One of the first places taken possession of by the insurgents was the Wireless School over Reis’ shop at the corner of Abbey Street and here during the night the wireless apparatus was re-erected complete with aerials”.
Thus the Freeman’s Journal reported on events in O’Connell Street, April 1916.
Rebel Radio was ‘conceived in sin’ and ‘broke down the walls of silence built by the enemy’. The rebels’ launch of their very own radio station in April 1916 was a real and tangible success during the Easter Rising.
This group of innovators broke new ground barely a decade after the invention of radio.
Their heroic actions, often under intense fire from their enemy, beat the odds and the British censorship blanket in Ireland.
The radio station, located opposite the rebel headquarters in the GPO, was expertly planned and executed and it became a world’s first as the Irish Republic became the first State to be declared globally by radio. It was the first instance of battlefield propaganda being broadcast to the general listener.
As the first Director of Irish Broadcasting the proclamation signatory (and later executed leader) Joseph Plunkett led a group of extraordinarily brave rebels.
His charges included Fergus O’Kelly, John ‘Blimey’ O’Connor, Liam Daly and the Hollywood star Arthur Sheilds.
“To Officer in Charge Reis's and D.B.C.
The main purpose of your post is to protect our wireless station. Its secondary purpose is to observe Lower Abbey Street and Lower O'Connell Street.
Signed. James Connolly, Commandant General”.
This is their full story told for the first time…
Dublin-born Eddie Bohan is best known for his life-long work in the licensed trade but more recently he has been researching and contributing to the field of the history of Irish broadcasting as a Broadcast Historian. He has lectured extensively on the history of 1930s Irish Radio, the history of Pirate Radio and the use of the airwaves during the 1916 Easter Rising.
In 2013 he produced and presented a six-part television series marking the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the 1988 Wireless Telegraphy Act called ‘Dublin’s Pirate Days’.
He has written extensively on Irish broadcasting history and currently runs the Irish Broadcasting Hall of Fame. He is a regular contributor to the ‘Ireland’s Own’ magazine.
In 2011 he began the original 1916 Easter Rising Coach Tour visiting all the major battle sites of the Rising which continues today. The associated blog was shortlisted for the 2015 Blog of the Year.
He can be contacted through Kilmainham Tales