The Battle of Mount Street Bridge
March of the Sherwood Foresters

The Arrival

Arriving in from Liverpool the Notts & Derby regiment, commonly known as the Sherwood Foresters, reached Kingstown Harbour in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Many of the regiment's members were barely eighteen; they were young and inexperienced. By Wednesday afternoon they were heavily engaged with the Irish Volunteers.

The Foresters were organised into two columns. Ordered to descend on the city via parallel routes, the right column moved off through the well-to-do suburbs between Kingstown and Dublin.

"On the night of April 24th [...] orders were received to prepare for an immediate move to an unknown destination [...] all that could be learnt was "The train is going to Liverpool." It was learnt on arrival at Kingstown that a Rebellion had broken out in Dublin, that the rebels were holding many of the principal buildings, and that they had established themselves in strong positions with a view to preventing the troops from entering the City."

Elm Park

Elm Park

Ballsbridge

The British troops were welcomed by many of the locals, some of whom provided them with refreshments or, much more crucially, information relating to the rebels movements.

"Refreshments were pressed upon the men [...] in addition to much valuable verbal information [...] that many of the rebels were wearing green uniforms, and that Northumberland Road was likely to prove dangerous.”

Royal Dublin Society

The British troops were welcomed by many of the locals, some of whom provided them with refreshments or, much more crucially, information relating to the rebels movements.

"Refreshments were pressed upon the men [...] in addition to much valuable verbal information [...] that many of the rebels were wearing green uniforms, and that Northumberland Road was likely to prove dangerous.”

Haddington Rd. and Northumberland Rd. Crossing

"The first serious check to the advance was sustained at the corner of Northumberland Road and Haddington Road. The house forming the N.W. angel of this road junction had been thoroughly fortified by the rebels. The windows and doors were sand-bagged or barricaded, and provided with loopholes, through which an accurate fire was kept up. Our Officers were especially singled out, and Captain Dietrichsen and 2nd leut. W.V. Hawken were killed from this house."

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The Sherwood Forrester's Approach

2/7th Battalion
2/8th Battalion
2/7th & 2/8th
Back to the March

25 Northumberland Road

25 Northumberland Road, located at the corner of the junction with Haddington Road, was held by Volunteers Michael Malone and James Grace.

A three-storey, Victorian terraced town-house on the corner of the junction with Haddington Road, 25 Northumberland Road is on the south side of the Grand Canal and a short distance from Mount Street Bridge. It was occupied on Easter Monday by Michael Malone, James Grace, Paddy Rowe and Michael Byrne and was the southernmost location occupied by C Company, 3rd Battalion Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers (Carisbrook House to the south was taken by a different unit). The building was the home of Michael Cussen, described by Grace as ‘friendly’, who had evacuated his family and servants in advance of the Rising. On Easter Monday afternoon, the garrison in No. 25 fired on a column of the Volunteer Training Corps (nicknamed the ‘Gorgeous Wrecks’ for their older age profile and Georgius Rex armbands) returning to Beggar’s Bush barracks after a training exercise. Part-time reservists and made up of professional men, many over military age, the VTC were unarmed or carrying rifles with no ammunition. Five members of the column were killed and seven more wounded.

The following morning, teenagers Rowe and Byrne were sent home for their own safety, leaving Malone and Grace as the sole occupants of No. 25. On Wednesday morning two members of Cumann na mBan, including one of Grace’s sisters, delivered a dispatch with news of the imminent arrival of British troops marching from Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire). Positioned in a third-floor bathroom window, Malone was the first Volunteer to open fire on the advancing Sherwood Foresters with Grace following suit from a window on the second-floor. Their positions offered an ideal field of fire in which to engage British troops moving up Northumberland Road towards the city and along Haddington Road. No. 25 was the first rebel position to fall after it was repeatedly charged by 2/7th Sherwood Foresters armed with hand grenades and its door blown in. Malone was killed by rifle fire but Grace managed to escape.

Parochial Hall

St. Stephen’s Parochial Hall, 1-5 Northumberland Road, was a Church of Ireland hall occupied by four members of C Company, 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers on Easter Monday.

In 1916 St. Stephen’s Parochial Hall, Northumberland Road was a Church of Ireland property used for vestry meetings and other Church events. Located opposite St. Stephen’s Schoolhouse and about 300 yards from 25 Northumberland Road, the hall was also the residence of army pensioner Francis James Tanner and his family. Parochial Hall Volunteer accounts of its occupation on Easter Monday make no mention of the Tanners being present. A two-storey detached building at a recess from the terraces on either side, it was seized by four Volunteers from C Company, 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade. Patrick Doyle (section commander), Joseph Clarke, John McGrath and William Christian spent most of Monday and Tuesday on guard duty and ‘except for an occasional shot here and there’ they encountered no opposition on Monday or Tuesday. The Sherwood Foresters advancing along Northumberland Road on Wednesday afternoon were initially unaware that the Parochial Hall was occupied and were targeting St. Stephen’s Schoolhouse on the opposite side of the road.

Protected from British attack by the position of their building, the garrison in the hall was forced to wait until British troops came alongside their position before opening fire. Soon after, with their ammunition spent and the attack intensifying, the garrison in the building decided to retreat to Boland’s Bakery, headquarters of the 3rd Battalion under its commandant, Eamon de Valera. Having escaped through the back of the hall and out on to Percy Place, they were fired on and captured by British troops.

St. Stephen’s Schoolhouse

The schoolhouse on Northumberland Road, home of St. Stephen’s Parochial School, was initially occupied by four men from C Company, 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers on Easter Monday. By Tuesday the garrison had been withdrawn and the building remained unoccupied.

St. Stephen’s Parochial School was located on Northumberland Road, on the south side of the Grand Canal and close to the embankment at Mount Street Bridge. Administered by the Church of Ireland, the school was housed in a single-story, redbrick building with six rooms. The building was also home to schoolmaster Samuel Flinn. St. Stephen's Schoolhouse Volunteers Denis O’Donoghue (section commander), Seamus Kavanagh, Robert Cooper and Seamus Doyle took the schoolhouse on Monday morning. O’Donoghue later recalled that ‘The lady at the school objected to us and we broke in’. They proceeded to fortify the building by barricading windows and doors. It soon became clear, however, that the position was entirely unsuitable and of no military value. On Tuesday evening a decision was made to evacuate the school and move to Boland’s Bakery, headquarters of the 3rd Battalion under its commandant, Eamon de Valera, to reinforce the garrison there. The building remained unoccupied by rebels for the remainder of the Rising. Believing it to be held by the Volunteers, the Sherwood Foresters initially concentrated efforts on taking the empty schoolhouse, ignoring the garrison of four men positioned in St. Stephen’s Parochial Hall on the other side of Northumberland Road.

Clanwilliam House

Clanwilliam House, 1-2 Clanwilliam Place, was occupied by seven Volunteers from C Company, 3rd Battalion of the Dublin Brigade on Wednesday morning. It was the last rebel post to be taken. Three of its garrison were killed during the fighting.

Clanwilliam House, 1-2 Clanwilliam Place, was part of a row of Georgian houses on the city side of Mount Street Bridge on the intersection with Lower Mount Street and facing the Grand Canal. Samuel Wilson, a retired merchant sailor, his family and servants lived in 1 Clanwilliam Place, while the family and servants of carpenter and contractor Andrew Mathers occupied 2 Clanwilliam Place, next door. Clanwilliam House. A large, three-storey building, it offered an unobstructed view of the bridge and down Northumberland Road. On Easter Monday, the building was occupied by George Reynolds (section commander), Daniel Byrne, William Ronan and James Doyle, the door having been opened for them by a maid.

On Tuesday morning, Paddy Doyle, Richard Murphy and brothers Thomas and James Walsh were sent from Boland’s Bakery, headquarters of the 3rd Battalion under its commandant, Eamon de Valera, to reinforce the garrison in Clanwilliam House. Daniel Byrne was assigned to carry dispatches leaving seven men in possession of Clanwilliam House on Wednesday morning. By that time, furniture had been used to fortify windows but the glass had not been smashed and no other measures taken to prepare for an assault on the building. Each Volunteer was positioned at one of ten second and third storey windows at the front of the house facing the canal. On hearing fire from 25 Northumberland Road, the garrison opened fire on the advancing Sherwood Foresters. Clanwilliam House was the last of the rebel posts to fall following a concerted rush by troops from the 2/8th and 2/7th Sherwood Foresters during which the house caught fire. George Reynolds, Paddy Doyle and Richard Murphy were killed during the fighting. The building remained unoccupied after the Rising until it collapsed during a storm in 1920.

Robert Builder's Yard

Robert’s builders yard, located at the Clanwilliam Place end of Grand Canal Street, was occupied by four Volunteers from C Company, 3rd Battalion. The Volunteers there sniped at Sherwood Foresters advancing on Mount Street Bridge before retreating to Boland’s Bakery.

Robert’s builders yard was the premises of W. A. Roberts building contractors and located at the Clanwilliam Place end of Grand Canal Street on the city side of the Grand Canal. The firm was run by Samuel Roberts, Quaker, builder and resident of Milltown in south Dublin. Located at the corner of Grand Canal Street and Clanwilliam Place, the yard was next to Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital where many of the military, rebel and civilians casualties of the Rising were treated.

On Wednesday morning Simon Donnelly, commandant of C Company, ordered Seamus Doyle, Robert Cooper, Seamus Kavanagh and section commander Denis O’Donohue (all of whom had evacuated the schoolhouse on Northumberland Road) to take up positions in the yard. Kavanagh later claimed that Roberts’ had been occupied since Monday and that the guard was changed each morning. O’Donoghue, Kavanagh and Doyle positioned themselves on the roof of the yard, behind a wall overlooking the canal, while Cooper faced towards Grand Canal Street Bridge. Having fired at the Sherwood Foresters advancing on Mount Street Bridge, and held their position for some time, an order was delivered calling on the men to retreat to Boland’s Bakery. Denis O’Donoghue claimed that this took place after the fall of Clanwilliam House but Seamus Doyle asserted the order came before Clanwilliam House had caught fire. The men returned to Boland’s over the wall of Patrick Dun’s Hospital and arrived having suffered no casualties.

The Easter Rising is regarded as perhaps the single most significant event in Irish history. The Irish state not only traces its beginning to the Rising, but the influence of the rising is also ever-present in contemporary Ireland: from the ideology of its main political parties to national debates about societal values. The following web application provides a visual route of the Sherwood Foresters -- key actors in the Battle of Mount Street Bridge -- from the point where they landed in Dublin to the point where they were first fired upon. The visual route acts as contextual information to the larger Project. Scroll up to take the path the Sherwood Foresters took.