Family History ACT

The Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra Inc.


Defending Trinity College Dublin Easter 1916 - Anzacs and the Rising

Publisher : Four Courts Press Ltd (31 May 2019)book review Sweetman.png

Language : English

Paperback : 176 pages

ISBN-10 : 1846827841

ISBN-13 : 978-1846827846

Dr Rory Sweetman is a Kildare born New Zealander who holds history degrees from Trinity College Dublin and Cambridge University. He teaches at the University of Otago in modern Irish history and has published widely on New Zealand’s ethnic and religious past as well as extensively on the Irish diaspora.

On Easter Monday morning I was walking past Dublin Castle," wrote Corporal Alexander Don in a letter to his father that was published in Dunedin’s Evening Star, on July 21, 1916.

"Everything seemed all right when a couple of shots rang out and two Tommies, who were in front of me, fell over.

"I thought I must be dreaming and went over to where they were lying and saw that one had got it through the head and the other through the neck.

"Then I looked up and saw a couple of men in green uniforms and slouch hats, rifles and bandoliers regarding me from the housetops. It was my hat that saved my life because it seemed to puzzle them, being so very like their own, although, of course, not green."

That was Cpl Don’s introduction to the Easter Rising, on April 24, 1916; an armed rebellion aimed at establishing an independent Irish Republic during World War 1. With Dublin under attack and chaos in the streets, a group of Anzac soldiers on recreational leave launched a sniping war against the rebels. They did that from fortress-like Trinity College, Ireland’s most prestigious university, in the middle of Dublin.

Directly after the rising, the soldiers returned to wartime duties and their role was forgotten. Trinity students, cadet soldiers, were given the lion’s share of the credit for defending that part of Dublin.

This is very well researched book and a great read containing good black and white photos and maps.

Each soldier has a personal war history and copies of letters written home and published in newspapers.

The appendices and a dramatis personae list add to the story.

Sue Pillans