A Story of War-Stopping Ducks

2 min readNov 14, 2019

On Easter Monday, 1916, approximately 1,250 members of the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army assembled in Dublin to mount an armed rebellion against the occupying British forces.

The Rebels seized arms and took up strategic locations around the city — like a more high stakes Occupy Movement — including St. Stephen’s Green, just south of the murky waters of the River Liffey.

If 800 years of British Rule hadn’t taught the Irish that those pesky Imperialists will do what they want, when they want, another reminder came the next day when the British Army took up residence at the Shelbourne Hotel and began to machine gun the living hell out of the rebel forces.

In the midst of all the literal gunfire was a man just trying to do his damn job. James Kearney was the Stephen’s Green park-keeper and he wasn’t going to let a simple thing like a bitter, bloody revolution stop him from his duties.

And so, every day, two opposing forces that were hell-bent on each others annihilation, would call a brief ceasefire so that James could wander about, feeding the ducks and other waterfowl. The ducks were — as per records — well fed and unperturbed by the bullets flying overhead.

Six days of intense fighting led to the death or wounding of 1,350 people, with approx 3,500 Irishmen and women arrested by the British forces. Ireland (minus the 6 counties that are now Northern Ireland) eventually broke free and gained independence. The free Irish people rejoiced. The ducks, presumably, remained unflappable.


The Irish Times: Article 1 | Article 2

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