FLAGS OF THE RISING OVER THE CITY CENTRE AND IN MOORE STREET

Diarmuid Breatnach

(Reading time: 7 minutes)

The Save Moore Street From Demolition group runs a campaign stall every Saturday on Moore Street; it was founded in September 2014 and is independent of any political party or organisation. In addition to the banner announcing its nature and purpose, the group displays four flags every week. Three of those are copies of flags that were flown during the 1916 Rising and all them in locations close by Moore Street, each also with a very strong migrant connection – all three also survived the conflagration resulting from British artillery bombardment.

The Irish Republic flag, made by Constance Markievicz (born in England), flew at the Princes Street front corner of the GPO, 1916. (Photo source: Internet)

1) The “Irish Republic” flag was made from drape material by Constance Markievicz (born in England) and was flown on top of the GPO at the Princes Street corner. She was a member of the Irish Citizen Army (see (3)) and third-in-command at the Stephens Green/ College of Surgeons garrison during the Rising.

Volunteer Markievicz was sentenced to death after the Surrender but her sentence was commuted to imprisonment. In the UK General Election of 1918, Markievicz was elected as a part of the Sinn Féin coalition on an abstentionist policy and became the first woman elected to Westminster, though she did not take her seat. In the later banned First Dáil of 1919, Markievicz was elected the first Minister of Labour in world history and one of very few female cabinet ministers of her time.

2) The Tricolour was also hoisted on the GPO but at the Henry Street corner by Eamon Bulfin, born and raised in Argentina. In addition, the Tricolour, based on the pattern of the French Republican Tricolour but signifying unity for Irish freedom between descendants of the native Irish on the one hand with descendants of English and Scottish colonists on the other, had been presented to the Young Irelanders by French revolutionary women in Paris, in 1848.

The Irish tricolour flag, granted to Irish revolutionaries by women in revolutionary Paris, 1848. The Irish Republic flag at the Princes Street front corner of the GPO, 1916. It was raised by Eamon Bulfin from Argentina and flew on the front Henry Street corner of the GPO. (Photo source: Internet)

Volunteer Bulfin was part of the Moore Street/ GPO Garrison surrender, was taken prisoner and later deported by the British back to Argentina. While there, Bulfin became the Latin American publicity correspondent for the Irish Republican movement, later returning to Ireland to participate in the War of Independence (1919-1921).

3) James Connolly, born and raised in Edinburgh but Commandant of the 1916 Rising, sent ICA men to hoist the Starry Plough, flag of the Irish Citizen Army, on top of Clery’s building, across from the GPO. The design is based on the star constellation of Ursa Mayor, the Great Bear, which in Ireland is known as “The Plough” and therefore an instrument or tool of labour. The original design in gold on a green background, with the seven stars in silver, includes the cutting tool, the share, in the shape of a sword; this is apparently an anti-war message, evoking the King James Bible passage in Isaiah II: “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” The 1916 Rising was the first rising against the imperialist First World War, preceding the next (in Russia) by nearly a year.

Design of the Starry Plough flag of the Irish Citizen Army, erected on top of Clery’s during the 1916 Rising on the orders of James Connolly, born and raised in Edinburgh and Commander-in-Chief of the Rising.
The Irish Republic flag at the Princes Street front corner of the GPO, 1916.
(Photo source: Internet)

The Irish Citizen Army included women in its membership and they fought alongside male members during the Rising, some of them as officers; Volunteer Winifred Carney entered the GPO with a Webley pistol in one hand and an Olivetti typewriter in the other and was in Moore Street at the surrender. A number of male ICA members fought in Moore Street and at least one was killed there.

During the Surrender, James Connolly, with a shattered ankle and gangrene, was carried from Moore Street to Dublin Castle where he received medical treatment, was tried by court martial and sentenced to death. Connolly was one of the last of the 14 executed in Dublin, shot in Kilmainham Jail while strapped to a chair on 12th May 1916.

4) The Cumann na mBan flag with its lovely colours and design was not seen during the Rising, although many of that organisation participated in the Rising, two of them in Moore Street to the end: Volunteers Elizabeth O’Farrell and Julia Grennan. Cumann na mBan was the first revolutionary female organisation in world history to have its own uniform, under its own officers, while participating in an uprising.

As always you can support the campaign by sharing their Facebook posts from time to time.

The Cumann na mBan flag was not flown during the 1916 Rising, though many of the organisation participated in it.
(Photo source: Internet)
People signing petition and talking to some of the activists at the SMSFD stall in January this year.  The Cumann na mBan flag is draped over the table.
(Photo source: Bart Hoppenbrouwers, SMSFD)

USEFUL LINKS:

https://www.facebook.com/save.moore.st.from.demolition/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/757869557584223/

https://www.facebook.com/SaveMooreStreet2016/

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