Radio Broadcast and the Easter Rising

Radio and 10 Things You didn’t know about the Easter Rising

Part 2

radioA Wedding Postponed

#6.  Thomas Dillon and Geraldine Plunkett were supposed to be married in a double wedding with Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett on Easter Sunday.

Joseph Plunkett was a leader and planner of  the Rising. The Sinn Fein Rebellion, as it was known by the British would not have happened without him. He was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and helped plan the Rising by studying military tactics although he’d never before been a soldier. He also was involved in getting word out to the rest of the world on a radio. As one of the signatories of the Irish Proclamation, he was executed as well.

Joseph postponed his marriage to Grace Gifford but with all the confusion the day before the Rising he said that if he was arrested he still wanted to get married in Kilmainham Jail, which he did. Just hours after the couple took their vows, Joseph Plunkett was shot by firing squad. He was already dying of tuberculosis.

1st Radio Broadcast?

#7    In Dublin, 1916, Ireland was not the first location to send messages on a Radio Broadcast.

According to research done by EasterRisingcoachtours , both Paris and Germany were broadcasting Radio messages before 1916  and the first successful broadcast was in Massachusetts, United States.

That being said, Joseph Plunkett was possibly the first Irishman to know as much as he did about radio broadcasting and he put his knowledge to the test at the beginning of the Rising. He sent 7 men to occupy the Wireless School of Telegraphy with the intention of broadcasting the events to the entire world. The message was a diffused broadcast, n made with a ship’s radio.

The first message read, ‘Irish Republic declared in Dublin today. Irish troop have captured the city and are in full possession.’

. A nearby ship picked it up, a British warship!

radioOne of the 7 men Plunkett sent to the Wireless School was Arthur Shields, brother of Barry Fitzgerald Shields. After being arrested with Michael Collins, he served his sentence at Frongoch Prison. Later,  Shields went back to doing what he loved, acting.

He made his way to America and starred in hits such as National Velvet and The  Long Voyage Home, returning to Ireland to make the Quiet Man with John Wayne.


Widespread Looting in Dublin

#8  Widespread looting and vandalism made for some comical scenes during the Rising. Geraldine Plunkett wrote an extensive diary about her ordeal as she watched from a hotel across the street.

The dummies from a dress shop were taken dancing down the street, a man sat on a curb reading and throwing books in the gutter as he finished. Excerpt from: All in The Blood, the memoirs of Geraldine Plunkett. 

Countess_Markievicz s gun natl museum of ireland

Seated on the Republic

#9  Before the Rising it was necessary to hide weapons whenever the rebels learned of a British search party.

Guns and were hidden in gardens and one one occasion supplies to make homemade ammunition was hidden into the cotton ticking of seat cushions.


A Widow’s Prayer

#10.  Muriel MacDonagh was given a note saying her husband, Thomas MacDonagh was to be executed.

She was not given a pass to see him. She went to Kilmainham jail to see him but was refused entry. She tried to get a message to the castle and was ignored. She managed to find someone with a phone but was told she could not use it although its possible the phone lines were still out of order. The British had cut the phone lines at the beginning of the Rising. Muriel Never saw Thomas before he was shot.

Do  you have any more less known facts about the Easter Rising? Please leave it in the comments.

For more on the Easter Rising go here.

Television series coming across the world in March. Here is the link.


57 thoughts on “Radio Broadcast and the Easter Rising

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