Richard Sheane's Daily Account of the Easter 1916 Rising (2/5)

Author Richard Sheane

GPO 1916

Richard Sheane was the proprietor of Sheane Brothers & Company, an engineering firm and foundry in Wicklow Town.  Born to Richard and Susan Sheane of Coolnakilly, Glenealy in 1871, Richard married Alice Haskins in 1908 and they lived at Morton’s Lane, Wicklow Town with their two children Sydney and Margaret.  Richard died in 1955 at the age of 84.

By kind permission of the Wicklow Historical Society – published in Wicklow Historical Society Journal Vol. 3. No.1. 2002. 

On The Road

This being the opening day of the Spring Show at Ballsbridge, I started from Wicklow about 9 a.m. to motor up to Dublin, accompanied by Mrs. N.R. Haskins, and as the morning was rather showery, we put up the hood of the car, which was very fortunate for us as it afterwards turned out.

After passing through Shankill, and approaching the road leading to the Railway Station, we noticed a military officer standing in the road. He signalled us to stop, and on doing so, we found that he wished to get up to Town, but that the trains were not running, we invited him to accompany us, which he did; we found that he was a Capt. Dawson, whom I had known a few years previously. He told us that he was home from Salonika on sick leave, and hearing of the disturbance in the City on the previous day, he was now going up to see for himself if things were as bad as reported.

Entering Dublin

We entered the City as usual via Donnybrook, and as my passengers wished to get to Merrion Square, and Baggot Street we drove along the tram route via Stephen’s Green. As we approached the Green, we noticed the people on their door-steps and in the windows; looking in the direction in which we were travelling; but as all appeared to be quiet, we drove straight on to the Green. As we passed along the East side, we found it quite deserted. About three—quarter way along we passed two tram cars standing idly on the rail with their windows smashed, and a little further on, a motor car, and a cab, overturned against the railings of the Green, on the footpath of the opposite side, a dead horse was lying. Having traversed the full length of this side of the Green, we turned to the right, in the direction of Merrion Square. Round this corner there stood a considerable crowd of people, but no one disputed our right to pass as our Khaki clad passenger was fortunately hidden by the hood of the car.

Both my passengers alighted in Merrion Square, and went their different ways; Mrs. Haskins toward Baggot St. and Capt. Dawson in the direction of Westland Row; while I drove towards Ballsbridge.

At Haddington Road I found the tram wires cut and lying in the roadway, but I managed to get the car through. Just past the Haddington Rd. turn, I noticed a house on the right, with the windows knocked out, and the openings filled with mattresses and pillows. In fact along this route to Ballsbridge most of the houses were fortified, and held by the rebels.

I reached the Show ground safely, and leaving the car inside the railing near the entrance, proceeded to our stand in the Machinery Paddock. Here I found that no business of any kind was being transacted, there being none of the Agents up from the country.


‘A Terrific Battle Was Raging’

About 2 p.m. a gentleman who represents a veterinary firm came in with some alarming news. He had gone to Kingsbridge station to look up some goods which were missing, these he did not succeed in obtaining; as he found the Military in possession of the premises, and he would not be allowed in. On his return journey, he found that a terrific battle was raging round the lower end of Sackville St. and O’Connell Bridge, an ambulance man whom he met, told him that Lord Dunraven had been shot opposite the Four Courts.

At this point the narrator was interrupted by an old gentleman from Co. Westmeath, who had come up just in time to hear him mention the Four Courts. He at once enquired if he was speaking of the Four Courts Hotel, and was told not, but that if he wished for information about the Hotel, it was occupied by the rebels. On hearing this he became greatly excited, and stamping round, shouted ”My bag’s there what’ll I do, what’ll I do, and they were to have a hot dinner ready for me at four o’clock,  and now I’ll never get it at all.” The crowd which before were almost paralysed by the tragic news to which they had been listening, now burst into roars of laughter, especially when they understood, that the bag contained only, a night shirt, pair of slippers and a hair brush.

Sackville Street, Dublin c1900

Later in the afternoon we could hear firing from the direction of the City, and learned that the Military were firing on the Green from the roof of the Shelbourne Hotel, and also that there was a good deal of shooting in the locality of Mount St.

Mrs. Haskins and I started for home about 5 p.m., we were held up by the Police at Shankill, where we had to give an account of ourselves, afterward reaching Wicklow without mishap. Here we found the town in a very excited and unsettled state, all sorts of reports and rumours were flying about, and on the whole the news we brought, was rather reassuring to our friends.


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