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“It Was A Proper Ambush”

On Wednesday 26 April the 2/7th and 2/8th Battalions, Sherwood Foresters arrived at Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) in order to put down the Rising. The regiment was made up mostly of raw recruits with very little training. The 2/7th suffered heavy losses at Mount Street bridge while trying to enter the city.

After the battle was over and the Volunteer positions taken, the next day the 2/8th were ordered to make their way to the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, headquarters of the British forces. Unknown to them the Volunteers under Commandant Éamonn Ceannt had taken over the South Dublin Union (SDU), a vast complex of buildings which lay right in their path.

Cyril Willingham, a member of ‘B’ Company, 2/8th Battalion recalls that as his company approached the Union they came under heavy fire.

We was told to give covering fire if it was at all possible. But we couldn’t give a lot of covering fire.

Two officers managed to get to the gate of the Union only to find the windows and doors were barricaded. They had to use grenades in order to clear them. During Easter Week the SDU was to see some of the most intense fighting between the Volunteers and the military. Despite their best efforts, the British forces failed to take the SDU.

Cyril Willingham was interviewed for the television series 'Ireland A Television History', 24 September 1979.


Abbey Theatre, An Garda Siochana, Association of Professional Genealogists Ireland, Band of An Garda Siochana, Buswells Hotel, Capuchin Friary, Century Ireland, Cobblestone, Conradh na Gaeilge, Dubray Books Grafton Street, Dublin Fire Brigade Pipe Band, Dublin Institute of Technology, Eason’s O’Connell Street, Gallery of Photography. Garda Historical Society, Generator Hostel, Glasnevin Trust, Grafton Barbers, Hodges Figgis Dawson Street, Irish Film Archive, Irish Veteran & Vintage Car Club. John Shevlin Millinery, Little Museum of Dublin, Louis Copeland & Sons, Manning's Bakery, Massey Funeral Directors, Maynooth University, Merrion Square Artists Association, National College of Art and Design, National Library of Ireland, National Museum at Collins Barracks, National Transport Museum of Ireland, NUI Galway, Poetry Ireland, Queen's University Belfast, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association, Royal Hibernian Academy, St Michan's Church of Ireland Parish, St Michan's Roman Catholic Parish, St Vincent de Paul, SIPTU, The Four Courts, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Limerick, University of Ulster, Whyte’s Irish Art & Collectables, National Print Museum, Irish Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers, ICA, Feltmakers Ireland, Irish Woodturners Guild, Doran Barber Shop The Pram Doctor, The Merrion Square Artists Association, The Dice Bar, Third Space, The Family Resource Centre St. Michael’s Estate, Brown Bag Films, The Stoneybatter and Smithfield People’s History Project, The Revenue Museum,

RTÉ would like to gratefully acknowledge the support and participation of the individual speakers who were kind enough to share their research and private collections with the public as part of the RTÉ Reflecting the Rising project. A big thanks also to the many volunteers and actors who gave their time so generously to help make RTÉ Reflecting the Rising a memorable and successful day.

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