On Easter Monday, 24th April, 1916, Pádraig Pearse read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic outside the GPO in Dublin.
Although it was planned as a national event, due to confusion around countermanding orders, the 1916 Rising was confined to the streets of Dublin where about 1,500 Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army, assisted by Cumann na mBan, occupied key locations around the capital.
Outside of Dublin, the rebels took the Athenaeum theatre in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, launched an attack against the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) at Ashbourne, County Meath, while the Kent brothers in County Cork attacked Bawnyard House in Castlelyons.
The largest uprising outside of Dublin, however, was in the West; in County Galway, Liam Mellows led hundreds of Volunteers in a Rising in the east of the county, which lasted from Tuesday, 25th April to Saturday, 29th April, 1916.
My 1916 Rising Tour of Galway lasts about half a day, and takes in the principal centres of action during Easter Week in County Galway. My own grandfather, James Ward, was a Galway Volunteer who participated in the Rising and was subsequently interned in Perth and later in the famous Frongoch Camp in North Wales.
A bus tour around the sites of interest takes you to:-
- Carnmore cross
- Athenry Model Farm
- Moyode Castle
- Limepark House, Peterswell
Easter Tuesday Morning, 1916.
The starting point of the 1916 Rising in Galway. Early on Tuesday, 25th April.
2. Clarinbridge (former RIC barracks)
7.20 AM to 10.38 AM.
First military action of the Rising in Galway.
Joe Howley, Captain of the Oranmore Volunteers, led an attack on the Oranmore RIC barracks. An attempt was made to mine the bridge.
4. Carnmore cross
5 AM to 5.30 AM, Wednesday.
The only fatal casualty of the 1916 Rising in Galway occurred.
5. Model Farm, Athenry
Occupied by approximately 500 Volunteers.
6. Moyode Castle
Wednesday to Friday.
Liam Mellows and the Volunteers abandoned the Model Farm to retreat to Moyode Castle (Persse estate, owned by Lady Ardilaun).
7. Limepark House
Approximately 150 to 300 Volunteers. Here, a decision to disband was made and ended the 1916 Rising in County Galway.