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Three people shot dead by British soldiers on Bachelors Walk
An artist's interpretation of the chaotic scenes at Bachelors Walk. Photo: Illustrated London News [London, England], 1 Aug 1914

Three people shot dead by British soldiers on Bachelors Walk

More than 30 others injured as 21 soldiers shoot into crowd

Dublin, 27 July 1914 - Three Dubliners were shot dead yesterday by British soldiers on Bachelors Walk in Dublin yesterday evening.

Mary Duffy (50), Patrick Quinn (46) and James Brennan (18) were killed when soldiers fired on a crowd who were throwing stones and abusing the King’s Own Scottish Borderers as they returned to barracks. More than 30 other people are in hospital, some with serious injuries, including men who were bayoneted by the soldiers.

The incident on Bachelors Walk came in the wake of the successful gun running which took place at Howth by the Irish Volunteers earlier in the day.

The King's Own Scottish Borderers - responsible for the fatal shootings in Dublin. (Image: Illustrated London News [London, England], 1 Aug 1914)

As hundreds of Volunteers were coming back into the city along the Howth Road, they found their way blocked by two cordons of police and by soldiers from the King’ Own Scottish Borderers.

William Harrell, the Assistant Commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, ordered his men to attempt to disarm the Volunteers.

In the ensuing scuffle shots were fired, while the police used batons and soldiers used their bayonets.

Some of the police refused to take part in the attempted seizure, however, and it is reported that at least two of their number were subsequently dismissed for disobeying orders.

Less than twenty guns were captured, with the remainder being spirited away by the Volunteers.

Later, as the soldiers marched back into Dublin City, they were pursued by a hostile crowd, who hurled abuse and, occasionally, hurled missiles. On Bachelors Walk, the soldiers charged at the crowd with bayonets and a series of volleys were fired, resulting in death and injury.

Left: RIC report relating the to gun running. It states that 'no member of the Royal Irish Constabulary attempted to disarm the Irish Volunteers at Clontarf on Sunday the 27th July'. Click for full document. (Image: National Archives of Ireland, CSO/RP 1914, 13411)

Right: RIC report for Wicklow, July 1914. It states: 'There was some ill feeling exhibited towards the military in camp here, among whom were some of the K.O.S. Borderes, over the events in Dublin last Sunday...' (Images: National Archives UK, CO 904/94)

Last night the House of Commons was told that Sir John Ross, the Chief Commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, had resigned and that the Assistant Commissioner, William Harrell, had been suspended pending an inquiry.

Speaking in the Commons, the Chief Secretary of Ireland, Augustine Birrell, said: ‘The government think an outstanding lack of discretion was shown by this gentleman. I desire to speak as well of him as I possibly can, but I say he committed a breach of discretion and showed a lamentable lack of insight into the situation in calling out 160 soldiers to come to his aid.’

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.