Google’s virtual tour of the 1916 Rising has been doing the rounds for a while now but, as the 100-year anniversary commemorations gather steam, interest in it is peaking.
Colin Farrell narrates a pretty excellent site that the Google Cultural Institute put together at the start of this year, walking us through Dublin during the 1916 Rising with imagery and stories setting scene after scene.
There are 22 stops in all, taking in landmarks like Father Mathew Hall, Moore Street, Ship Street Barracks, the Rotunda, Parkgate Street, Richmond Barracks, Arbour Hill and Kilmainham Gaol.
It is well worth a look, regardless of the time of year, as it uses Google’s Street View to speed you around the city, zig-zagging across the Liffey with titbits of information pouring out of every click. There is also this lovely RTÉ tool that offers first-person accounts of the Rising.
Here are 10 key stops along the Google tour:
Sackville Street, today’s O’Connell Street, begins proceedings, naturally enough. Noted as “one of the finest streets in Europe at the time”, the destruction of Sackville Street, with the GPO badly damaged, is one of the most iconic moments of the Rising.
“This building stood at the centre of the Rising, here the rebels raised their flag, read their Proclamation, but who were they?” asks Farrell, who lists the signatories on that proclamation, as well as the various groups who took part in or decided against the bloodshed. Pádraig Pearse’s Irish Volunteers, James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army and the women’s organisation Cumann na mBan were the primary participants.
On the eve of the Rising, the proclamation was printed at Liberty Hall, with the fighting groups armed here before setting out. It was completely destroyed by British forces, despite no rebels being inside during the event.
Beside Dublin Castle – the target, as it was a British Forces base – City Hall was the scene of the first shots of the Rising.
St Stephen’s Green
Members of the Irish Citizen Army under Commandant Michael Mallin and, second in the rebel command, Countess Markievicz, succeeded in occupying St Stephen’s Green, Dublin’s oldest inner-city park.
Royal Hospital, Kilmainham
The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham was the Headquarters of the British Army in Ireland at the time, with General John G. Maxwell leading the 2,500-strong force in the country. It was Maxwell who ordered the execution of the conspirators.
Mount Street Bridge Area
Mount Street was the scene of some of the worst fighting of Easter week, with Éamon de Valera and his troops aiming to halt the supply of British reinforcements to the City.
Boland’s Mill was held by the 3rd Battalion of the Irish Volunteers for the whole of Easter week, and was a strategically important location as it controlled both the railway line and the main road from Dun Laoghaire to the city centre.
Jacob’s Biscuit Factory
Jacob’s Biscuit Factory was occupied by 130 to 150 Volunteers, supplemented by members of Na Fianna Éireann and Cumann na mBan. However, it missed plenty of the fighting as – due to more strategic alternatives, and an incredibly strong defensive position – British troops instead headed for the GPO.
The area witnessed some of the most intense fighting of Easter week. 12 civilians were shot by British Forces on North King Street on Friday, 28 April, an action which ultimately helped turn the tide of public opinion against Britain.
Main image of the GPO via William Murphy/Flickr