Getting things into perspective for a 'new start'
Published 07/02/2016 | 02:30
Two weeks on from the reading of the Proclamation, Monday, May 8, was seized upon by the Irish Independent and its advertisers not just as the first day of a new week, but of a concerted and structured new start.
A bright and breezy editorial stated: "We are quite sure that the leading businessmen of the city will do everything that energy and foresight can effect in restoring the commercial life of Dublin."
Chiming in with the upbeat mood, McBirney's Department Store emphasised that Ireland was at the start of a new fashion season, too, announcing: "Stocks (are) in Perfect Order and, being only recently delivered, comprise all the Newest and Most Fashionable goods for the Season."
Grasping the old adage about an ill-wind blowing some good, the construction, furniture and security trades were all positioning themselves to prosper from the rebuilding boom about to kick off. In the aftermath of the looting epidemic that had swept Dublin, several firms took out adverts along the lines of: "Protect Your Premises By Using O'Hara's Revolving Shutters".
But construction bosses perusing the pages plastered with builders' adverts would have lingered over a notice placed by the joiners' and carpenters' unions. Despite government instructions that all employees should return to work, the unions demanded their share of the coming windfall with the blunt message: "Members of above Societies are not to resume work until directed to do so by their Society Officials. Moderate terms have been offered to the Employers Federation, to which we still await a reply."
For many businesses, the ill wind had blown just ill, with payments lost or delayed in the post, and the certainty that some chancers would try to turn the Rising into an excuse to welsh on debts. This was the subtext to several ads, including one from the musical-instrument firm Butlers. Informing their customers that "the shattering was confined to our offices, where above the shells burst", Butlers served notice that "all books were preserved in safes. We ask the favour of payment of all outstanding accounts." In other words, their list monies owed was intact, just in case anyone hoped the records had gone up in flitters.
In an edition which carried the usual celebrity gossip involving the royals, aristocracy and ascendancy (the Prince of Wales was writing a book about his war exploits), the editorial tone was once again deeply hostile to the rebels. Having endorsed calls for clemency two days earlier, the paper focused particular blame on "the backwash of the Larkinite movement", meaning the seditious scourge of socialism.
Noting that 18 ringleaders had had their death sentences commuted, the paper heaped special scorn on the "highly strung" Countess Constance Markievicz, who had let down her family and her class.
All in all, however, as the capital got back to its old self, the writer felt that "the outside world is getting the matter into its true perspective", while at home the Rising "was, save in a few places, utterly insignificant".