Thursday 25 May 2017

An Ireland already changing on the eve of the Easter Rising

O'Connell Bridge and Sackville (O'Connell) St, showing the aftermath of the 1916 Rising. Photo: Independent Newspapers
O'Connell Bridge and Sackville (O'Connell) St, showing the aftermath of the 1916 Rising. Photo: Independent Newspapers

Gerard O'Regan

Idrone Terrace is an imposing set of 19th-century houses, facing onto the sea near Blackrock Railway Station in south Co Dublin. One hundred years ago - as Padraig Pearse and his inner circle were finalising their plans for the Easter Rising - this sturdy bastion of middle-class respectability was surely oblivious to all that would soon engulf their city.

The 1911 census gives us some insight into the pace of rapid social change that was unfolding among the Irish middle classes at the time.

Back then, as the Dublin and Kingstown railway deposited its daily coterie of passengers in Blackrock, returning from their offices and businesses, an armed rebellion against his Majesty the King hardly seemed on the horizon.

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