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BEYOND THESE ROOMS | Visitor Histories

January 22nd, 2019 Posted by Archive 0 comments on “BEYOND THESE ROOMS | Visitor Histories”

Bringing Complex Conflicted History Back to Life: One Story, Two Perspectives

My husband, Peter Connolly, was a carrier and a general dealer.  He was 39 years of age.  On Easter Friday evening at dusk he had gone over to Hickey’s to move two mirror glasses.  When the firing began apparently he could not return home, and I never saw him alive again.”

– Statement of Mrs Connolly, taken from A FRAGMENT OF 1916 HISTORY held at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks. (REFERENCE NUMBER 35J 6/13)

Mrs Hughes told us that she had seen Connolly on the roofs of houses at the rear of her house, leading the rebels across the roofs.  I know Connolly to have been a sergeant in the National Volunteers, and Mrs Connolly told me that he gave the Irish volunteers 2 rifles during the Rebellion.”
– Statement of Police Sergeant O’Gorman, taken from COURTS OF ENQUIRY INTO THE ALLEGED SHOOTING OF CIVILIANS BY SOLDIERS held at The National Archive, Kew. (REFERENCE NUMBER WO. 35/67/3)


Narrating Conflicted Histories

A core objective of BEYOND THESE ROOMS was to actively engage visitors into creating their own versions of this conflicted history.    The installation at Tate Exchange, Tate Liverpool, housed a large light table with multiple sentences taken from the following two governments’ enquiries conducted following the North King Street massacre:

  • A FRAGMENT OF 1916 HISTORY held at the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin.

Visitors were given the following instructions

  • ASSEMBLE the sentences and create your own narrative of the incident.
  • ARCHIVE your statement by pressing the keypad located in the middle of the lightbox table – it will be uploaded to

We have been amazed by the response – thank you so much to all those who participated!

NOTE: these images are raw files uploaded from the light table at Tate Exchange and have not been altered in any way – to see the text clearly click to magnify.


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Eye Witness Accounts

July 18th, 2016 Posted by Archive 0 comments on “Eye Witness Accounts”



“On Saturday 29th April about six soldiers with a sergeant knocked at the door and without waiting to have it opened broke the door in. They made us hold up our hands and made us go before them to the top back room. There we were all searched. When the soldiers broke in one of [the] men said ’friends’ & they said ‘no foes!’ At 7pm, over 12 hours later, I eventually I got to the top back room and I found there the dead bodies of my son and four others.”

“I came down crying and we all went to the priest’s house where we got tea. We had to stay there all night as no one was allowed out. Next morning at my request one of the priests went to pray over the bodies but he was not allowed into No. 27. A message came later that one of us would be allowed in to arrange about the bodies but when I got to the house there were neither soldiers nor bodies there. We were told that soldiers were digging in the back yard during the night. We found the four bodies burned in the back garden. Mrs. McCartney’s brother-in-law got here to disinter them and they were buried in Glasnevin in the following Tuesday, the 2nd May.”

The Victims

July 18th, 2016 Posted by Archive 0 comments on “The Victims”

Those killed in North King Street were:

  1. Thomas Hickey (age 38) 170 North King Street
  2. Christopher Hickey (age 16) 170 North King Street (Father and son)
  3. Peter Connolly (age 39) 170 North King Street
    (These three bodies had bayonet marks indicating they were killed with the bayonet)
  4. Patrick Bealen (age 30) 177 North King Street
  5. James Healy (age 44) 177 North King Street
    (Were seen being taken away to be shot by the military by Mary O’Rourke).
  6. Michael Nunan (age 34), 174 North King Street
  7. George Ennis (age 51), 174 North King Street.
    (Anne Fennel of 174 testified that soldiers broke in took away Ennis and that he crawled back mortally wounded)
  8. Dunne, Edward (age 39), 91 North King Street
  9. Walsh, John (age 34). 172 North King Street
  10. Michael Hughes (age 50) 172 North King St
    (Killings seen by Eileen Walsh, wife of John.)
  11. Lawless, Peter J. (age 21), 27 North King Street.
  12. James McCarthy (age 36), 27 North King Street
  13. James Finnegan (age 40), 27 North King St
  14. Patrick Hoey (age 25) 27 North King Street
    (All worked at Louth Dairy in that house, found dead in basement with wounds to the head and throat areas)
  15. In addition Jon Biernes (age 50) was shot dead by Crown forces on nearby Coleraine Street.

Historical Context & Background

July 18th, 2016 Posted by Archive 0 comments on “Historical Context & Background”

It was in a small row of houses in North King Street that the British army executed 15 civilian men during the 1916 Rising. A military court of inquiry was held and found that no specific soldier could be held responsible for the killings and as such no action was taken against the South Staffordshire regiment that conducted the atrocity. In fact, the results of the inquiry were buried and only came to light in 2001.

British troops had suffered over 40 casualties in this inner city area of Dublin during the previous days of the rising. General Lowe had ordered that, “no hesitation was to be shown in dealing with these rebels; that by their actions they had placed themselves outside the law and that they were not be made prisoners”. Infuriated with the losses they had suffered, on late Friday evening and early Saturday morning, the troops of the South Staffordshire regiment under orders from Col. Taylor, broke into the homes of the locals and shot or bayoneted 15 civilian men whom they accused of being rebels.

None of the victims had any connection whatsoever with the insurrection and indeed some were entirely opposed to it. The houses were never at any time occupied by the volunteers and no traces of arms or ammunition were found on the premises. None of the murders were committed during a sudden attack or assault or in the heat of passion. In fact, in some cases several hours elapsed allowing for ample consultation. General Maxwell afterwards made the luminous statement: “Possibly some unfortunate incidents which we regret now, may have occurred… it is even possible that under the horrors of this attack some of them saw red, that is the inevitable consequences of a rebellion of this kind”. The top Home Office official, Sir Edward Troup, told the prime minister, Herbert Asquith: “The root of the mischief was the military order to take no prisoners”.

At the military court of inquiry, the presiding officer thought the South Staffords were, ‘a quiet and very respectable set of men’ and ruled that no specific soldier could be held responsible for the killings’. The full findings of this enquiry are due to be released in 2016.