#OTD in 1916 – Approximately 1,000 copies of The Proclamation of the Irish Republic are printed in Liberty Hall in a print office set up by James Connolly.

The proclamation would be read by Pádraig Pearse outside the General Post Office on Sackville Street (now called O’Connell Street) on Monday 24th April.

The proclamation was printed secretly on an old and poorly maintained Wharfedale Stop Cylinder Press in the printing office that had been set up by James Connolly in the basement in the original Liberty Hall in Beresford Place, Dublin.

All seven signatories of the Proclamation: Pádraig Pearse, James Connolly, Thomas Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh, Sean MacDermott, Joseph Plunkett and Eamonn Ceannt would be executed by British authorities.

Easter Sunday was a day of confusion and indecision amongst the rebel movement. The Irish Volunteers Chief of Staff, Eoin MacNeil, in defiance of Pádraig Pearse, cancelled the planned manoeveres of volunteers, by placing a notice in that morning’s newspapers. Pearse and company had expected the manoeveres to be the instigation of a Rising, he and his colleagues knew had little chance of success. McNeil’s cancellation occurred partly because he had only just become aware of the true nature of the manoeveres and also due to the capture of Roger Casement and the major arms shipment aboard the Aud off the coast of Kerry.

At noon on Easter Sunday, Pearse and the Military Council decided to postpone the insurrection until the following day, Easter Monday 24th April. Despite a long and bleak history of failed insurrections due to leaks and informers to British authorities, it appears that for once the Irish rebels were able to keep their plans secret.

Read: Printing of Proclamation

Photo: A rare and original copy of the 1916 Irish Proclamation made 55,000 at Mealy’s rare book sale in Dublin on 13 December 2011. The copy, with a piece torn away from the third paragraph, had been damaged when it was removed from a hoarding. It has been professionally restored. It had been posted in North King St. beside the Four Courts and was removed by Murty Tubridy from Co Clare, a volunteer who was grazed in the ear while defending his post nearby. He was taken to the Richmond Hospital, but was advised to decamp if mobile as the hospital was to be raided. This one came by direct descent through Murty Tubridy’s family. It was bought by a private Irish purchaser. This was the top lot in a sale which brought in more than 500,000 and was 82 per cent sold.

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