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Easter Massacre in Ireland: 1916 North King Street Uprising

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L.M.Reid is an Irish writer who has published many history articles online and in magazines.

Commander Edward Daly

This is the story of Edward Ned Daly, an Irish soldier fighting during the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, Ireland. He was executed by firing squad and his body was thrown into a mass grave with other executed leaders. He is remembered at Arbour Hill Memorial Park in Dublin.

The North King Street Massacre was carried out on innocent Irish civilians by the British Army. The battle was being lost by the British troops, so they picked a street at random and rounded up all the boys and men in the houses. They murdered them all out of revenge.

After the Irish soldiers who were the leaders were executed, Britain held an inquiry about the massacre because of public outrage. No one was punished for this terrible crime.

Edward Daly was an Irish soldier during the 1916 Easter Rising.

Edward Daly was an Irish soldier during the 1916 Easter Rising.

Easter Monday in 1916

The Easter Rising began at noon on Easter Monday 24 April 1916. There were three Irish organisations that came together to fight in Dublin that week. They were the men of The Irish Volunteers, with schoolteacher and barrister Patrick Pearse as the leader.

The men and women of The Irish Citizen Army had Trades unionist James Connolly as the leader and the women of the Cumann na mBan, the female wing of The Irish Volunteers. The General Post Office on Sackville Street, now O’Connell Street, became the headquarters during the battles. James Connolly and Patrick Pearse were stationed at the GPO.

Proclamation of the Irish Republic

Once the GPO was secured, the British flag was removed and two Irish flags were hoisted onto the roof. Patrick Pearse and James Connolly then stepped outside the building and declared that Ireland was now free from British rule and a Republic.

Patrick Pearse read out the Proclamation of the Irish Republic to the people. There were other outposts around Dublin that had been captured by the Irish soldiers at the same time as the GPO that day.

Edward Daly and The 1916 Easter Rising

Edward Daly and The 1916 Easter Rising

Four Courts Garrison

This covered a wide area, including North Circular Road, Church Street, North King Street and Linenhall Street. The headquarters was set up in Father Mathew Hall, Church Street. The barricades in N.C.R. came under heavy fire on Tuesday evening from artillery guns. The British soldiers had taken over Bourke's undertakers in Queen Street.

The men could not defend the barricade in the NCR so they retreated to headquarters. Edward Daly sent some to the Four Courts and some to other outposts. A group of 40 Irish soldiers captured the Bridewell police station. The Linenhall Barracks were also captured.

They did not have enough men to defend the barracks so James Connolly sent an order to have it burnt down, rather than allowing the British troops to capture it.

Linenhall Barracks

By Thursday, the fire at the Linenhall Barracks was getting out of control. Edward Daly was afraid the surrounding houses would burn down. Daly's men went to put out the fire; they were under constant danger of being killed by the machine guns on the roof of the Jervis Street hospital and the Broadstone. Eventually, they managed to get the fire under control.

Edward Daly

Edward Daly was born in February of 1891 in Limerick. He was the only son in his family, with nine older sisters. His father died six months before he was born. One of his sisters was Kathleen Clarke, the wife of Tom Clarke who was also taking part in the Rising.

There were Volunteers on the roofs of the houses in Smithfield and Beresford Street and barricades in Church Street, Beresford Street, Coleraine Street, Smithfield and North King Street. They also had men on the Jameson Chimney in Smithfield. The British troops were pinned down from all sides. Battles were going on in all the surrounding streets.

George's Hill Convent

The school and convent was in the middle of these fierce battles. Bullets from both sides went astray and walls and windows were shattered. The Presentation nuns prayed that the convent and school would not be destroyed. The fires were also getting closer to the building.

Two pictures in the convent, one of Our Lady and another of St Teresa, were badly damaged by the bullets. The nuns made plans to evacuate the convent but they realised they would be safer inside rather than try to cross Green Street where the bullets were flying all around them.

North King Street Massacre in 1916

The South Staffordshire Regiment was ordered to get through Capel Street and link up with the other Brigade in Queen Street. Commander Taylor of the British Army had stopped at the end of North King Street and Capel Street.

He took over the Bolton Street Technical School with his men deployed on the roof of the building. When an armoured car arrived, it went slowly up North King Street, firing all the time. The British troops were sheltering behind it and were able to enter the houses.

Reilly's pub, now called 'The Tap', was on the corner of Church Street and North King Street. It took up a large area and was held by the Volunteers. Thirty British troops went into the houses of North King Street and committed murder. In all sixteen men and boys were killed.

After the Rising these murders were disclaimed as a rumour. The authorities maintained that the civilians were killed in the crossfire, even though the women in the houses were witnesses to the atrocities.

It was only when the bodies of two more men in number 177 North King Street were found buried in the cellar, that General Maxwell, the Commander in Chief of Ireland, admitted that the British troops were responsible.

Father Mathew Hall in Dublin, Ireland.

Father Mathew Hall in Dublin, Ireland.

The Four Courts Dublin

By Friday night Edward Daly transferred his headquarters to the Four Courts. The Father Mathew Hall had also been used as a hospital with the Cumann na mBan and nurses from the Richmond hospital looking after the men and there were many wounded.

Edward Daly could not defend it much longer, so he decided it would be safer for them to withdraw. That way he hoped the injured would be left alone by the British Army.

Reilly's Pub

The British troops attempted to drop grenades from the roofs of the houses they occupied onto the barricades. The men in Reilly's pub were able to stop them. During the week this pub was nicknamed Reilly's Fort. By 9.00am on Saturday morning, their ammunition ran out so the men decided they had better retreat the few yards to the Father Mathew Hall.

They ran across the road as the British guns fired on them, crawling the last few yards on their hands and knees; surprisingly no one was killed. But the British troops had only managed to advance 200 yards from Bolton Street by Saturday morning.

The Surrender

Edward Daly received the order to surrender from Patrick Pearse and James Connolly. Edward Daly was at the Church Street barricade when he received the order to surrender on Saturday evening. He obeyed the order and surrendered. They marched to the green across the road from the Rotunda with the rest of the Volunteers.

Meanwhile some of the men who were still out in smaller outposts would not believe the surrender order was genuine. A Capuchin priest went out and persuaded them to stop fighting until the order could be confirmed. They gave up their arms once this was established.

Father Mathew Hall

Those in the Father Mathew Hall who were not badly wounded were able to escape. The nurses from the Richmond were allowed to take the badly wounded to the hospital. Some of the Cumann na mBan nurses were hidden in a back room of the church by Father Augustine, the Capuchin priest. At mass next morning, they mingled with the crowds and went home.

Patrick Pearse Surrenders

Patrick Pearse Surrenders

Order to Surrender

Edward Daly was marched to Richmond Barracks. He was tried by Court Martial and then transferred to Kilmainham Jail. He received the sentence of death. He saw Father Aloysius before he died and asked to be remembered to the Sisters of Charity in Brunswick Street.

He was shot dead in Kilmainham Jail yard at dawn on 4th May 1916. His body was dumped in the pit at Arbour Hill and covered in quick lime. There are 13 other Irish soldiers in this mass grave at Arbour Hill Memorial Park in Stoneybatter Dublin 7 Ireland.

President John F Kennedy at Arbour Hill Stoneybatter Dublin 7 Ireland in 1963

President John F Kennedy at Arbour Hill Stoneybatter Dublin 7 Ireland in 1963

The Aftermath

The men and women who took part in the 1916 Easter Rising failed to free Ireland from British Rule that week. What they did do, through their courage and sacrifice, was ignite the desire for Irish freedom once again in the heart and soul of the Irish people. This led to the Irish War of Independence in 1919 and finally freedom from British Rule in January 1923 when Ireland became a Free State.

Edward Daly

He and the other 13 men who lay buried at Arbour Hill Memorial Park are remembered for their part in Irish history. They are: James Connolly, Tom Clarke, Joseph Plunkett, Con Colbert, Sean Heuston, Sean McDermott, Thomas MacDonagh, Michael O'Hanrahan, John McBride, Eamonn Ceannt, Michael Mallin, William Pearse and Patrick Pearse.


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L M Reid (author) from Ireland on December 04, 2019:

Hello Odran, The 1916 Rising was a very sad time for the Irish people after the surrender. The leaders were shot dead when they were prisoners of war. It should never have happened

Odran Diamond on November 23, 2019:

1916 will never leave the minds an hearts of us Irish people , my great grand uncle James Mc Niece shot dead at Bale Na Blaugh ,Cork a week after Michael Collins been shot , so many brave man an wemon gone but never forgotten ,and yet the british still rule in our Country , Ireland is an island on its own 32 counties .

L M Reid (author) from Ireland on November 24, 2014:

Hello Christopher, Yes The Markets Area is steeped in Irish history. I come from down the road in Stoneybatter.

All the Irish soldiers, men women and children were very brave to take part in the Easter Rising and subsequent Irish War of Independence.

UBL on November 22, 2014:


L M Reid (author) from Ireland on May 12, 2013:

The Irish soldiers both men and women knew they were outnumbered in 1916. But they had to try to free Ireland from British Rule. They surrendered in Dublin after a week of fighting. 14 men were executed in Kilmainham Jail over the next few weeks.

The stories of these brave men and women shows how the love of freedom can conquer all fears.

Thank you everyone for reading and taking the time to leave a comment

PSG from San Gerardo, Costa Rica on December 29, 2010:

Great article, I hear they are making a movie about the rising next year!!

billyaustindillon on September 06, 2010:

The 1916 Easter Rising was such a pivotal passage in Irish history - you tell it with interest and empathy.

India Arnold from Northern, California on September 05, 2010:

What a rich bit of Irish History and intense outcome for Daly. I enjoyed reading this hub very much.


prettydarkhorse from US on September 05, 2010:

It is good to know some history in that part of the world, I wish to visit Ireland one day, Thank you, Maita

Jane@CM on September 05, 2010:

My Irish led me to read this hub. It is so rich in history.

Tony from At the Gemba on September 04, 2010:

So much history! Not read so much stuff since I was at school, this is so good!

ltfawkes from NE Ohio on September 04, 2010:

Very interesting and well-writen hub, Viking. Thank you.