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Mendicity Institute Garrison

On the afternoon of Sunday, 24th April 2016, a Dublin City Council plaque commemorating the Easter Rising’s Mendicity Institution garrison was unveiled on a pillar outside the oldest working charity in Dublin.

Established in 1818, the Mendicity Institution creates opportunities for “people experiencing homelessness, isolation and marginalization to live better lives”. It is located at Usher’s Island, Dublin 8.

The plaque was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, with historian Dr John Gibney and Deputy City Librarian Brendan Teeling also speaking at the ceremony.

On Easter Monday in 1916 the Mendicity Institution was seized by a small garrison of Irish Volunteers led by Seán Heuston, with orders from James Connolly to occupy the building for a short period and delay the advance of British troops along the north side of the River Liffey. With a force of less than thirty men, Heuston’s garrison held the Mendicity Institution for two days, before surrendering on Wednesday morning. One member of the garrison, Peter Wilson, was killed on this day, while another, Liam Staines, was badly wounded at an earlier stage and died two years later. Heuston was later executed at Kilmainham Gaol for his role in the Rising.

Those wishing to learn more about the life of Seán Heuston and the Mendicity Institution’s role during the Easter Risng, should consult John Gibney’s book 16 Lives: Seán Heuston (O’Brien Press, 2013).

Submitted by historian in residence James Curry.