Noel Purcell was fifteen years old when the Easter Rising took place. He was working as a stage-hand in the Gaiety Theatre on the production of ‘HMS Pinafore’. He and his colleagues heard that there was a commotion outside.
When they got to the corner of Grafton Street they saw the Irish Citizen Army occupying Stephens Green park. Soon after they heard a gun shot and saw a policeman on the ground. They went to assist him but it was too late. There were a few more shots and as Purcell says.
We took out and we ran like blazes down King Street.
Noel Purcell continued his training in the Gaiety Theatre and went on to become a star of the stage and screen appearing in such films as ‘Moby Dick’ (1956), ‘The Rising of the Moon’ (1957) and ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ (1962).
Noel Purcell was interviewed for the programme 'Noel Purcell Talks to Pádraic Ó Raghallaigh' broadcast on RTÉ Radio, 7 January 1978. Photograph of Noel Purcell courtesy of RTÉ Archives.