. They tumbled in over the garden walls of the houses east of us and in front of them came a British soldier minus his arms and equipment. He had been found in one of the back gardens and was made a prisoner.” (P.J. Stephenson)
All day

British attack intensified.  Mendicity under machine gun fire from Queen Street.

“The British attack was intensified and this was kept up all day.  Machine gun fire was directed at us from Queen Street Bridge and Aran Quay where the British military had established headquarters.”  (J.J. Brennan)


Wed 26th


Two men sent to GPO to report Mendicity still held.

1916 map

1916 map

“About halfway between the back gate of the Mendicity and Bridgefoot Street the Tommies on the barricade at Watling Street opened fire on us.  . . . . .  we waited the thud of a bullet in the back.  . . . . .  we became aware of bullet holes appearing about ten feet over our heads in the distillery wall facing us, a quick look to the rear as we ran revealed that a dip in the road surface had taken us down out of the field of fire from Watling Street.”  (P.J. Stephenson)

British soldiers occupy houses either side of Institution. Snipers in position in Thomas Street. Watling Street barricaded. Mendicity surrounded. 

“Early on Wednesday morning occupants of houses on each side of the Institution were ordered to evacuate.  Soldiers were posted in houses in Thomas Street and we were surrounded on all sides. The British opened an attack from all sides, close quarter encounters were frequent.” (J.J. Brennan)

Grenades hurled in.

“Towards noon a new kind of attack came: soldiers, who had crept along the quay, bent low under the wall in front of the Institution and hurled hand grenades into the building.” (J.J. Brennan)

Two volunteers badly injured trying to throw back grenades.

“The Volunteers tried to defy this by catching the bombs and throwing them back. Two of our men were badly wounded during this time, Liam Staines and Dick Balfe.” (J.J. Brennan)

Garrison surrenders.

“The small garrison had reached the end of its endurance. We were weary, without food and short of ammunition. We were hopelessly outnumbered and trapped.” (J.J. Brennan)

Volunteer Peter Wilson killed by sniper as garrison surrenders and leaves Mendicity via Island Street.

“A sniper in the tower of the old Anchor Brewery fired on us and one of the Swords’ men, Peter Wilson, was shot dead, beside me.” (J.J. Brennan)

Sean Heuston and his men were marched to the Royal Barracks en route to Arbour Hill then Richmond Barracks.



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