GPO Easter 1916: under fire

Tom Clarke introduced me to Harry O’Hanaghan who was in charge of rifles and munitions. He gave me a Lee Enfield rifle and ammunition. 

Never shall I forget the kind features of Henry who seemed so out-of-place in charge of such deadly weapons. One would have thought him more suited to the charge of a library. But he had a heart like a lion and he proved that in death.

My first duty was making entrances through several houses in Henry Street with the brothers Ring. This family gave about five boys to the cause. 

The Ring brothers had a hard job with hammers and crow-bars. I acted as sentry for them. 

Later I was on the roof of the Post Office armed with a rifle and some grenades – home-made – facing Nelson’s Pillar and watching for any approach on the GPO, especially during the night.

At about 1.00 am a Dublin man in charge of us asked me to look out between the balustrades of the roofs of O’Connell Street to see if any enemy were in sight.

I have only time to draw back to my position when a bullet whizzed by us, grazing both my ear and his. It was a near shave. We were lying together on the roof.

It came from Earl Street or the station.

… more later …

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