Photographs of the Destruction in Dublin after the 1916 Easter Rising and 1922 Irish Civil War

The photographs seen here depict the ruins of Dublin in the aftermath of fighting that occurred during the Easter Rising and the later Irish Civil War. These photographs were taken by a member of the public and were mounted in a photo album. They are still attached to the photo album page today, with the page being ripped from the album, as someone was likely only interested in only the photos of Dublin. The backside of the album page does contain photographs of a family. This was certainly who the photo album originally belonged to and it is highly possible that someone featured in one of the family photographs was responsible for taking the photographs of Dublin. The family would have been well off financially to afford a camera during the early twentieth century, as cameras were still rare and expensive to own. These photographs are important for two reasons. First, they showcase the devastation that occurred in Dublin during the Easter Rising and the Irish Civil War. The destruction in the Dublin was of the same magnitude as the destruction that occurred in many European cities during the First World War. The second reason that these photographs are important is that they highlight how the Revolution affected the every day civilians in Ireland. The individual who took these photographs recognized that they were living through important historical events and therefore felt the need to document this activity alongside their daily lives. The family even added these photographs from the period into their family album, so clearly these events were seen as important.

The first photograph is of some civilians on the street looking up at a building that was damaged during the Easter Rising. Sandbags and makeshift barricades can be in the second story windows. Soldiers would have occupied these positions during the fighting.

The second photograph shows men working to clean up the debris from a collapsed building and clear the street. The building in the background of this photo also appears to be heavily damaged. The destruction seen in this photo was likely a result of the British shelling of central Dublin during the Easter Rising.

The third and forth photograph appear to be of the same building. This building has been completely bombed out, likely from the British shells fired during the Easter Rising. The ruins in the center of the building appear to still be smoldering.

The fifth photo features a building on O’Connell Street that was destroyed during the Easter Rising. A man can be seen walking down out of the ruins, and it appears that he has positioned a fire hose on top of the pile, to put out any remaining fires.

The sixth photo features a man with a cart helping to clear some of the debris from the destroyed buildings. Only a single wall of one building remains standing.

The seventh photo is of the Four Courts building. This was likely taken in the wake of the battle of the Four Courts during the Irish Civil War as the photo has a date of 1922 written beside it on the album page. Civilians can be seen looking across the railing in the destroyed Four Courts building. The photo shows some of the damage that occurred to the building during the Civil War. The dome at the top of the building was blown up when fires from the Free State bombardment ignited explosives that the Anti-Treaty IRA had stored inside the building.

The eighth photo shows an IRA funeral procession during the Irish Civil War. The caption on the album page states that the photo was taken as the procession passed a shop. This likely means that the individual who took the photo had a shop of some type in Dublin.

The ninth photo shows a Dublin Fire Brigade station officer looking down into the ruins of the Four Courts building while he steadies a fire hose. The Dublin Fire Brigade was active, during both the Easter Rising and the Irish Civil War, in putting out fires in the city that were a result of the fighting.[1]

The backside of the album page features photographs of various members of a family. The family name listed on the album page appears to be Poynton. The name Tom is written beneath multiple photographs. If anyone has any additional information regarding this family please contact us.

1. Thanks to Las Fallon for the information on the Dublin Fire Brigade station officer.