The following is an account of the burning of Linenhall Barracks during Easter Week 1916 by Fianna Eireann officer Garry Holohan:
“The following morning, Wednesday, Dinny O’Callaghan and some others made an effort to blow a breach in the wall of Linenhall Barracks but did not succeed. He afterwards took me as one of a party to take the barracks.
We went up to the front gate and started to hammer at it, and in a few minutes some soldiers opened the gate. They were evidently unarmed. I think some of’ them were members of the Pay Staff. There were others who had taken refuge there, including a couple of members of the R.I.C. We took the lot prisoners and brought them down to the Father Mathew Hall. I happened to know the Sergeant in charge of them and he asked me to try and get his suit of civilian clothes that he had in the barracks. I went back to look for the clothes for him but I could not get them.
Dinny O’Callaghan and myself spilled the oils and paints we had brought from a druggist’s shop in North King Street in a large room on the first floor, and then piled up the bed-boards. We then lit the fire. The fire spread with amazing rapidity and Dinny suggested it might be better if we opened the windows. I crossed the room to open the windows and I will never forget the heat. It took me all my time to get back, and the soles were burned off my boots in a few minutes. The fire continued throughout the day and Wednesday night.”
According to archseek.com “in 1722 a centralised Linen Hall was proposed by the Linen Board and several sites around the city were considered and dismissed. The Linen Board eventually decided in favour of a three-acre site at the top of Capel Street. Over the next six years, the Linen Hall gradually took shape and it opened for trade on November 14th, 1728. The Linen Hall contained a large trading floor and 550 compartments or bays for the storage of linen. There was also a large boardroom for the use of the trustees and what was described as a large and elegant coffee-room for the accommodation of factors and traders who daily crowd its courts. Originally designed by Thomas Burgh in 1722, it was enlarged by Thomas Cooley in 1784. However with the opening of the Belfast Linen Hall in 1783, the Dublin industry went into terminal decline and the Linen Board was abolished in 1828. During the 1870s the Linen Hall was used as a temporary barracks by the British Army and it was taken over by the board of works in 1878. It was destroyed by fire during the 1916 Rebellion.” – http://archiseek.com/2011/1728-linen-hall-yarnhall-st-dublin/
During Easter Week it had apparently been occupied by 40 unarmed men of the Army Pay Corps and several RIC and DMP members until Holohan, O’Callaghan and the other Volunteers took them prisoner.
Keogh Brothers Photograph courtesy of South Dublin County Library