The long road home from the RDS in 1916
Nicholas Taylor was a farm manager from the Woodstock Estate in Kilkenny charged with bringing a bull to the Dublin Spring Show at Easter 1916. His diary, recently rediscovered by his great-grand daughter Deborah Lee Byrne, provides a vivid first-hand account of the Rising and its aftermath.
"We headed to Stephen's Green gardens where a company of Sinn Feiners were entrenched, with Markievicz as officer. They were surrendering, leaving their guns against railings. There were a company of military in a college overlooking the gardens.
We came to Butt Bridge but there were Shinners there and they would not let us pass. We went lower down [the Liffey] and we were put across in a boat. There we met a man who was going home to North Circular road and he said he would take us a short way there.
When we got to the back of Amiens Street [Connolly] Station the military were pouring out the gates to surround Dublin and would not let us pass.
We went along another street, up from the quay, and past some slums on to the [North] Circular road. It was surrounded by military who had arrived from England. We went to Drumcondra Bridge, but an Officer there would not let us pass.
I asked for the OC, and he told me I would see him with other officers on the street, and gave me a description of him. I showed him my [RDS] show papers he said he was sorry he could not let us pass. But they were to give permits the following morning at Dublin Castle.
We then tried to get into some hotel but could not. They all said they were full up. So we did not know what to do. When I saw a neighbour of mine, who was at business in the city, coming up the street. He said he was going home to Kilkenny. I made the remark that the city was surrounded he said he knew an archway under the road. I told him we could not get into any hotel. He mentioned one hotel and told me to mention his name. We were after calling at this place earlier and they said they were full up.
When we called again a girl put her head out and said the landlady was over at the hospital seeing the wounded. We waited. When I gave my friend's name she took us in. There were only three people in the house: an old Sea Captain; a lady teacher; and an electrician from Belfast.
The landlady said she had no food in the house and the Captain suggested that we go out in the morning and get some. So the next morning we took four sacks and went down the street. A large shop was looted - even the counter. We saw youngsters without a sack with fur coats dragging after them, and others with bundles of silk stockings and rolls of tweed. They asked us to buy them, one shilling a bundle, and when we refused they pelted the bundle at us. It was a frightful sight. I saw a priest coming out of a chapel and he beseeched them to stop, but they paid no attention to him.