NOT in the news: February 6 – 13, 1916

Continuing our  look behind the scenes at how the Rising was being planned and what we know about those involved, 100 years ago this week: February 6 – 13, 1916. 

Many of the main players featured regularly in newspapers of the time, but most of these activities did not feature in the news and are only now known from information held in archives.


Monday February 7, 1916:

  • An attack on vans of a Galway trader was blamed by the RIC on hostility towards him as a sub-director of army recruiting. Mr Young’s vans were carrying empty mineral water cases when the drivers were forced to leave them, the horses were driven away and the cases thrown out on the road between Clarinbridge and Oranmore.
  • Dublin police saw Seán MacDiarmada meeting Séan McGarry at 12 D’Olier St.
  • Among those seen visiting Irish Volunteers headquarters were Herbert Mellows, Eimar O’Duffy, Laurence Raul, John R Reynolds, and Michael O’Hanrahan.

Tuesday February 8, 1916:

  • Diarmuid Lynch (Irish Republican Brotherhood Supreme Council member), Seán MacDiarmada, Seán McGarry, Ned Daly, Joseph Murray, Michael Foley, ‘The O’Rahilly’, and Píaras Béaslaí all visited Thomas Clarke’s shop at 75 Parnell St in Dublin’s north inner city at different points in the day. The Dublin Metropolitan Police also recorded Clarke himself visiting the shop, but he only stayed a few minutes, having been ill since the previous week.

Wednesday February 9, 1916:

  • As IRB plans for a Rising at Easter were gathering pace, Dublin Metropolitan Police chief commissioner Colonel Edgeworth Johnstone outlined to chief secretary Augustine Birrell and others a plan to arrest and deport about 20 Irish Volunteers and “Sinn Feiners”. A shortage of enough troops for the raids and related searches saw the plan postponed.
  • Clarke was not in his shop, but it was visited by Con Colbert, Séan McGarry, Seán MacDiarmada, and Michael Foley.
  • The Irish Volunteers headquarters at 2 Dawson St in Dublin were visited on this date by Bulmer Hobson, The O’Rahilly, Michael O’Hanrahan, Laurence Raul, Éamonn Duggan, Patrick Pearse, John Fitzgibbon, Seán MacDiarmada, Diarmuid Lynch, Joseph McGuinness, Éamonn Ceannt, and Thomas Hunter.

Thursday February 10, 1916:

  • A message from John Devoy to Berlin, via the German consulate in New York, suggested Easter Saturday as the start date for the Rising. (Devoy was the old Fenian in the US, through whom the IRB Military Council was arranging German guns.) But Easter Sunday was the date that had been relayed to him in a message from the IRB Supreme Council the previous weekend. Devoy’s message sought weapons to arrive in Ireland between Good Friday and Easter Saturday, instead of between Good Friday and Easter Sunday which the coded message to him had instructed.
  • Tom Clarke returned to his shop, which was also visited by Ned Daly (his brother- in-law), Michael Foley, Seán T Ó Ceallaigh (future president of Ireland), Diarmuid Lynch, Frank Fahy, Joseph McGuinness, Patrick Ryan, Piaras Béaslaí, Seán MacDiarmada, Séan McGarry, Reverend Eugene Sheehy, and Charles S Power.
  • Detectives reported Patrick Pearse left Dublin, although his movements back in the capital were being noted again the next day.

Friday February 11, 1916:


  • Seán MacDiarmada and Seán McGarry were seen by the Dublin Metropolitan Police talking to Tom Clarke at his shop, which was later visited by Ned Daly, Piaras Béaslaí, Thomas Byrne, Charles Kickham, John R Reynolds, and James Buggy.

Saturday February 12, 1916:

  • Joseph Plunkett’s sister, Philomena, brought a message to John Devoy in New York from the IRB. It added to the details for an Easter Sunday rebellion, information about signalling between the German arms ship and a local pilot boat when the guns arrive to the southwest coast of Ireland.

Sunday February 13, 1916:

  • A party of Irish Volunteers paraded in the West Cork village of Ballinspittle near Kinsale. The RIC’s acting county inspector said this and a similar incident in nearby Kilbrittain a week earlier “go to show what an evil influence the existence of this organisation must have on voluntary enlistment”.



Digitised copies of the Dublin Metropolitan Police ‘Movement of Extremists’ files for the corresponding dates in 1916 are uploaded regularly to the National Archives of Ireland website – (@narireland).

Read some events from the period at the Military Archives timeline, and witness statements made by participants in the Rising (Twitter @dfarchives).

Among the other sources used in this diary are monthly reports of the Royal Irish Constabulary inspector general and county inspectors, viewed in UCC’s Boole Library’s Special Collections department (@theriversideUCC).


— Compiled by Niall Murray

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