January 9-15 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, January 10, 1916
- STRIKE AT GLASNEVIN
Strike at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, Saturday: “It is reported that 30 grave-diggers at the Glasnevin Cemetery went on strike owing to the refusal of their demand of an extra 5 shillings for Sunday work. There are now only four grave-diggers at work in the cemetery.”
Tuesday, January 11, 1916
- IRISH TROOPS AT THE FRONT: BAPTISM OF FIRE
“While the Christmas dinner was not exactly on a par with that at home it was quite good when you consider the difficulties in the way, and although we had no fowls we rose to the dignity of a fine plum pudding provided out of the “Daily News” fund. There is not very much fighting going on now beyond artillery duels, and our worst enemy is the mud, which generally reaches to about our knees. Such mud as it is, too — not the respectable “puck” (Killorglin) mud, bad as that is, but slimy, sticky stuff which clings to you, and clothes you as in a blanket.”
From a letter home to Killorglin, Co Kerry, from Lance-Corporal M.J. Duffy at the front with the 16th Division, one of three sons of RIC ex-sergeant Mr J. Duffy.
- IRELAND AND COMPULSION
“At the monthly meeting of the Cork County Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians on Sunday, Mr. Hoare, President, in the chair, and the chaplain (Rev J. Russell, C.C.) also in attend-ance, the following resolution was unanimously adopted: That we extend our congratulations to Mr Redmond, MP, and the Irish Party for their successful efforts in getting Ireland excluded from the Conscription Bill now before Parliament.”
Wednesday, January 12, 1916
- FERMOY SESSIONS
“Head-Constable Rowe summoned Mr Thos. Curtin, publican, Barrack Hill, for that on the 12th December he failed to admit Constable Thomas Bourke in the execution of his duty. Mr LS Troy, solicitor, appeared for the defendant. The evidence of Constables Bourke and Donoghue was to the effect that they saw a man standing in the doorway. The door was open, and he passed into the house. The police went to the premises, but failed to get admittance.” Head Constable William Rowe would die in a shoot-out at the home in Castlelyons of brothers Thomas, David, Richard and William Kent on May 2, 1916, following the Easter Rising. Richard was shot and died trying to escape, Thomas Kent was court-martialled and executed on May 10.
Thurday, January 13, 1916
- CORK COPORATION
A Cork Corporation committee granted an application for the City Hall to be used by the Irish Volunteers for a public meeting “to protest against conscription of Irish men for military service”. An application was granted for free use of the hall on April 28, except the cost of gas, for a concert in aid of the St Francis Total Abstinence Society. The Order of St Francis wanted to furnish a hall to be used to further the cause of temperance, and committee chairman Cllr Denis O’Mahony said they “could not assist a more worthy project”.
From a letter to Cork Corporation’s Law and Finance Committee on behalf of the Catholic Bishop of Cork Alphonsus O’Callaghan who objected to applications for Sunday openings for two cinemas: the Coliseum on King St, now MacCurtain St, and the Imperial Cinema, George’s St, now Oliver Plunkett St: “The unhappy and much-to-be-feared result of this would be that in a very short time these places would be in full swing on Sundays, the religious and sacred character of the Sunday relegated to a place in past history in Cork, and the day might then be not far distant when the atmosphere of our city would be permeated with that spirit of irreligion which has become the curse of so many of the great continental centres in recent years.” The committee rejected the applications.
Saturday, January 15, 1916
- CORK POLICE OFFICE
On Friday Constable Harrington summoned Edward Houlihan, 4 Cattle Market Street, for furiously driving a pony and spring cart at the Lower Glanmire Road on the 5th inst. Fined 1s. and costs…
Not in the News
Many of the main players in the 1916 Rising featured regularly in newspapers of the time, but most of the activities relating to the Rising did not feature in the news and are only now known from information held in archives.
Monday, January 10, 1916
- Among those seen by Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) visiting Tom Clarke’s shop at 75 Parnell St were Seán MacDiarmada. Both were members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood’s Military Council, by now heavily advanced in planning the Rising. (Both would also be executed in its aftermath). MacDiarmada was also seen attending an Irish Volunteers drill parade in Parnell Square, Dublin. Michael O’Rahilly (the O’Rahilly, who would be killed during the Rising) and Éamon de Valera were seen visiting the Irish Volunteers head office in Dawson St.
Wednesday, January 12, 1916
- An anti-conscription meeting organised by the Irish Volunteers at Cork City Hall attracted 1,500 people, and 30 of the 150 Volunteers among them were armed.
- Fr Michael O’Flanagan, who presided at Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral the previous August, was the main speaker. Although his language was “strongly pro-German”, local police surmised it would have little effect. It nevertheless prompted the Daily Express to describe Sinn Féin (of which Fr O’Flanagan would later be president) and the Irish Volunteers as “a rising force”.
- Dublin Metropolitan Police saw Countess Constance Markievicz going into the office of John R Reynolds in College St. (Countess Markievicz was a key figure in James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army, who would take up arms in St Stephen’s Green on Easter Monday, 1916. Reynolds, a local head of he IRB, was in the GPO during the Rising.)
Among those who met at the Volunteers’ offices were subsequent signatories of the Proclamation of the Republic on Easter Monday: Tomás MacDonagh, Seán MacDiarmada, and Pádraig Pearse, as well as Éamon de Valera, the O’Rahilly, and Volunteers founder Bulmer Hobson, who opposed a rebellion when he learned of the plans.
Thursday, January 13, 1916
- Terence MacSwiney, full-time organiser for the Irish Volunteers in Cork organiser, and Thomas Kent, from Castlelyons, near Fermoy, were arrested for “seditious” speeches at Ballynoe in East Cork where they disrupted an army recruitment rally. Kent threatened hunger strike while awaiting charges. (Kent was executed in Cork on May 10, 1916, after being court-martialed in relation to the shooting dead of Head Constable William Rowe a week earlier. MacSwiney would die on hunger strike in October 1920, when he was Lord Mayor of Cork, a TD in the first Dáil, and in command of the IRA’s Cork No 1 Brigade.)
- Tom Clarke’s shop was visited by MacDiarmada, Con Colbert (who would be executed along with Clarke and MacDiarmada after the Rising), and future President of Ireland Seán T O’Kelly.
- Hobson, Michael O’Hanrahan (another man executed for his role in the Rising), the O’Rahilly, Éamon de Valera, and others, were seen by police attending meetings at Irish Volunteers headquarters.
Friday, January 14, 1916
- Among those who the DMP observed at the Irish Volunteers’ Dawson St offices were MacDonagh, Hobson, MacDiarmada, Joseph Plunkett (IRB Military Council member, Proclamation signatory, and executed on May 4, 1916), Colbert and de Valera. The movements were also noted of JJ Walsh, one of the founders of the Irish Volunteers in Cork, who would fight in the Rising with the Hibernian Rifles, associated with the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
JJ Walsh later became TD for Cork City, 1919-21.
Saturday, January 15, 1916
- In Glasgow, two men were arrested in connection with raids for explosives at a rural coal mine. The offences were the work of local Irish Volunteers, who had been dispatching the gelignite to Dublin, which was now known to police and government officials in Ireland.
- A week of officer training courses for Irish Volunteers battalion officers began in their Dublin HQ. Over the weekend, DMP observed about 240 Irish Volunteers assemble and march under command of Ned Daly, Frank Fahy, Joseph McGuinness and Gerald Griffin. (Daly, commandant of the Volunteers Dublin 1st Battalion, would be executed on May 4, 1916).
Sunday, January 16, 1916
- An Irish Volunteers general council meeting in Dublin was attended by members from around the country. Under the chair of Eoin MacNeill, training and equipping Volunteers was discussed, and a resolution passed deploring British policy of detaining Irish Volunteers without trial, sometimes without charge. Police reported those at the meeting included Pearse, O’Rahilly, Hobson, Plunkett, MacDiarmada, MacDonagh, and others.
- The IRB’s supreme council decided in Clontarf Town Hall to rise at the earliest possible date. They did not know the smaller IRB military council had already fixed Easter Sunday, April 23, for the Rising to begin.
Dublin Metropolitan Police ‘Movement of Extremists’ files in the National Archives of Ireland (available online: www.nationalarchives.ie)
Bureau of Military History witness statements and Military Archives timeline (both online – www.militaryarchives.ie)
RIC Inspector General and County Inspector reports (University College Cork special collections)