Raising the flag at Liberty Hall

Captain Christopher Poole formed an important part of the honour guard during the iconic raising of the harped flag over Liberty Hall in the run up to Easter 1916. This account of that event is from “The History of the Irish Citizen Army” by R.M.Fox (1943);
“In front of the hall itself, the Citizen Army cleared a space and formed up on three sides of the square. Inside the square was the women’s section, the boy scouts corps under Captain W. Carpenter and the Fintan Lalor Pipe Band. Captain C.Poole and a colour guard of 16 men escorted the colour bearer, Miss Mollie O’Reilly of the Womens Worker’s Union who was also a member of the Citizen Army. With her were three young girl dancers known as ‘The Liberty Trio’.
The flag was placed on a pile of drums in the centre of the square. Commandant James Connolly took up his position with Vice-Commandant Mallin on his left and Lieutenant Markievicz on his right. The colour bearer advanced from her escort, received the colours from the commandant and turned to face the colour guard. The buglers sounded the salute and the guard presented arms. From the centre of the square came the skirl of pipes, quickening the blood of the hearers and making them feel that, at last , the nation was on the march.

As the colour guard, escorting the colours, reached the entrance of the hall, the flag bearer, holding the colours across her breast, passed into the hall, up the stairway to the roof. More and more people had been streaming to the centre of the city as the ceremony proceeded. Except for the clear space in the centre , Beresford place was packed tight. So was Tara Street and Butt Bridge, and each side of the quays leading to Butt Bridge, and each side of the Quays leading to O’Connell Bridge was impassable. Thousands were unable to see the ceremony in the square but all eyes were fixed on the roof of the massive square building . At last the young colour bearer was seen on the parapet of the roof. She fastened the flag to the staff and , with a pull of the lanyard , the green flag, with the golden harp upon it , went fluttering to the top.

A member of the colour guard speaks of the intense hush over that great throng, just before the flag was hoisted. It seemed, he said, as if they were all wrapt in a great longing, as if they wished and dreamed and hoped but dare not believe. Then suddenly it happened. The flag billowed above their heads.”
He was a leading figure of the permanent group of Citizen Army based at Liberty Hall in preparation for the rebellion. Here they assembled munitions , made bombs and the Proclamation was printed. On Easter Monday, as the rising began he marched to Stephen’s Green under the command of Michael Mallin .
“With the evacuation of civilians complete , Captain Christopher Poole allocated a company of men to secure each entrance into the Green. While some gates were barricaded with wheelbarrows , gardening implements and park benches , Captain Poole ordered a number of men to dig slit trenches and foxholes covering the main entrances. The company started ‘digging in’, getting out their trenching tools and implements and excavating shallow holes so that they could get below ground level but still have a good firing position.”


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