Five places to explore Dublin’s 1916 Rising

by Christine Orford

If you’re in Dublin this year, you won’t want to miss the 100th-anniversary celebrations of the 1916 Easter Rising—an armed rebellion that aimed to end British rule and create an Irish republic.

Although the Rising didn’t succeed, it sparked a sense of nationalism in Irish people that eventually lead to independence from Britain.

The vast majority of the action unfolded in Dublin and, if you know where to look, you can see sites of significance all over the city.

General Post Office, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1

General Post Office DublinThe General Post Office, or the GPO as it is more commonly known, was the rebels’ headquarters and was where the Irish tricolour was first flown. On Easter Monday, rebel leader Patrick Pearse read out the Proclamation of the Republic outside the building.

Although much of the GPO was destroyed by British forces over the course of the rebellion, the facade of the building remains almost untouched since 1916. If you look closely, you can still see the bullet holes from the fighting.

Thirsty? Grab a quick pint in The Oval, Abbey Street. Open since 1820, this pub was already a well-established watering hole during the Rising.
Hungry? The Hophouse, Parnell Street, has some of the best Korean food in the capital – treat yourself to a hearty bibimbap or nibble some kimchi pancakes.
Sleepy? Isaacs Hostel is located 10 minutes’ walk from O’Connell St, conveniently close to Connolly train station. It has dorms, private rooms, free Wi-Fi, free walking tours and nightly events and even a free sauna!

St Stephen’s Green Park, Dublin 2

Fusilier's Arch at Stephen's GreenDubliners flock here in droves during sunny spells—it has ample space for runners, walkers, sunbathers and people who just want to watch the world go by.
However, it was also seen as an important strategic base for the rebels, giving them access to many parts of the south side of the city. They occupied houses surrounding the park and dug trenches to cover the entrances, but were forced to retreat to the nearby Royal College of Surgeons after an onslaught of gunfire from British forces.

Thirsty? The Sugar Club, Leeson Street hosts movie nights, storytelling events and gigs, as well as doing decent cocktails.
Hungry? If the weather’s fine, grab a sandwich in Pablo’s Tortas, Clarendon Market, and eat it in the park. The Sweet Pepper is one of the most delicious vegetarian lunches in the city.
Sleepy? The Times Hostel – Camden Place is a charming, friendly hostel with ensuite dorms and privates. It’s in one of the best locations in the city if you want to experience Dublin’s nightlife away from Temple Bar, with rock bars, craft beer pubs and popular nightclubs in the surrounding streets—plus it’s a five-minute stroll from St Stephen’s Green.

Mount Street Bridge, Dublin 2

Walk across the bridge linking Mount Street and Northumberland Road and you’re at the heart of one of the fiercest battles of the 1916 Rising. Here, 17 rebels armed with outdated weapons held off 1,750 British soldiers for hours.

Although they were eventually defeated, this was a source of pride for Irish republicans, emphasising the bravery and sacrifices they were willing to make for their cause.

After the battle, witnesses said ‘the place was literally swimming with blood’—an image difficult to reconcile with this leafy canal in one of Dublin’s most sought-after areas.

Thirsty? Slattery’s Pub, Grand Canal Street, is a great place to watch sports, especially rugby, and to rub shoulders with the locals.
Hungry? If you’re in the mood for treating yourself, Osteria Lucio, Clanwilliam Terrace, serves top-notch pizza in a restaurant under a railway bridge.
Sleepy? Ashfield Hostel is located next to Trinity College, putting it a picturesque 15-minute walk from Mount Street Bridge. All of their dorms and privates are ensuite, and they also offer free Wi-Fi, free breakfast and more.

Capuchin Friary, Church Street, Dublin 7

Capuchin Friary, Church StThe Capuchins have been in Church Street since the 1690s, with the present-day church dating from 1881. James Pearse—whose sons Patrick and William Pearse were executed after the Rising—designed the altar that can still be seen today.

Fr Matthew Hall, a red brick building just beside the church, was the headquarters of the rebels’ first battalion. Soldiers were dispatched from here to fight in the surrounding areas.

Just around the corner is the site of the North King Street massacre, where 15 civilians were shot or bayoneted to death by British soldiers. This became known as one of the worst atrocities of the Rising.

Capuchin friars from Church Street administered the last rites to all of those executed in 1916, including the Pearses.

Thirsty? With traditional Irish music daily and a lively atmosphere, The Cobblestone, North King Street is a great choice for a Guinness.
Hungry? The menu at Generator Hostel Dublin, Smithfield Square is small, but the food is good quality, prices are low and the Wi-Fi is free. It’s also an excellent place to stay!
Sleepy? Stay in Generator, of course! Along with comfy, clean beds and a very chilled-out cinema room, they frequently host craft markets, after-hours parties and other fun events.

Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin 8

Inside Kilmainham GaolFifteen of the 1916 Rising leaders were imprisoned and executed in Kilmainham Gaol (pronounced like ‘jail’), which was first built in 1796.

These executions were the main reason public opinion shifted in favour of the republican movement; prior to this, many ordinary Irish people did not support the rebel cause.

Take a tour of the Gaol to see for yourself where the rebel leaders spent their final days, but remember to get there early because tickets are limited and you can’t book online. Despite the inconvenience, the tour’s worth it.

Thirsty? Find a seat at the bar in The Royal Oak, Kilmainham Lane, and soak up the atmosphere that has taken more than 150 years to cultivate.
Hungry? With dishes featuring fresh, local ingredients, the LimeTree Café is perfect for a quick breakfast or lunch. It’s located just across the road from Kilmainham Gaol.
Sleepy? Kinlay House Dublin is one of the best-located hostels in the city, sitting on the quiet end of Temple Bar, next to Christchurch Cathedral. Walk one direction and you’ll get to Trinity College; walk the other way and you’ll reach Kilmainham Gaol, Guinness Storehouse and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. They also have a big variety of private and dorm rooms with free Wi-Fi and free breakfast.

If you are planning a trip then why not have a look at our blogs 48 hours in Dublin and things to do in Dublin for inspiration.

Thanks to William Murphy for use of his great images under the Creative Commons license.

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