Sites of 1916: Enniscorthy
By Dr John Gibney
Enniscorthy in County Wexford was the only town or city outside Dublin to be seized by the Irish Volunteers in the course of the Easter Rising. The Volunteers had been established in the town in 1913, and since the split prompted by John Redmond's support for the British war effort, there had been a small but vigorous constituency for separatist politics in the town under the leadership of figures such as Peter Paul Galligan. The Irish Volunteers trained in the town, and attempted to make and obtain weapons in the months prior to the Rising.
Enniscorthy was important as the main train line from Dublin to Wexford passed through the town, which could be used to move British reinforcements to Dublin should they land in Rosslare. After some confusion as to what the Irish Volunteers in the town should be doing on the outbreak of the Rising, they seized Enniscorthy on Thursday 27 April and held it for four days with little violence. A young girl and a member of the RIC were wounded by gunfire, but there were no fatalities. Pubs were closed, pickets and guards were established, food and cars were commandeered, and the railway line was tampered with before a surrender was finally brokered. Given that the Volunteers held a sizeable town for four days, their seizure of Enniscorthy was, arguably, the most significant event of the Rising outside Dublin.