Eason are the only retailer still trading from O’Connell Street as they did 100 years ago.
To commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising, Eason has developed a specially created interactive, digital archive, which showcases Eason company documents from 1916. Taken directly from the archives of the O’Connell Street store, the original documents, particularly the letters of Charles Eason, provide a fascinating perspective on the commercial life of Dublin during the time of the Rising.
The archive, meticulously maintained down through the years, contains a captivating account of how the Eason business was effected by the events of Easter 1916. From the concerted efforts made to maintain the supply of newspapers to outlets around the city at the outbreak of the Rising, through to the incursion by Volunteers into the Eason premises and the concern for the welfare of staff and ultimately the uncertainty of the fate of both Eason shops on Middle Abbey Street and Sackville Street (now O’ Connell Street) which were destroyed within a week of the rebellion commencing. The archive materials are complimented with an Easter 1916 timeline that recounts the events before, during and after the Rising and with a gallery of over 30 images from the era.
This archive is now available to the public to review in the Eason store on O’Connell Street, through touch-screens on the ground floor. The screens are situated within a new “Commemorating 1916” section that carries the largest range of 1916 books in the country. This vast collection of publications represent every aspect and facet of the Easter Rising.
Speaking at the launch, Brendan Corbett, Eason Group Head of Marketing said; “We have created a dedicated section here at Eason O’Connell Street where we are commemorating Eason’s connection with the 1916 Easter Rising. We know from our archives that our shops on Lower Sackville Street and Middle Abbey Street were seized by the Rebels before subsequently being destroyed in the cross-fire during Easter week. Our commitment to our staff, our customers and the city of Dublin at the time was unwavering and within 4 years both shops were rebuilt and 100 years later we are proudly trading from the same locations. This is the story we are sharing with the public for the first time within our new 1916 section on our O’ Connell Street store.”
The digital archive, original documents and vast collection of 1916 reading will remain in situ for the coming months to commemorate the events of the Easter Rising, 1916. @easons #eason1916
For further information please contact:
Kate Whelan – firstname.lastname@example.org
Aisling Newton – email@example.com
Tel: 01 6690030
Notes to the Editor:
The Eason Archives, particularly the letters of Charles Eason written during Easter Week itself, provide a fascinating perspective on the commercial life of Dublin during the time of the Rising. In particular, the incursion by Volunteers of the Eason premises and the concerted efforts made to maintain the supply of newspapers to outlets around the city offer a singular social account of the prevailing mindset of the time.
- On Easter Tuesday April 25th a large number of staff turned up for work but were sent home. Three staff members remained on until about 6:30 that day. They were having their tea in the first floor room of 40 Lower Sackville Street (O’ Connell Street Store) when a sledge hammer came through the partition wall. Having a lively imagination as to what would follow, they left their tea and retreated to their Abbey St. Premises.
- A member of Eason staff – Christopher Whelan – then aged only 15, was killed during the Easter Rising. Christopher worked as a messenger boy in Eason in Sackville Street (O’Connell Street) and on the evening of Tuesday April 25th, having been sent home mid-morning he was shot dead in his bedroom presumably accidentally, by British Soldiers seeking fleeing rebels.
- For five days from Wednesday April 26th the fate of Eason’s two premises on Lower Sackville Street and Middle Abbey Street (O’Connell Street and Abbey Street) was unknown. Access was impossible due to the continued fighting and it was only after the weekend when the Volunteers surrendered (on Saturday April 30th) that civilians could enter the city with a permit. On Monday May 2nd Charles Eason was able to travel as far as O’ Connell Street Bridge from where he observed “On Monday we learned that our premises were completely burned out.” It is estimated that both buildings were destroyed on the previous Friday and Saturday.
- By the Friday of that week Eason premises at Westland Row was used to service customers. The efforts of Eason staff were acknowledged; “The staff have responded eagerly to the demands made on them, and have worked in a wonderful manner.” The Eason business relocated to two temporary premises on 58 Dawson Street and 42 Great Brunswick Street and operated from these and other Dublin locations for the next 4 years.
- Reconstruction would see the Abbey Street and O'Connell Street premises rebuilt as a single interlocking group of buildings, which would also include an extension to 41 Lower O'Connell Street. The present premises was completed on the area of the old site and reopened by April 1920. The extent of the damage to the premises can be measured by Eason’s compensation claim of 63,329.
- Eason Published a book of photographs from the Rising in June 1916 entitled “The Rebellion in Dublin 1916” – an edition of this still sells in Eason stores today.
- In late 1916 Eason employees presented Charles Eason with a complete set of office furniture for his private office as an expression of their sympathy with him for the serious losses sustained by the company during the Rising and in recognition of the firm paying all salaries during the suspension of business.