Wednesday 22 May 2019

News-diary: 'revolution breaks out'

Newsdesk Diary 1916
Newsdesk Diary 1916
Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

The writing is scrawled across the news-diary page, as if scribbled in great haste. The words are in pencil, and the message is brief: "Revolution breaks out in city between 11&12 noon."

The date for the message, written in the Charles Letts's Office Scribbling Diary for 1916, is April 24, the day the Easter Rising began.

The author was the news editor of the Irish Independent. The diary was used as a roster of events ("markings", as they're known in the trade) to be covered by reporters. The two subsequent days are blank.

Judging by the entries up to that Easter weekend, it had been life as usual for the Irish Independent reporters. According to their roster, they covered events such as the Father Matthew Feis and a series of Lenten lectures.

On Easter Sunday, they were sent to cover the liturgies at prominent Dublin churches. For the page for Easter Monday, a reporter was marked for the Viceregal visit to Belfast.

Michael Knightly was down for the Teachers' Congress in Cork, while another reporter was assigned to the drapers' assistants' annual convention and dinner.

There are some signs of Volunteer activity. The reporter listed as Linnane was required to check out "Brittas and dynamite" and "volunteers and Kerry incident". Two others were also marked for "volunteers", one of them to take in "strikes" as well.

Presumably, none of these markings was covered when all hell broke loose in the middle of the day. The news editor's note that revolution had broken out was written across other diary entries (see diary photo).

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