Insider Tips

1916 Tours: Walk the Rebellion

By Visit Dublin

1st February 2016

One of the best things about visiting a new city is scratching the surface to explore its hidden history. This is especially true of Dublin and its colourful past, set to be celebrated this year with a series of events to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Behind the capital's many striking facades, you’ll find the stories of the Rising, waiting to be explored.

Take a walk through the past on a 1916 tour and follow in the footsteps of the rebels with the Dublin Discovery Rebellion Trail...

1916 Easter Rising

2016 was a especially significant year for Dublin, as it marks the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, a week-long siege that saw a group of rebels rise up against British rule in Ireland. It was a fascinating chapter in Dublin’s story, with many buildings, parks and streets playing a part in a week of activity that would ultimately change the course of Irish history. Using our free Discovery Trails app, you can now follow in the rebels’ footsteps by joining an Easter Rising Tour to find out how this historic event played out around the city all those years ago. It’s easy to use; simply download it from the App or Play Store, and select ‘Rebellion’ from the list of options. The trail itself is broken into 11 sections, so you can go at your own pace, spreading it over a couple of hours or a couple of days.

‘Rebellion’ kicks off at majestic Dublin Castle, which in 1916 was the ultimate symbol of British rule in Ireland. Follow the members of the Irish Citizen Army as they unsuccessfully attempt to take it over on Easter Monday, 1916. After also visiting City Hall next door, to which the rebels retreated after leaving the Castle, you’ll wind your way through the city’s pulsing Creative Quarter towards St. Stephen’s Green. En route, be sure to pass through the George’s Street Arcade, a gorgeous Victorian building that’s home to an eclectic range of vintage shops, cafés and record stores. As you stroll through the leafy Green (opened to the public in 1880), you’ll learn how the rebels took cover from British soldiers in trenches they’d dug, before retreating to the nearby Royal College of Surgeons.
A stroll down bustling shopping district Grafton Street will bring you to Trinity College, which sits at a major junction in the city and so offered access to many of the rebels’ key locations. This majestic building was in fact used as a base for the British Army during the Rising. Venture onto its cobbled campus today and visit the Book of Kells; a beautifully illustrated manuscript written by early Irish Christian monks.

You’ll then cross the River Liffey via O’Connell Bridge, and move onto Dublin’s northside, where the most dramatic events unfolded. On O’Connell Street, you’ll find both a towering statue of ‘the Emancipator’ Daniel O’Connell and the rebels’ main base, the General Post Office (GPO), both of which still bear bullet marks from the fighting. Events are further brought to life within the app with a re-enacted account from a staff member who took part in the fighting.

Moving down to Moore Street –  a culturally diverse melting-pot of activity – today you’ll find traditional Dublin traders rubbing shoulders with Chinese, Indian and African vendors, stores and restaurants. But in 1916, the tone was more solemn; rebels retreated from the GPO and moved to a row of houses which you’ll see distinctly marked (numbers 14 – 17). Around the corner on O’Rahilly Parade, you’ll find a beautiful monument on the wall commemorating Michael O’Rahilly, a founding member of the Irish Volunteers, who died nearby. The plaque is a recreation of an emotional letter O’Rahilly wrote to his wife in the moments before his death. 

The tour takes approximately two hours to complete, and offers a fantastic glimpse into the frenzied events that took place that fateful week. Don’t forget to check out our other trails within the Dublin Discovery Trails app too, which include ‘The Story of Dublin’, ‘Echoes of War’, and ‘Empire’.

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