Following the raising of Martial Law, a month after it had been imposed on 29 April by General Maxwell, commander of the British forces, and the clearing of rubble and barricades from the streets in the Sackville Street area, Dubliners flocked to see what had happened to their once-beautiful city. They came in their thousands, every day, to gape at the ruins and reminisce about what had stood where. Men, women, children, entire families in trams, cars, carriages and horse traps, on foot and on bicycles, they arrived to gaze at the familiar, transformed in a week of warfare from a thriving metropolis into a ghost town. There is something about the crowds in the contemporay photographs from 1916 that suggests tourist flocking through the ruins of Pompeii, marvelling at the relics of a vanished race while attempting to comprehend something of the violence that created such hardly credible devastation.
The Aftermath, 29 May, 1916', Mezzotint
Brian Lalor, artist and writer, has exhibited his prints internationally, most recently in Spain and the United States, and is represented in many public collections. His last major exhibition was a retrospective, 'Voussoir, prints 1980-2010'. Recent books include 'Ink-Stained Hands', a pioneering study of fine-art printing in twentieth century Ireland.