A timeline of events during Easter Week in 1916.
Friday April 28, 1916
The arrival in Dublin of General Sir John Maxwell on the Friday of the Rising
sparked what would become a turning point not just in the rebellion, but in the Irish revolution that would continue for the next six years.
His decisions regarding executions, and to arrest Irish Volunteers and other activists in the following weeks, would be the actions on which public opinion would quickly turn in favour of those behind the unsuccessful rebellion.
It was the beginning of the end for the main garrison of the rebels in the GPO, with fires and shell damage forcing them to consider an evacuation.
In the early hours, other landmark buildings on Sackville Street such as the Imperial Hotel and Clery’s department store were destroyed by fire.
As President of the Irish Republic and commander of the Army of the Irish Republic, Patrick Pearse issued a statement acknowledging the difficult situation, but paying “homage to the gallantry of the soldiers of Irish freedom who have during the past four days been writing with fire and steel the most glorious chapter in the later history of Ireland.”
“Let me, who have led them into this, speak, in my own, and in my fellow-commanders’ names, and in the name of Ireland, present and to come, their praise, and ask them who come after them to remember them.
“For four days they have fought and toiled, almost without cessation, almost without sleep, and in the intervals of fighting they have sung songs of the freedom of Ireland,” he wrote.
The Fingal Battalion of the Irish Volunteers in north Dublin began an attack on the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) barracks at Ashbourne, Co Meath. After several hours of battle, including the arrival of police reinforcements after the barracks surrendered, eight RIC members and two Volunteers were dead. The encounter brought battalion commandant Thomas Ashe to prominence but he would die on hunger strike in jail in 1917. Richard Mulcahy, the other Volunteer leader at the Battle of Ashbourne, would later become chief-of-staff of the IRA and succeeded Michael Collins as Free State Army commander-in-chief.
The GPO needing to be evacuated, an advance party tried to lead the way towards Moore Street. In the process, prominent Irish Volunteers officer Michael Joseph O’Rahilly was wounded and died alone in Moore Lane. The main garrison later escaped the GPO through back streets, the leaders occupying houses in Moore Street.