The recent 100-year anniversary of the 1916 Rising was a fascinating time for Ireland
It was a time to reflect on how the Free State was born, how the country has changed over the past hundred years and – for many – the media coverage gave an educational look at the Rising itself.
Thankfully, several of the pivotal sites of the Rising are preserved or restored. And some are now museums. We’ve put together some of the most notable sites, in both Dublin and Cork.
The Garden of Remembrance, Dublin City
An appropriately serene and peaceful pocket of Dublin City, the Garden of Remembrance is dedicated to “all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom”. So, as well as those who died in 1916, the Garden pays tribute to those who lost their lives in the 1803 Rebellion of Robert Emmet, the 1848 Rebellion of Young Ireland and the Irish War of Independence.
The centrepiece, a sculpture by Oisin Kelly, is based on the Children of Lir.
The General Post Office, Dublin City
A stunning landmark, not just because of its place in Irish history, but also thanks to its incredible architecture. It’s a gorgeous building, taking some influence from Ancient Greece (specifically the ionic columns).
The General Post Office (or GPO) was a focal point in the 1916 Rising. The building was famously used a headquarters for the leaders of the uprising. And it was on this spot, in 1916, where Patrick Pearse read out the Proclamation of the Irish Republic.
As any Dubliner will tell you, bullet holes are still in the walls.
Patrick Pearse Museum, St. Enda’s Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin
This little gem is in the middle of the popular, well-maintained St Enda’s park in Rathfarnham.
Patrick Pearse was an educator and nationalist who was executed for his part in the 1916 Rising. He was a major figure in the uprising, issuing orders to all volunteer units for the three days of manoeuvres beginning on Easter Sunday and writing widely distributed political pamphlets in preceding months.
The museum contains recreations or restored versions of the classrooms, dormitory, gallery and waiting room of the old school founded by Pearse. It’s open seven days a week and admission is free. At least one tradition of the school lives on, with the park’s hurling pitches getting regular use to this day.
The Four Courts, Dublin City
The Four Courts, still in operation, has seen some of the most brutal and tragic events of 1916 and the Civil War. It was the headquarters of the 1st Battalion (led by Limerickman, Commandant Edward Daly) during the Rising.
Intense fighting took place in the Four Courts and surrounding area (including Church Street and North King Street) during Easter Week. Then, much of the building was subsequently destroyed during the Irish Civil War in 1922. Ten years later, it was rebuilt, remodelled and reopened.
Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin
The site of incarceration and execution of many key figures in the 1916 Rising, Kilmainham Gaol has had a long, often miserable history. An often-overcrowded prison, it housed men, women and children (at the same time) while it was open.
Famous prisoners include Éamon De Valera (who was an inmate on two occasions), Patrick Pearse and his brother Willie, Joseph Plunkett and Constance Markievicz. While other icons, such as James Connolly, were executed but not incarcerated there.
Even if you’ve never visited the Gaol (and we’re recommend you do), you might be familiar with its interior: Films shot in this location include The Italian Job, Michael Collins, The Wind that Shakes the Barley and Paddington 2, starring Brendan Gleeson. In another link to the Rising, Gleeson played Michael Collins in a TV movie.
Michael Collins Birthplace and Michael Collins Park, County Cork
The Big Fella was born in a small house. This humble cottage still stands at Woodfield, near Clonakilty in County Cork. The Collins family lived there until it was sold in 1923, but it was opened to the public by President Patrick Hillery in 1990 (on the 100th anniversary of Collins’ birth).
The actual farmhouse where he spent most of his childhood was burned down, sadly. But the homestead, Collins’ birthplace and the beautiful surrounding land are all worth a visit.
This is located close to Michael Collins Centre, which is in Castleview, roughly 5km northeast of Clonakilty. The Centre contains an exhibition of Collins photographs, memorabilia and militaria including personal items belonging to Collins. There’s also a statue of Collins in the vicinity and a site that recreates the location of his fatal shooting. Relatives of Collins have given numerous talks at this Centre.
1916: A Defining Moment
The fateful Easter Week of 1916 was a decisive time in Irish history. For Ireland, of course, it is connected to both the Civil War that ensued and the establishment of the Free State.
Thanks to some fine preservation work and investment in historical sites, it’s relatively easy to walk in the footsteps of the men and women who played a part in the Rising.
And remember, all of these locations can be handily found in the Maps listed below which you can buy from our Online Store. We’ll always keep you on the right track.