This letter was written by Patrick Blair Carphin (1872 - 1932), an insurance surveyor from Dublin. The letter is addressed to Carphin's sister Joanna (b. 1863). In this letter Patrick describes for 'Jo' the Easter Rising as he experienced it. Patrick begins by writing about the Rebellion's effect on the transport network in Dublin, noting that there were no trams running. After asking a bystander for an explanation Patrick is told that Dublin is in 'a state of riot'.

Patrick continues on to describe how he and his family attempted to make their way home when their daughter, Doreen was shot in the leg, and he himself was shot in the ankle. A doctor from a nearby house brought them into his house to shelter until they could safely get to an ambulance. Patrick then recalls the nature of the conflict, including the restrictions on leaving your home to rumours of reinforcements.


  • Easter Rising Ireland 1916


Institution: Blair Halliday
Collection: Collections

Citation & Contributors

Patrick Blair Carphin. "Letter from Patrick Blair Carphin to Joanna Carphin, 28 April 1916". Letters of 1916. Schreibman, Susan, Ed. Maynooth University: 2016. Website.

The following people contributed to this letter:

  • Philcostel
  • Comber
  • DanielleO'Donovan
Do you wish to use this letter for research? Please see our copyright policy.

Envelopes, Photos, and Additional Material

Share & Feedback

From: Patrick Blair Carphin
To: Josephine Carphin
Date Sent: 28 April 1916

Subject: Letter from Patrick Blair Carphin to Joanna Carphin, 28 April 1916
4 Zion Terrace
Co Dublin
My dear Jo,

We are living here in an atmosphere which you can hardly imagine. No pots in or out, no telegrams, no telephones, no newspapers, no gas & not much to eat all through the Sinn Fein (pronounced Shin Fane) Rising about which you have no doubt read in the papers — I am only guessing that the news has reached you.

On Monday last Muriel, Doreen & I went to spend the Bank holiday at Lusk. We left a peaceful spot & had a most enjoyable day in the Country. About 2.30 we heard a bang which did not at the time attract much attention but afterwards discovered that the Sinn Fein lot had attempted to blow up a railway viaduct between us & Dublin, half an hour before the Lord Lieutenant's tram was due to pass. Fortunately (?) they only partially succeeded for the railway repair gang had one line of rails working in 3 1/2 hours, so we got to what we thought was the peaceful spot we left. The Dublin railway terminus looked as usual & we walked up to Sackville St. meaning to take a tram home as usual — but no trams were visible. Not knowing what to make of it I asked a bystander "What has happened to the tram service" He looked at me for a minute as if I were either a — fool or an escaped lunatic & then said "do you mean to say you dont know that Dublin is in a state of riot?" I told him we had just come from the country & knew nothing so he pointed across the street & said "There is the flag of the Irish Republic flying on the General Post Office which has been seized & if you are fool enough to go over you will see a Poster on its walls about "England's Dominion over Ireland is now at an end". I said thanks there is no place like home — no carts, no cars, no taxis, so with a bundle of eggs which we had gathered at Lusk we started to tramp home. On we went past Trinity College where the rattle of machine guns from the Castle made me hurry the party on. Up Grafton Street & friend of ours who has a Painters Shop in Stephens Green said "The best thing you can do is leave your parcels in my place till till tomorrow & then you'll have nothing to carry. This we did & had resumed our homeward way when, from the Direction of Harcourt Street came a scurrying rush of men women & children which I could not understand. We drew aside to get the shelter of a church porch as the crowd swept by when Doreen suddenly cried "Oh Mother I am shot" & something (like a boy throwing a stone) hit me hard on the ankle. I never bothered about anything but picked Doreen up & carried her back to where our parcels were (& are still) reposing, there I cut her clothes off & put an improvised tourniquet on her leg. She got a bullet (which I have in my pocket as I write) right through the upper parts of her left leg, which providentially escaped the bone & the femoral artery but cut a branch of the latter. Meantime a Doctor turned up from a few doors away & said "you are not safe here come into my house" & then we had to shelter for an hour & a quarter while rifle & revolver shots made it unwise, to say the least of it, to open the door. Then we all bundled into an ambulance Waggon which was the only possible means of conveyance & got home. I may add that if reports are true the Sinn Fein crowd have as much respect for the Red Cross as the Germans! Our own Doctor came shortly after & found Doreen fearfully weak from shock & loss of blood but pulled her round with whiskey & Brand's essence & now after an anxious time I am thankful to say she is getting on quite well — no temperature & very little inflammation. Poor Muriel who was trying to shelter Doreen got an awful fright & it was only afterwards that we counted twelve bullet holes in various articles of her attire showing that one if not two bullets had passed within a hairsbreadth of her legs. What hit me afterwards turned out to be a spent bullet so all three of us had marvellous escapes! Now here we are living out in the suburbs not knowing what has happened or what is happening in the city. We have to stop indoors between 7.30 pm & 5.30 am. an open window is regarded with suspicion & if you happen to walk in daylight with your hand in your pocket a soldier with loaded rifle will probably appear from somewhere & tell you to keep your hands free. One poor chap who put his hand into his hip pocket & drew a silver cigarette case was instantaneously shot as it was thought to be a revolver. You see some of the Sinn Fein crowd are in uniform but a lot are in plain clothes & one never knows who or what idlers in the streets are & we are all idlers with the jumps just now. It is very a wry feeling to see the sky at night lighted up with fires & listen to the crack of rifles, the knock-knock of machine guns & the bang plop which says 'dropped' as the military & sailors fight for the possession of the city — raiding home to home & I suppose destroying what they cannot capture. A great it deal is left to the imagination & with all our nerves on edge you can imagine guess what a lot we imagine, particularly as there are rumours that another face of reinforcements for the rebels is coming near the hills & that some of the country houses near us are ammunition depots. In any case don't be alarmed about us; things are not so bad that they might not be worse. bad and all as they are. You might tell George the contents of this as I have no time to write more & am sending this in a round about way in the hope that it may keep you from wondering if we are all dead.,

Love to all from us all. Your affectionate Brother