Saturday 10 December 2016

How capital's priests braved gunfire in 1916

Sarah Mac Donald

Published 16/09/2015 | 07:00

Culture Night ambassadors Flamenco dancer Jordana Souza with sopranos Tara Erraught and Celine Byrne at Trinity College for the launch. Picture: Photocall
Culture Night ambassadors Flamenco dancer Jordana Souza with sopranos Tara Erraught and Celine Byrne at Trinity College for the launch. Picture: Photocall

Historic accounts of how Dublin's priests braved the crossfire during the 1916 Rising to minister to the injured and dying are to be displayed for the first time.

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The material will go on display this Friday as part of the Archdiocese of Dublin's Culture Night exhibition.

Among the newly released documents are first-hand accounts of how over 40 people sought refuge in the city's Pro Cathedral when fighting erupted at the GPO.

One curate at the Pro Cathedral was Fr Edward J Byrne, who later became the Archbishop of Dublin.

Another curate was Fr John G O'Reilly, and he braved raging fires, artillery and gunfire as he ran from the Pro Cathedral to Wynne's Hotel to attend to a wounded man. The events were, in the words of one priest, "an awful nightmare".

Fr Eugene McCarthy, of St James's Church, attended each of the 14 executions of the leaders of the Rising "being taken from bed each morning at 4am".

In total, 20 priests ministered to the dying and wounded at the city's hospitals, the busiest of which was Jervis Street, as well as on the streets.

Free events are due to take place across the country on Friday to mark Culture Night 2015. They range from a celebration of WB Yeats's poetry in Athenry Heritage Centre, readings of works by Limerick author Kate O'Brien, self-guided tours of the Jeanie Johnston in Dublin, and performances by Dowtcha Puppets of 'The X Tractor' in Cork.

Irish Independent

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