February 1-6 1916

Each week, we look back at what was “in the news” the same week 100 years ago – as reported in the Cork Examiner in 1916.

By Nicola Stathers

Tuesday, February 1, 1916



The first meeting of the newly-elected Árd Choiste of the Gaelic League in Cork was held at 3 Marlboro Street on Saturday night...The following were appointed: Chairman, Seoirse MacNiocaill, M.A.; Honorary treasurer, Seamus MacMahuna; Honorary secretary, Liam de Róiste.

Messrs Denis O’Mahony, Town Commissioner, and Edward Sheehan, M.A., were co-opted as members of the Executive, the Chairman remarking that the former had given very great help in connection with the establishment of the traditional singing class at the Municipal School of Music....A deputation was appointed to wait on the Lord Mayor with regard to the celebrations usual to St Patrick’s Day.

Liam de Róiste was a prominent figure in the Irish Volunteers, a close associate of the Cork Brigade commanders Tomás MacCurtain and Terence MacSwiney, and would become a TD for Cork City in the first Dáil at the 1918 general election.


Dublin, Monday.

Mr. John Murphy, Chairman, presided at the half-yearly meeting of the Hibernian Bank.

The report showed that...the net profits for the half-year amounted to £23,618... Their gross profits were substantially better than those for the corresponding half of 1914... The past year had, he was glad to say, been a prosperous one for the agricultural and farming interests in Ireland... The directors viewed with confidence the present position and prospects of the bank (applause)... it was decided to pay a dividend at the rate of 6 per cent for the half-year.


Dr. Griffin in in his monthly report stated that the male patient who escaped on the 28th ult. was, on information supplied by the police, recaptured by the attendants at a farm at Lisheen, some 16 or 17 miles from here, where he had been working from the morning following his escape.




Wednesday, February 2, 1916

Recently-elected Lord Mayor of Cork, Thomas C. Butterfield was impressed by the work of these boys in the metal shop at the North Monastery schools on the city’s northside.


Thursday, February 3, 1916 

Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond told an army recruiting meeting in Galway an impression was being created that Ireland’s exclusion from conscription meant the country was shirking her duty.

Such an impression would be a false one, a cruel one, and would be a deadly injury to the future interests of Ireland. Since the commencement of the war, this little island had put a huge Irish army in the field. Up to January 8 last lreland had sent 86,277 men into the army and into the navy 3,466, making a total of 89,743...

He honestly believed that if this war ended in the defeat of the Allies THERE WAS IMMINENT DANGER THAT EVERY TENANT FARMER IN IRELAND WOULD BE ROBBED BY THE PRUSSIANS of his ownership of the soil...The position of the tenant farmer who would not fight for the land for his children, and who expected the people of the towns to do the fighting for him was a contemptible position.

Saturday, February 5, 1916 


The Limerick Operatic Society gave an excellent production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s charming opera, Patience. The public gave it their generous support, two reasons conducing to its popularity — the merits of the performers, and the fact the receipts were devoted to supplementing the Fund for Comforts for the Munster Fusiliers.



Not in the News 

More details of how key figures in the planning of the Rising, and those who would take part in it, spent this week 100 years ago.

Compiled by Nial Murray, the Irish Examiner


Monday, January 21, 1916

  • JJ O’Connell was seen by Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) arriving back to the capital by train. He was probably returning from the training camp he had been running in Cork city for Irish Volunteers officers at the Volunteer Hall in Sheares Street.
  • The Irish Volunteers offices in Dawson Street were visited by Éamon de Valera, MJ O’Rahilly (the O’Rahilly), Herbert Mellows and Volunteers’ founder Bulmer Hobson. (Hobson, like Eoin MacNeill opposed the Volunteers being duped by the IRB into participating in a Rising, and would be held prisoner ahead of its commencement to prevent him interfering with the plans.)
  • Ned Daly, later to be executed as a Volunteers commander after the Rising, assembled and marched 50 men at Parnell Square, observed by DMP detectives.



Tuesday, February 1, 1916

  • Tom Clarke’s Parnell Street shop was visited by Diarmuid Lynch — also on the IRB Supreme Council — as well as William Sheehan, Ned Daly (brother of Clarke’s wife Kathleen), Charles S Power, John R Reynolds and Seán McGarry.
  • McGarry also met with IRB Military Council member Seán MacDiarmada (and later to be Clarke’s fellow signatory of the Proclamation of the Republic) in Westmoreland Street.


Wednesday, February 2, 1916

  • Movements in and out of Dublin by James Connolly and Liam Mellows were reported by police. Mellows had been organising the Irish Volunteers in Galway, and was previously jailed for disobeying an order to leave the country. Before the Rising he was deported, but he would return to Ireland disguised as a priest and lead one of the few acts of insurrection outside Dublin during Easter week, in Co Galway. He was seen at Volunteers’ headquarters as was his brother Herbert, along with Joseph Plunkett, Michael O’Hanrahan, and MacDiarmada.


Thursday, February 3, 1916

  • 60 Irish Volunteers were drilled in the hall at 41 Parnell Square, a frequent meeting place of IRB members.
  • Seán MacDiarmada, Ned Daly, Diarmuid Lynch and Herbert Mellows visited the shop of Tom Clarke. But police detectives were able to report Clarke was confined to home at 10 Richmond Avenue, due to a cold, having noted his absence from the Parnell Street shop since Wednesday.
  • MacDiarmada, Daly, Éamonn Ceannt and Francis Sheehy-Skeffington attended the trial in Dublin of Alexander McCabe, later TD for Sligo in the first Dáil. McCabe was acquitted on the charge of explosives possession, despite 42 gelignite cartridges, 20 detonators and six coils of fuse being found in a bag he carried as he boarded a train for Ballymote in November 1915. Prosecutions for less-serious offences under Defence of the Realm provisions introduced during the war period were similarly proving difficult to secure convictions on, as increasingly-nationalist magistrates and juries heard the cases.
  • Another ‘suspect’ seen in the court by Dublin Metropolitan Police was William Partridge, a major figure in James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army, a leading trade unionist and city councillor in Dublin, who would go on to fight in the Royal College of Surgeons during the Rising. He would play a role, in the interim, in communicating between those plotting the import of German guns (intended by the IRB Military Council for use in the Rising) and the Irish Volunteers in Kerry, where the arms were due to be landed at Easter.


Saturday, February 5, 1916

  • A coded message from IRB Supreme Council in Dublin reached veteran Fenian John Devoy in New York, via a ship’s steward on a transatlantic service. Devoy was the Clan na Gael go-between through whom the IRB was arranging the shipment of guns from Germany. The message revealed Easter Sunday as the start date of planned action and told Devoy: “We must have your arms and munitions in Limerick between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.”
  • Newly co-opted into the IRB Military Council, James Connolly began taking a role in the secret planning of the Easter Rising.


Sunday, February 6, 1916

  • Irish Volunteers armed with rifles and shotguns marched through an army recruiting meeting at Kilbrittain in west Cork, which was being presided over by the Earl of Bandon. Members of the Ballinadee company of the Volunteers, probably the strongest in west Cork in numbers of men and of arms, were cautioned by police as they made a return pass through the crowd.



Files from the Dublin Metropolitan Police ‘Movement of Extremists’ files, on which some of these details based, are uploaded daily to the National Archives of Ireland website: www.nationalarchives.ie (@NARIreland on Twitter).

Original documents from the period, including some used in this diary, can be seen in the Military Archives timeline: www.militaryarchives.ie. See @dfarchives on Twitter.

Other information came from RIC Inspector General and County Inspector reports held on microfilm in University College Cork’s Boole Libary Special Collections — @theriversideUCC

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,