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Chapters

The 1916 Easter Rising

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man, concerned for his survival. But when the blood was wiped away, Clarke proved to have suffered no more than facial wounds, at which his friends rejoiced, then gradually began to feel uneasy. ' So much for these bloody cannisters ' one of them said ' If it didn't blow Liam's head off, the divil little use it is to us. ' As Pearse ordered Clarke to the hospital, despite the man's insistence that he stay and fight, some of his comrades took a selection of the ' bloody cannisters ' out onto the street to test them. When they set them off, against Nelson's Pillar, the foundation did not even tremble, nor was the stone chipped. The only result was a fast-spreading rumor up and down Sackville Street, and eventually, and eventually throughout Dublin that ' those eejits are trying now to blow up the pillar. ' The whole incident served no other purpose than to call to the attention of a sniper on the Post Office

roof a target that would at least pass for an English military man in the absence of any flesh-and-blood English soldiers. The sniper took a pot shot at Lord Nelson, standing firm upon his lofty pedestal, and plucked the nose from his face. Joesph Plunkett's strength was waning again to such an extent he had to go upstairs and rest, leaving Brennan Whitmore in charge of the table from which Plunkett operated as military planner and communications officer. Before giving way to his exhaustion, however, Plunkett had received from outposts in other parts of the city a series of reports, which he found, on the whole satisfactory. Every few minutes now, dispatch riders were arriving at the GPO on motorcycles delivering their messages. The most exciting report, not yet confirmed, was that several Citizen Army men under Sean Connolly ( unrelated to Commnandant General James Connolly ) had attacked Dublin Castle, the seat of British government in Ireland, had shot a guard and were apparently on possession of that huge, rambling complex of structures. These men had been assigned to make only a hit-and-run attack on the castle, for it was resumed to be too well guarded to take and too large to defend, then go on to their primary objective, City Hall, which was nearby. It was almost too good to believe they could have taken the castle.

Another Citizen Army detachment under the command of two of James Connolly's close associates, Michael Mallin and Countess Constance Markiewicz ( a fanatical Irish patriot, depsite the flavour of her name ) had taken St. Stephen's Green and was preparing for attack from any direction. At the Four Courts on King's Inn Quay, men under Edward Daly ( Tom Clarke's brother-in law ) after taking the building, had encountered the company of Lancers escorting supply wagons from the harbor at the North Wall toward Phoenix Park - the same company the Volunteers at O'Connell Bridge had allowed to pass unchallenged. These Lancers had not been so fortunate a second time. Daly's men had opened fire on them, killed two, and drive the others into a building on Charles Street, where they were presently under siege. The wagon they were escorting had apparently been loaded with ammunition. At Portobello Bridge, a group of Citizen Army men protecting St. Stephen's Green had engaged troops stationed in Portobello Barracks and were getting support from Thomas MacDonagh's unit, which was already in control of the huge Jacob's biscuit factory dominating