During the historic week of the 1916 Easter Rising hundreds of rebels, soldiers and civilians were injured and killed. Included in these casualties were a number of medical personnel who disregarded their own safety to help the wounded where they fell in the streets around Dublin.
Charles Hachette Hyland was a practising dentist living in Percy Place close to Mount Street in 1916. He was the eldest of five children and had attended Catholic University School on Leeson Street. He graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons Dental School in 1907. He married Kathleen Slyne of Slyne Couturiers, 71 Grafton Street. His father, also Charles, was the manager of the Gaiety Theatre.
Charles had been a successful student at the Incorporated Dental Hospital of Ireland, where he won senior prizes in Dental Mechanics and in Dental Surgery. He was one of the assistant staff of the Dental Hospital
..where his efficiency, modesty and courtesy gained the admiration and good will of all who were brought in contact with him.
- British Dental Journal 1916 pg.479
On Easter Monday the Irish Citizen Army took up strategic positions around Mount Street, Northumberland Road and Haddington Road. They fired upon soldiers who were returning to nearby Beggars Bush barracks after weekend manoeuvres, causing many casualties. Two days later, they opened fire on British reinforcements who had just arrived in Ireland. Many of the new arrivals were with the Sherwood Foresters regiment. The British suffered heavy casualties against the small number of well-positioned insurgents. With their home close to the fighting, Hyland had sent his wife, Kathleen, and their young son to safety in Blackrock but he remained to help the wounded.
Nurses in the residence at 97 Lower Mount Street attached to nearby Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital witnessed the fighting. The matron of the hospital said that the nurses ‘could see the soldiers falling and they felt they must go out and try to rescue them.’ During brief ceasefires, Hyland donned his white coat and joined the nurses and other staff from Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital as they tried to help the wounded soldiers. They used quilts as stretchers and, at one stage, Hyland enlisted the help of a young man with a cart to transport injured men to the hospital.
He [Hyland] worked gallantly for several hours, rendered valuable aid to the wounded men and assisted the unfortunate victims of the battle into a place of safety.
- Sinn Féin Rebellion Handbook Easter 1916 Irish Times, 1917 pg.266
On Thursday, 27 April, Charles Hachette Hyland was shot dead on Percy Place. He was one of several civilians killed during the battle at Mount Street Bridge.
Apart from Charles’ signature in the RCSI Roll of Licentiates no other material evidence of Charles existed in our collections. As he was one of the surgeons to feature in the College’s 1916 commemorative exhibition Surgeons & Insurgents: RCSI and the Easter Rising, a call was put out through social media to try and locate any relatives who may be able to put a face to the name. The week the exhibition was being installed we received an email from a relative in London who had some photo of Charles and his wife, Kathleen. These were couriered over and put on display beside Charles’ feature panel in the exhibition. By letting people gaze on Charles’s face it briefly brought him back to life 100 years after his life had ended so abruptly.
The Abbey Theatre was founded as Ireland’s national theatre by W. B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory in 1904. Its mission was ‘to bring upon the stage the deeper emotions of Ireland’. With patronage from Miss Annie Horniman, premises were purchased on Old Abbey Street and on December 27th 1904, the Abbey Theatre opened its doors for the first time.
The emotions expressed on stage sometimes led to riots in the theatre, most famously in connection with Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World in 1907 and O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars in 1926. In 1925 the Abbey Theatre was awarded a subsidy by the new Free State, becoming the first state-subsidised theatre in the English speaking world. In 1927 the Peacock Theatre opened as a rental space, home to the Abbey Theatre School of Acting and School of Ballet. The Abbey Experimental Theatre, under the direction of Ria Mooney, produced new work at the Peacock from 1937 to 1944. Since then the Peacock Theatre has evolved as the fulcrum of new Irish writing - nurturing and staging work by emerging playwrights and encouraging experimentation.
Tragically in 1951, the original buildings of the Abbey Theatre were damaged by fire and the Abbey’s productions re-located to the Queen’s Theatre on Pearse Street. During its time there the Queen’s would play host to premieres by Brian Friel and John B. Keane.
Fifteen years to the day later, on the 18 July 1966, the Abbey moved back to its original and current home on Abbey Street, in a new theatre designed by Michael Scott Architects. The Peacock Theatre re-opened the following year. To the present day it continues the mission of its founders.
During the fire of 1951 considerable damage was done to the theatre’s archives. On the other hand we are fortunate that much of our national theatre’s archives survived through the efforts of Abbey Theatre staff to sort and dry the records in the aftermath of the fire. Indeed, the fire served to underscore the importance of the theatre’s archives to its past, present and future. Today the Abbey Theatre Archive has extensive holdings that shed light not only on the rich history of our national theatre and how theatre is made, but also on the history of the Irish nation.
- Description: Máire O'Neill as Pegeen Mike in the premiere of The Playboy of the Western World by John Millington Synge, Abbey Theatre, 1907.
- Description: Examiner of Play's English tour licence for The Playboy of the Western World by John Millington Synge, signed by G. A. Bedford, 23 May 1907.
- Description: The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet by George Bernard Shaw. Refused a licence by the English Examiner of Plays due to blasphemy, it premiered at the Abbey Theatre in 1909.
- Description: The Abbey Theatre first toured to America in 1911 with a repertoire of Irish plays, this is the programme for their second tour, 1912.
- Description: Poster for Easter Week 1916. With the outbreak of the rebellion performances did not go ahead.
- Description: Programme of cancelled performances, Easter 1916. Arthur Shields and Sean Connolly, along with several other Abbey actors and staff, took part in the Rising.
- Description: The nightly curfew imposed in Dublin forces the Abbey to curtail shows. As a result the need for fundraising centres around performances and lecture series in London, 1921.
- Description: Financial ledger showing the takings for Juno and the Paycock by Sean O'Casey, directed by Lennox Robinson, Abbey Theatre, 1926.
- Description: Fire damaged photograph of stage setting for Spring by T. C. Murray, Abbey Theatre, c.1935.
- Description: Property list for The Man in the Cloak by Louis D'Alton, directed by Hugh Hunt, Abbey stage, 1937.
- Description: Programme for Muireann agus an Prionnsa, the first of the Abbey Theatre's Gaelic pantomimes, 1945.
- Description: Abbey Theatre auditorium following the fire that destroyed much of the building, 18 July 1951.
- Description: An Abbey Theatre audience arriving to the Queen's Theatre on Pearse street for the opening night of Song of the Anvil by Bryan MacMahon, 12 September 1960.
- Description: Frank Mac Mahon’s adaptation of Brendan Behan’s autobiographical novel Borstal Boy was a major success when it premiered, 1967.
- Description: Peter O'Toole, Eamon Kelly and Donal McCann in Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett, directed by Sean Cotter, Abbey stage, 1969.
- Description: Scene from Hatchet by Heno Magee, directed by Patrick Mason, Abbey stage, photographed by Fergus Bourke, 1979.
- Description: Poster for the premiere of Observe the Sons of Ulster at the Peacock Theatre. Following a successful run and a national tour it was revived on the Abbey stage later that year, 1985.
- Description: Poster for The Great Hunger by Tom MacIntyre, tour to the Maison des Culture du Monde, Paris, 1987.
- Description: Poster for the premiere of By The Bog of Cats by Marina Carr, Abbey stage, 1998. In 2015 the show had a successful new production at the Abbey Theatre.
This oak chest dating from 1706 held the records of the weaver’s guild until their removal to more secure storage in the RSAI library. The chest is now located in the entrance hall of the RSAI building at 63 Merrion Square. The surviving records include lists of members, minutes of meetings, records of elections, accounts and records of the resolutions and proposals of the guild.
RSAI/BV/WVRS/08.The above entry shows a list of persons fined by the guild in 1679. The fines were mainly imposed for the use of faulty weights to measure cloth, or for not presenting goods to be examined, but one entry also fines a member for ‘abusing the master’ of the guild.
RSAI Lantern Slide Collection: Box 08. A lantern slide showing the Weaver’s Hall in The Coombe. The hall was built in 1745 under the patronage of David Digges La Touche, of the well-known Dublin banking family. La Touche was master of the weavers’ guild in 1745. In the recess at the front is a statue of George II. The interior of the Hall was a testament to the civic loyalties of the guild and included portraits of Charles I, William III, George II, Jonathan Swift and David Digges La Touche. You can explore further images from the RSAI’s collection here.
RSAI/BV/WVRS/10. A bond showing the admission of Margaret Nale into the guild in 1747. The professional weaving trade was largely a male occupation by the seventeenth century, but earlier medieval sources generally associate weaving with women. Nale may have joined the guild in place of a deceased male relative, most likely her spouse. Part of the guilds responsibility was to ensure that widows and dependent relatives of deceased guild members were looked after and the accounts of the guild often testify to this kind of support.
RSAI/BV/WVRS/16. The weaving trade was susceptible to periods of intense economic hardship and the industry was especially sensitive to English trade policies.The record above testifies to the efforts of the guild to promote local manufacture. It records a 1796 resolution by the guild to present an elaborate gold freedom box, in the shape of a weaver’s shuttle, to Lady Camden, the wife of the Lord Lieutenant, in recognition of her patronage of Irish cloth.