skull 4


The 1916 Easter Rising

skull 4

Moore Lane


The O'Rahiily is badly wounded here and takes cover in Sampson Lane

Sackville Street


Taking a deep breath, he came out of the doorway and ran toward Sampson Lane. He had almost reached the corner when he was stopped short by the thudding impact of bullets hitting his midsection. Gasping in pain, he went down on one knee, then pitched forward on his face. But he did not lose consciousness. After the shock subsided, he realised he had to find cover, for bullets were still dancing all round him. Inch by inch, clutching his wounded belly, he dragged himself into Sampson Lane, where he fell against the sheltering wall of the corner building. Lying on the damp pavement with the Post office fire casting enough indirect light to let him watch the blood ooze from his body, O'Rahilly decided his week-long expectation of

death was an almost immediate certainty, and he longed to say at least a few final words to his family before he died. He searched in his pocket for a piece of paper and found a letter from one his little boys, Aodhgan. On the back of it he wrote a note to his wife and children assuring them again of his love and asking them to try and understand the beliefs and feelings that had brought him to this end. Having finished the note, he folded it, put it into his breast pocket, and turned his head to peer round the corner, up the fire-lit street toward the British barricade from which the bullets were coming. At 8.40pm Patrick Pearse, standing near the doorway of the burning Post office with drawn sword, explained again to his men that their objective was the Williams and Wood factory on Parnell Street and told them how to get there. Volunteer John McLoughlin, who had somehow missed the earlier announcements of their destination and who had spent the first three days of the week on the streets carrying messages to the eastern outposts, stared in surprise and horror at his commander in chief. ' We can't go there sir ' he said. ' The British have been in control of the whole area since Wednesday. ' It was not exactly news to Pearse. The British controlled almost every area in the city, but he wasn't hoping to take over an area. He would be satisfied at this point


Taken on the exact spot where O'Rahilly lay wounded -The corner of Sampson Lane, with the GPO in the background.

to seize just one solid building. He called out the long awaited evacuation order, and the men so frightened of the flames behind them that they small thought to the bullets in front of them, began dashing out across Henry Street in Henry Place. As the men ran British snipers on rooftops to the west soon saw what was happening and opened fire. Joseph Plunkett, Sean MacDermott, and Pearse himself went into the street, spuriing the men on, buoying up their courage in the face of the gunfire. Pearse stood in the street indifferent to the bullets as he supervided the operation. Connolly was carried across on a stretcher, as fast as his bearers could run with such a heacy burden. Close behind him on one side ran a young lad who had decided that with his own body he would shield his commandant from further injury. The young boy was just fourteen years old. Just as close beside him on the other side ran Winifred Carney, who was equally willing to die protecting him. All three of them and the stretcher-bearers reached Henry Place safely. Behind them, guided by Pearse himself, came Elizabeth O'Farrell and Julia Grenan, the two nurses who had remained with the main body. And behind them, carrying an apothecary's basket full of dressings, disinfectants, and stimulants, came Jim Ryan, who, after escorting the wounded as far as the Coliseum theatre, had returned to accompany the main body out of the Post office. Pearse after leading the two girls across the street, went back to the Post office. When all the men were out he and Tom Clarke made the trip into Henery Place, where the rear guard was awaiting orders. Pearse paused and looked once more at the splendid flame stricken building they had held for a week. Was it possible anyone might still be inside it? He had not made the rounds before leaving. Impulsively he ran back across the street and disappeared into that furnace

he had just escaped. The men in Henry Place stood waiting through several minutes of increasing concern before he rejoined them, his eyes swollen by a concentrated dose of heat and smoke. The vanguard of the insurgents had run into desperate trouble as they rounded Henry Place corner and turned north into Moore lane, an alley parallel to Moore Street. Clusters of British machine guns opened up at them from behind a barricade at the top of Moore Lane and from the roof off the Rotunda Hospital at the corner of Parnell and O'Connell Streets. Men were falling in agony and scattering in confusion when John McLoughlin brandishing assuming command, lined them up and marched them back, with their wounded, toward Henry Place. It was not quick enough for some of them. The end of the column caught such heavy fire that more men fell to the ground dead or wounded; others bolted for cover over walls, through windows, and into buildings. So many bullets were hitting the stone wall of the house ( see below photo of actual building ) facing the lane that a cloud of white dust grew out of it. Joeph Plunkett, arriving on the scene as the battered column retreated from Moore Lane, assessed the difficulty and ordered a van dragged across the mouth of the lane. Behind this bullet catcher the men were able to continue their flight in the direction of Moore Street. What they would do when and if they reached Moore Street no one had yet decided.

Moore Lane towards Parnell Street

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Moore Lane towards Parnell Street. Heavy British fire from a barricade at the end of the lane caused many losses amongst the men who had just left the GPO