1916 – Easter Rising: The Surrender.

After six days that reduced much of central Dublin to ruin, British forces numbering close to 20,000 troops (many of them Irish) finally force a rebel force of 1,500 men and women to surrender.

At 12.45pm, Elizabeth O’Farrell, one of three women in the GPO during the Rising walks towards British troops with a white flag. The British insist on unconditional surrender. At 3.30 Padraic Pearse surrenders his troops. Over the following hours, the garrisons at Boland’s Mills, Jacobs Factory and other locations lay down their arms.

O’Farrell later recalled “I waved a small white flag which I carried and the military ceased firing and called me up to the barrier. I saw, at the corner of Sackville Lane, The O’Rahilly’s hat and a revolver lying on the ground. (The fatally wounded Michael (The) O’Rahilly, managed to write a note to his wife: ‘Written after I was shot. Darling Nancy I was shot leading a rush up Moore Street and took refuge in a doorway. While I was there I heard the men pointing out where I was and made a bolt for the laneway I am in now. I got more [than] one bullet I think. Tons and tons of love dearie to you and the boys and to Nell and Anna. It was a good fight anyhow. Please deliver this to Nannie O’ Rahilly, 40 Herbert Park, Dublin. Goodbye Darling.’

O’Farrell spoke to a senior British officer:

“The commandant of the Irish Republican Army wishes to treat with the commandant of the British forces in Ireland.”

“The Irish Republican Army? – the Sinn Féiners, you mean,” he replied.

“No, the Irish Republican Army they call themselves and I think that is a very good name too.”

The Rising had not been popular among Dubliners who believed it to have little chance of success (as did the Rebel leaders), the destruction it brought to Dublin and the deaths of many of their neighbours, shot by both sides. As rebel prisoners were being marched off, they were subject to abuse and jeering by many Dubliners; emotions that would change dramatically within a few weeks.

The prisoners were rounded up into one encampment and not exactly treated kindly. Proclamation signatory Tom Clarke was stripped naked and “all sorts of disparaging remarks made about him.”

Interviews with 1916 Rebels: http://youtu.be/fYV7bzKwePM






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