February 28-March 3, 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 Niall Murray, Irish Examiner


Monday, February 28, 1916



Sir—I read in your issue of Saturday that the Lord Mayor and his Demonstration Committee had made an appeal to the publicans of Cork to close their houses on St. Patrick’s Day. Result: 2 voted for it, 38 voted for partial closing (hours not specified), and 430 voted for not closing! Behold the religion, the nationality. The patriotism of the publicans of Cork. May I respectfully suggest to the Lord Mayor to drop the demonstration altogether. If the public houses are open it will do infinitely more harm than good. It will attract an immense crowd of both city and country folk, and when the empty pageant is over the publicans’ harvest will begin. In fact, with the best intentions possible, the Lord Mayor is simply playing their game. Is there, think you, any hope for Ireland, whether with Home Rule or without it, so long as there are 470 publicans (I dare say there are more) in Cork, for Cork may be taken as a type of our other Irish towns?

Faithfully yours, A PRIEST. (Name enclosed).


Tuesday, February 29, 1916 


Thomas Kent was tried before magistrates in Cork for an anti-recruitment speech made at Ballynoe on January 2, 1916, in a case brought under Defence of the Realm Regulations. The magistrates dismissed three charges, including one that he had a revolver and ammunition when arrested at his home. The evidence was put forward by Crown prosecutor Henry Arthur Wynne, who read from Kent’s letter to newspapers on the subject of army subscription:

“I have followed Redmond up to the time he commenced his recruiting campaign, but I am a follower of his no longer. As a Volunteer, I am prepared to defend my country to the last drop of my blood against all comers, but I cannot find anything that would justify me as an Irishman in fighting against people with whom I have no quarrel.”

Thomas Kent was executed at Cork Military Barracks in May 1916, after Head Constable William Rowe was shot dead trying to arrest him and his brothers at their home near Castlelyons following the Rising.


Wednesday, March 1, 1916 


Head Constable Cronin summoned Mrs Foley, publican, Bridge Street, for a breach of the Sunday Closing Act on Sunday, Feb 20th. Sergt. Hewitt gave evidence of having seen Thomas Brien, who lives about 100 yards from the public house, leave, by the back door at 11.40am on Sunday, 20th Feb. When witness entered the premises he found a gallon containing beer and some glasses on the counter...The evidence for the defence was that Brien is a teetotaller, and works for Mr Foley, who is a painting contractor. He called on Mr Foley in connection with work that was to be started on the Monday. No drink was supplied. The Bench unanimously dismissed the case, but held that the police acted quite properly in bringing it on.


Friday, March 3, 1916 

There are five from one Cork family, serving in important positions in the Services, and there is no doubt but that should the hour of danger arrive to them they will act with credit and honour. They are the sons or Mr. and Mrs. George Bateman, of Anglesea Street, Cork, who in their college days were well known in athletic circles, in the south of Ireland. (1) Nicholas Bateman, BE (Bachelor of Engineering), fought in the South African War, got wounded at the Battle of Mashoma, and got a medal for gallantry, he is serving at present in an Australian Regiment somewhere in France. (2) Dr George Bateman (staff surgeon), with the North Sea squadron; (3) Lieut. Alfred Bateman, RAMC (surgeon), serving somewhere in France. (4) Lieut. Oscar Walter Bateman, RAMC (surgeon), wounded in France, home on leave. (5) Frank Bateman, serving as Government transport officer, shipwrecked near Havre, he is again serving in transport service.

Not in the News 

Details of what was being done this week 100 years ago by those planning the Rising, and how it was observed by British authorities in Ireland.

Compiled by Nial Murray, the Irish Examiner


Monday, February 28, 1916

  • Dublin councillor, William Partridge, set up a branch of the ITGWU union at Fenit, in Co Kerry, where he got men to hold out for an extra shilling a day on the arrival of a ship. The police inspector for Co Kerry warned that this, and his demand for an extra five shillings a week for labourers in Tralee, would probably lead to trouble. Partridge was helping to organise the unloading of German-supplied guns, expected to land in Fenit harbour over Easter weekend, in April. Police estimated membership of the Irish Volunteers, in Co Kerry, at 1,000 in 18 companies, with 400 rifles, 174 shotguns, and 80 revolvers in their possession.


Tuesday, February 29, 1916

  • Irish Citizen Army leader, James Connolly, arrived back to Dublin, from Belfast, where he had lectured Irish Volunteers on fighting methods. By now co-opted to the Irish Republican Military Brotherhood (IRB) military council, Connolly was deeply involved in the secret plans for the Rising. While the exact plans for outside Dublin did not survive, they involved disruption of military reinforcements to the capital.
  • Alfred Cotton visited military council member Tom Clarke’s shop, in Dublin’s Parnell Street, as well as the Irish Volunteers headquarters, which were also visited by Michael O’Hanrahan (executed after the Rising), Michael Joseph O’Rahilly (killed during the Rising), and leading Volunteers figures, Bulmer Hobson, JJ [Jeremiah Joseph] O’Connell, and chief-of-staff Eoin MacNeill’s wife, Agnes. Cotton was, along with Austin Stack, one of the prime movers in Kerry, in the IRB and Irish Volunteers. Having been ordered, during a trip to Belfast, not to return to Cork or Kerry around this time, he was advised by military council member, Seán MacDiarmada, not to defy the order, as his activities would be under watch and might give away the planned landing of guns in Fenit.


Wednesday, March 1, 1916

  • Tom Clarke’s shop was visited by Con Colbert, Edward Daly, The O’Rahilly, Frank McCabe and Seán McGarry.
  • Partridge’s return to the capital was observed by Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) detectives.
  • At Irish Volunteer offices, visitors included MacDiarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, Michael O’Hanrahan, Bulmer Hobson, Éamon de Valera, John Fitzgibbon, O’Rahilly, Éamonn Ceannt, Laurence Raul, Edward Daly, George Irvine, John Lyons, Thomas Hunter, and Alfred Cotton.


Thursday, March 2, 1916

  • Patrick Pearse spoke at a Robert Emmet commemoration in Belfast’s St Mary’s Hall.
  • At 41 Rutland Square, in Dublin, (now Parnell Square), 50 members of Irish Volunteers were drilled, with MacDiarmada, Joseph McGuinness, and Frank Fahy in attendance.


Friday, March 3, 1916 

  • The DMP continued to monitor the movements of suspects like Patrick Pearse, Seán MacDiarmada, Seán McGarry, Piaras Béaslaí, Michael Foley, Thomas Byrne and JJ Walsh.


Saturday, March 4, 1916

  • By early March, the likelihood of an insurrection was being made very clear to British authorities in Dublin Castle. Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) inspector general, Neville Chamberlain’s monthly report told of intelligence from America that John Devoy’s Clan na Gael organisation was making efforts, pushed on by the Germans, “to prepare for some attack against the British government, either in Canada or in Ireland”, with Ireland the more likely target.


“It is now time to seriously consider whether the organisers [sic] of the Irish Volunteers can be allowed with safety to continue their mischievous work, and whether this force, so hostile to British interests, can be permitted to increase its strength and remain any longer in possession of arms without grave danger to the State,” he wrote. He believed speeches and articles of the ‘Sinn Fein’ movement were pointing to the force “being organised with a view to insurrection, and, in the event of the enemy being able to effect a landing in Ireland, the Volunteers could, no doubt, delay the dispatch of troops to the scene by blowing up the railway and bridges, provided the organisers were at liberty to plan and direct the operations.”


Sunday, March 5, 1916

  • DMP recorded a meeting of McGarry, MacDiarmada, and Béaslaí, at 12 D’Olier Street. The address, commonly visited by extremist suspects, was the location from which The Irish Review was published from 1911 to the end of 1914. The monthly magazine promoted Irish arts and literature, with regular contributors including WB Yeats, Jack B Yeats, James Stephens, Daniel Corkery and Douglas Hyde. It was edited from 1913 by Joseph Plunkett, later one of the key planners of the Rising, whose poetry also regularly appeared alongside works and literary reviews by others executed in 1916: Patrick Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh and Roger Casement.



 Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) ‘Movement of Extremists’ files, held by the National Archives of Ireland, and available to view online: http://www.nationalarchives.ie

- Witness statements collected by the Bureau of Military History, and the Military Archives timeline: www.militaryarchives.ie

- Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) inspector general and county inspector monthly reports, viewed on microfilm in Special Collections at University College Cork’s Boole Library.

The Irish Revolution Project

Scoil na Staire /Tíreolaíocht

University College Cork, Cork,