Sites of 1916: St Stephen’s Green and the Royal College of Surgeons
By Dr John Gibney
St Stephen's Green, at the southern end of Grafton Street, in the south inner city, was originally laid out in 1660s but had been redeveloped in the 1870s. It was a natural junction that commanded the approaches to a large tract of the south-east inner city. On 24 April members of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) led by Michael Mallin seized St Stephen’s Green. The ICA were met with considerable hostility as they ejected civilians from the park, which was magnified into outrage after a civilian was shot while trying to retrieve a vehicle from a barricade they had erected near the Shelbourne Hotel.
Within the park itself, trenches were dug as members of the ICA sought to fortify their positions. In the early hours of Tuesday morning troops who had been sent to the district began to attack the ICA positions in the park. The Shelbourne Hotel provided a natural vantage point overlooking the park, and troops were able to fire down into the trenches that had been dug. Within a matter of hours Mallin and those under his command were forced to abandon St Stephen's Green and retreated to the Royal College of Surgeons on the west side of the green. As British attention shifted elsewhere, the fighting in this area eased off until Mallin and his garrison surrendered the following Sunday.