In Dublin’s Fair City

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Yesterday I returned from what was my third visit to one of my favourite cities in the whole world.  This is Dublin by night, and me and the missus went over last Wednesday for a few days to visit some dear friends of whom we unfortunately see too little.

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Yes, I know, the missus and I.  Anyway, and bless ’em all for it, on all three Dublin trips there appears to be an unwritten, and very gracious, understanding that yours truly can take some time to visit the sites associated with the Great War and, in particular, the Easter Rising, that can be found across the city.  And I know it’s a cliché, but the old “Here’s a credit card, there’s the shops” routine still works wonders (I pay for my Art) too.  My first stop, and all this and more will be coming to you good folk here at theBigNote in much more detail in due course, was the largest cemetery in the whole of Ireland, Glasnevin Cemetery, where the Commonwealth plot will doubtless interest you (above),…

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…and where the spirit of Pádraig Pearse (in uniform) lives on.  Huge thanks to John, our tour guide on the left, for making a freezing afternoon much warmer with his wit and repartee……and knowledge.

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I paid a visit to the Garden of Remembrance, a stone’s throw from out hotel,…

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…and made a return visit to St. Stephen’s Green, where the marks of British machine gun bullets still pepper the side of Fusiliers’ Arch, the memorial to the men of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who died fighting for the British in the Boer War.  On this occasion, I had more opportunity to explore the green itself, where Irish rebels dug trenches as cover from the British gunners, firing down at them from the surrounding buildings.

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I’ll tell you what happened at Mount Street Bridge…

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…and a few hundred yards away at Northumberland Road, hardly changed at all in a hundred years, where, within hours of their arrival in Dublin on 25th April 1916, over 220 men of the Sherwood Foresters lay dead or wounded in this and the adjacent street, the road where we are standing literally awash with British blood, their casualties inflicted by just seventeen men of the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers positioned in the surrounding houses.

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I’ll show you Arbour Hill Cemetery where, in the background, a screen wall and a small grassed area is all that marks the final resting place of the executed rebel leaders,…

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…and Collins Barracks, or Royal Barracks as it was known at the time, from where the men of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers were deployed to attack the rebels across the city.  And much more besides.  And all with a camera that began malfunctioning from day one – and I mean seriously malfunctioning.  Nonetheless, as you can see from these snaps, I think we got away with it.  It was also pretty cool, as a neutral, watching the Ireland-New Zealand rugby test in a pub less than a mile from the stadium.  But that’s another story entirely.

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5 Responses to In Dublin’s Fair City

  1. Steven Hearnden says:

    The Easter uprising is a bit of a tenuous link to the great war though.

    • Magicfingers says:

      You do realise that we may just have to disagree on this one, Steven. Here’s a few reasons off the top of my head. Firstly, how about the German arms shipment arranged by Sir Roger Casement for the Rising – more than a million rounds, 20,000 rifles and ten machine guns – that still lies at the bottom of Dublin Bay? Or the fact that the men of the South Staffs who were slaughtered in Northumberland Road thought they were heading to France, only to find themselves in the suburbs of Dublin – I have read that some of these poor kids actually thought they were in France! The fighting at Verdun had been going on for a couple of months, and the Irish rebel thinking was that, if the Germans could achieve a breakthrough there, what chance the British having enough troops to quell an uprising in Ireland when their French allies would have to come first. Without the Great War, there would never have been an Uprising, certainly not in 1916 anyway – mind you, perhaps there would have been no need for one at all without the Great War, as Home Rule had theoretically been agreed, only for the war to intervene.

      • Steven Hearnden says:

        But the website is ‘With the British Army in France and Flanders’ 😉 I agree with all you say MF, and I’m not saying that your post wasn’t an interesting one, but from a political point of view, really don’t ‘side’ with the Irish actions and motives in view of the war raging against the Axis forces, but I suppose we are getting into the realms of politics here and should leave it at that. On this point, although a work of fiction, but based considerably on fact, if you subscribe to Netflix, you may want to watch their excellent drama series ‘Rebellion’ based on the Easter uprising. All the best, Steven.

      • Steven Hearnden says:

        sorry, ‘central powers’ ………..getting my wars confused!!

  2. Magicfingers says:

    True enough re the website title, but I do have a large Back in Blighty section, which doesn’t count as Flanders or France either! The Rising posts that were published a couple of years back were hopefully factual as opposed to political, and the new series of posts (actually I may well republish the earlier ones with major additions) will be likewise. I don’t subscribe to Netflix but am aware of the Rebellion series you mention – one day I shall get to see it. I’ve enjoyed these series of comments Steven. Any time!

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