Sites of 1916: Boland’s Mill and Mount Street Bridge
By Dr John Gibney
Boland's Mills was situated in south Dublin, near Grand Canal Dock and overlooking the Grand Canal itself (the current Treasury Building is built on the site of the original mill). This complex of buildings was seized by members of the 3rd Battalion of the Irish Volunteers led by Éamon De Valera: perhaps as few as 100-130 poorly armed Volunteers were involved.
Boland's Mill was to serve as the headquarters of the Volunteers in a large region of Dublin's south inner city that was quite diverse in socio-economic terms: it incorporated commercial and industrial regions in Dublin's docklands. The residential districts within the area seized by the Volunteers ranged from slum tenements near the docks to the middle-class residential districts in and around Merrion Square, and between the canal and Ballsbridge. The location of the area was significant, as it contained important transport links that connected Dublin to the southern ferry port of Kingstown: the rail terminus at Westland Row, and the roads leading into the city that crossed the Grand Canal at Mount Street. There were apparently plans to seize a number of buildings within the district, but these were curtailed. The Volunteers established outposts outside Beggars Bush barracks, near Mount Street Bridge, and near Westland Row, where rail tracks were torn up in order to disrupt rail transport. This region also saw some of the heaviest fighting of the Rising, as British reinforcements who had disembarked at Kingstown were ambushed as they attempted to cross the canal at the junction of Northhumberland Road and Mount Street.