The Priests of 1916: new records on display for Culture Night

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 Press release September 15th

 

“The Priests of 1916”

 

Archdiocese releases Rising records to mark Culture Night

 

Accounts of how Dublin priests ministered to the injured and dying during the 1916 Rising will be on display for the first time as part of the Archdiocese of Dublin Culture Night experience this Friday.

 

20 priests, including a curate who would go on to become Archbishop of Dublin, were involved in ministering to those caught up in the events of Easter week on both sides of the divide.

 

Among the historic documents from the Diocesan Archive is an account of how over 40 people sought refuge in Dublin’s Pro Cathedral when fighting broke out in the city centre.  All around the Cathedral buildings were ablaze – the group were forced to stay inside the “Pro” for three days.  Meanwhile, the priests of the Cathedral continued to come and go from the building to be with the wounded and dying.  One Cathedral curate ran from the Pro to Wynne’s Hotel through streets raked with gunfire from all sides to attend to a wounded man who was badly injured.

 

Jervis Street Hospital quickly filled with the wounded and it was the busiest hospital in the city centre during the week of the Rising.  A priest was in attendance at all times to cater for the many religious needs of the wounded and dying.  The Very Rev. Fr. Richard Bowden, Administrator of the Pro Cathedral, ensured that clergy were always available.  He stayed there constantly through Monday, Tuesday and left on Wednesday morning when curates, Fr. Edward Byrne (who would later become Archbishop of Dublin) and Fr. Joseph Mc Ardle took over.

 

Also among the newly released documents are letters from the British General Maxwell asking for the removal of “rebellious priests”, Alice Stopford Green seeking clemency for Roger Casement & Fr. Laurence Stafford speaking about being the last Irishman in Frongoch.

 

To mark Culture Night in Dublin city this Friday, Diocesan Archivist Noelle Dowling will give a series of talks explaining the context and background of these and other invaluable documents from the Archive from 1916.

 

Clonliffe Culture night will also include free talks and illustrations on Religious Art, with Fr. Damian Mc Neice.  Fr. Mc Neice will focus on Marc Chagall’s paintings of Bible subjects.

 

The evening will also mark 30 years since the foundation of the Dublin Diocesan Music group who will perform recitals of Sacred Music.  The Dublin Diocesan culture night begins in Holy Cross Centre, Clonliffe Road, at 6pm on Friday evening and all events are free.  ENDS

 

Edward J. Byrne & John G O'Reilly

Fr John G. O’Reilly (standing, far left) and Fr Edward J. Byrne (seated, second left); curates to St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in 1916.

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