Main Sites of Activity
The 3rd Battalion under Commandant Eamon de Valera occupied Boland’s Bakery and ﬂour mills, a mile to the south-east of the GPO. The battalion was in a crucial location as it controlled the railway line and the main road from Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) to the city centre, Kingstown being the port through which British reinforcements would arrive. Partly due to the confusion arising from MacNeill’s countermand, only about 100 Volunteers reported for duty; about half had modern riﬂes and many had to make do with shotguns or pistols. The plan was to hold a large area stretching along the railway line from Sandymount to Westland Row railway station, which they also took over.
Headquarters were located in Boland’s Bakery on Grand Canal Street Lower, the Volunteers having given the bakers a holiday. Outposts were set up at positions covering the entrance to Beggar’s Bush Barracks on Haddington Road, around Mount Street Bridge (McKenny Bridge on map) on the main road from Kingstown to the city centre, and at Westland Row railway station. The Volunteers ripped up the railway tracks leading to Kingstown to prevent troop trains getting too close. Apart from minor skirmishes and the major action at Mount Street Bridge on Wednesday, there were no direct assaults on the Boland’s Bakery positions until Thursday. The British shelled the complex from the gunship Helga on the Liﬀey and also with a naval gun taken ashore from the Helga and set up in Percy Place close to the complex. Commandant de Valera neutralized the danger, however, by having a ﬂag ﬂown from a nearby distillery which attracted most of the subsequent shelling.
As Lowe was now focusing mainly on the GPO and the Four Courts, there was no further concerted assault on the Boland’s Bakery area. The garrison held out until Sunday when Nurse O’Farrell brought the news of the general surrender. Commandant de Valera was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life.