"This Was The Day When We Should Take Action"

Frank Robbins first saw James Connolly speak at a meeting in Beresford Place in July 1911. 

He impressed me very much. Everything that he said you knew he meant it.

Through his union activism and membership of the Citizen Army Robbins came into closer contact with Connolly. The Citizen Army regularly went on route marches and often practised mock attacks on Dublin Castle. Robbins recalls one such attack where he thought they were attacking the Castle for real.

Robbins talks of the determination of James Connolly to strike against British.

He felt that now was the time, this day, not any other day, but this was the day when we should take action. Because he contended that too many insurrections in the past had failed because they were too late.

As a result of Connolly's intentions he was 'kidnapped' on 19 January 1916 by the IRB who had their own plans to strike. 

Robbins describes the many events that went on in Liberty Hall and also explains how the working class of the city were treated by both the Dublin Metropolitan Police and Dublin Castle and talks of the tension between them.

The batons came very heavy on the heads of the working class people.

Although City Hall was taken over on Easter Monday, Dublin Castle was never itself a target. According to Robbins, 'it would be the most foolish thing', not only because they would need every man available to hold it but also at the time there was a Red Cross hospital in the Castle and according to Connolly if they attacked it 'we would blacken our whole purpose.'

Frank Robbins remembers the week before the Rising when all members of the Citizen Army were staying in Liberty Hall. On Psalm Sunday they hoisted the flag, a green flag with a gold harp in the centre over the building. The last time Robbins saw Connolly was on Easter Monday morning as they were all lined up in front of Liberty Hall and preparing to march off to their positions. 

Franks Robbins was from Dublin and worked as a labourer in Barrington's Soap Factory. He was was a member of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) and joined the Irish Citizen Army in 1914.

During the Easter Rising Robbins served with the Stephen's Green/College of Surgeons garrison, under the command of Commandant Michael Mallin. He was a member of the party who took over Harcourt Street Railway station on Easter Monday and was later chosen to help take over the College of Surgeons. He was arrested after the surrender and was imprisoned in Richmond Barracks before being deported to Knutsford Prison in England and Frongoch Internment Camp in Wales. 

Frank Robbins was interviewed for the RTÉ Television project 'Portraits 1916' on 27 November 1965.