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Ireland's 1916 Rising

Mark McCarthy


The destruction of property in Dublin was also a source of major ire
to The Times in London, which bemoaned: "The people of Dublin are

 now able to gaze upon the smoking ruins to which the wicked

folly of the Sinn Feiners has reduced one of the chief

commercial quarters of their city.'

Disruption to gas supplies during the fighting interrupted publication of The Irish Independent, which had a readership of over 100,000. When it eventually appeared on 4 May, it too expressed its outrage at the Rising, which it disapprovingly referred to as 'this terrible episode of Irish history'. It also lamented that one of 'the most pathetic spectacles' witnessed on Dublin city's streets had been the sight of 'the solitary hearses unaccompanied by mourners proceeding towards the cemeteries'. It also grumbled about the fact that the 'shops on one of the finest thoroughfares in Europe', namely the lower part of O'Connell Street, were 'a shapeless mass of ruins', while most of Henry Street, Middle Abbey Street, Earl Street, Eden Quay, and Prince's Street were 'in a similar condition'. It was also appalled by the indiscriminate activities of mobs of looters, who used the cover of darkness to raid 'many boot, provision, jewellery, and tobacco shops' on O'Connell Street, despite attempts by the insurgents to curtail them by firing blank shots at intervals over their heads. Whole suites of furniture were also robbed from shops, while even costly pianos were seen being 'rolled along the roadway in Henry Street'. The Irish Independent also took particular exception to one 'disgraceful incident' witnessed by two of its staff outside Taaffe's outfitting establishment, during which one 'looter went inside and threw out the goods, one of those outside being heard to ask for No. 14 collars'. It also expressed its dismay at what happened in suburban areas such as Ringsend and Ballsbridge, which witnessed 'continual interchanges of shots between the combatants, and many casualties'. This, it noted, was a recipe for 'wild scenes' of looting of 'flour, meal, rice, whiskey, brandy, wines, soaps, tobacco, and miscellaneous articles of merchandise' from 'the great shipping companies' stores'. The paper also remarked that it was also 'a sad spectacle to see the grief-stricken groups in the suburbs who had lost all in the insurrection, and were made absolutely penniless'.

Due to a fire in its Prince's Street premises, which destroyed all
of its machinery, publication of The Freeman's Journal 
 was suspended after Easter Monday. The next issue, which
did not appear until 5 May, also conveyed a sense of shock
at the 'stunning horror' of the 'mad enterprise' that had transpired on the streets of Dublin.