On Tuesday 25th April 1916, a small group of about twelve men, under the command of Captain Dinny O’Callaghan of ‘A’ Company, 1st Battalion, were ordered by Commandant Edward ‘Ned’ Daly to occupy Broadstone Railway Station, which was situated at the top of Constitution Hill. Included in this group were two senior Fianna officers, Dublin Brigade Commandant Eamon Martin and Captain Garry Holohan, fresh from their exploits at the Magazine Fort the previous day. The Irish Volunteers in the party included amongst others Peader Breslin, Sean Cody and Nicholas Laffan.
The original plan was to take this strategic position at the beginning of hostilities but it was postponed until Tuesday, by which time, unknown to the Volunteers, a small detachment of British Forces had occupied the station. Before the men set out on their mission, they were blessed by Father Albert in front of St. Johns Convent and the Sisters of the St. Vincent de Paul prayed for their safe return.
Leading the mission from about 100 yards ahead of the main group were Eamon Martin and Garry Holohan. They advanced up the road with fixed bayonets. As they approached the station, Garry Holohan noticed a dark figure running behind the entrance of the building. It was getting dark and it was hard to make out if it was an enemy soldier or a fellow Volunteer. Garry shouted back to the others that there was somebody ahead. Eamon Martin moved to Garry’s right hand side and tried to look inside the building. As Eamon moved further along for a closer look, a sniper fired upon their position. Eamon was hit by a rifle shot which went through his chest and almost instantly he began bleeding heavily however he managed to run back a short distance to a relatively safer position where he collapsed on the ground. His comrades lifted him up and retreated back down the hill, however they were subjected to enemy fire as they made their way back but thanks to two brave young Volunteers, Nicholas Laffan and George Butler, who covered their retreat, they managed to get back safely without further casualties.
Eamon Martin was brought to Richmond Hospital where he was treated for his wounds. No further attempts were made to occupy Broadstone Station.
By Eamon Murphy
*Photograph of Broadstone Station courtesy of Finbar Dwyer