Friday 22 November 2019

Grenade made safe in Phoenix Park 'may have been meant for Magazine Fort attack'

File picture of Army Bomb Disposal Unit.
File picture of Army Bomb Disposal Unit.

Emma Jane Hade

The grenade which was rendered safe after a controlled explosion carried out by the Defence Forces over the weekend may have been 99 years old and date back to the 1916 Easter Rising.

The Army bomb disposal team was deployed to the Phoenix Park in Dublin on Saturday afternoon after a family noticed a suspicious device protruding from the grass.

They immediately recognised it as a hand grenade and contacted the emergency services.

The bomb disposal team was deployed to the scene which was close to the Magazine Fort near the Chapelizod entrance to the city centre park.

A spokesperson for the Defence Forces said the grenade was then "safely moved" to an open area where it was made safe following a controlled explosion shortly after 4pm.

The Defence Forces said the grenade was viable and a "Mills type" device dating from the early 20th century.

Dublin historian Gerry Cooley said the location suggested that the grenade may possibly date from as far back as the 1916 Easter Rising. "The Phoenix Park was the residence of the Viceroy and was the symbol of British power," Mr Cooley said.

"The artefact that was found could have been part of the arsenal of the partisan rebels, who were going to attack the Magazine Fort but unfortunately it was locked. They couldn't get in," he said.

Mr Cooley explained that this attack was originally intended to act as a signal that the Easter Rising was happening.

"That was actually the official precursor of the 1916 rebellion. Obviously the lads went into the General Post Office and did all of that. But, the signal to everybody was the attack on the Magazine Fort. So the grenade quite possibly belongs to that period," he said.

He added that in the Rebellion of 1798 the instruction to signal the start of the uprising was to burn the stage coaches.

"Once the stage coaches were burned, that was the signal that everything was on. They always needed something that was obvious to everyone to signal that it was on," he explained.

Irish Independent

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