Irish Volunteers marching with rifles from the Asgard at Howth in July were confronted by British military in Marino. The guns were subsequently hidden throughout the old estate until it was safe to collect them later.
During the Easter Rising, F Company (Irish Volunteers based in Dublin 3 and pictured below in front of the Casino) were split between Jacobs Factory and defending two strategic local bridges.
A number of nationalists, including Harry Colley, were living in flats in ‘Charlemount House’, once the great house of Marino, which was still standing at this time.
The first two Thompson machine guns in Ireland were demonstrated in the tunnels attached to the Casino, by Michael Collins and two Irish-Americans, to members of ‘the squad’.
Frank Henderson 1890 – 1959
Frank Henderson captained F Company, and had been involved with the Irish Volunteers since the initial rally in 1913. He was just twenty-six years of age during the Easter Rising, and lived in Windsor Villas. He was a member of the Gaelic League, the GAA, and was a close friend of Sean O’Casey. His brother Leo captained B Company.
Harry Colley 1891 – 1972
Harry Colley joined the Volunteers after the shootings at Bachelors Walk in 1914. He was twenty-five years old during the Rising, and was imprisoned in England after it. Colley was a founding member of Fianna Fáil in 1926. He held a seat in Dublin North-East from 1943 until he was defeated by Charlie Haughey in 1957. His sister Gertie was active in Cumann na mBan.
Oscar Traynor 1886 – 1963
Oscar Traynor, a professional football player, was F Company’s lieutenant. He also joined up after the incidents on Bachelors Walk. He was twenty-eight during the Easter Rising. Anti-treaty in the Civil War, Traynor later joined the government as TD, rising to Minister for Defence in 1939. A local road in Coolock is named for him.
The first two Thompson machine guns were brought into Ireland from America by two Irish-Americans with military rank, whose names I cannot recall. One I believe was Colonel Dinneen. These guns were, I think, shortly after arriving here, brought to the Squad at Morelands in Abbey St where I remember were had a very happy time dismantling and putting them together and learning their mechanism. The Colonel and his friend gave us instruction on them but we learned all about them very rapidly as we were in our own rights, something of specialists in the use of small arms generally. In fact I was an instructor for the 2nd Battalion in small arms and automatics.
It was decided to take the Thompsons to the Casino at Fairview, in which there were a number of tunnels, and one afternoon some of the squad and myself and I believe Mick Collins and Oscar Traynor tried the guns out at the Casino. We fired live ammunition from the small vertical and large round magazines. The tunnels were well below ground and some members of the squad went outside watching and listening but very little sound could be heard. We succeeded in completely familiarising ourselves with these two guns.
…The first time i think that the Thompson guns were brought into action was shortly after testing them at the Casino when we endeavoured to ambush the military train conveying troops from the North Wall to somewhere in the north of Ireland, on the Drumcondra main line. The first attempt was made on the Drumcondra road.William James Stapleton, on the War of Independence, around May 1921