It all started one day when Roger went into McBear's office.
McBear and Angus were
busy organizing the next Toy Animals' Rights campaign.
"What's that?" McBear asked surprised discovering Roger wearing a uniform.
"I am an Irish 1916 rebel".
"Wow! But... why?"
"McBear!" Roger coughed to clear the emotions in his voice. "2016 is the year of the centenary of the rising against foreign rule in Ireland. Every bear across Ireland should pay tribute as we, the Travelling Bears, will do!"
"Oh, wow, that's a superb idea! McBear applauded. "Have you anything in mind?"
"We shall re-enact the 1916 Easter week - our beary way."
"Wow! But tell me, where did you get that rebel officer uniform?"
"Well, the hat and jacket is inhouse tailored. The trousers are a special Weafer Production Unlimited!"
Click each photo to enlarge
"I've got a hat for you as well", Roger said and placed an
officer's hat on top of McBear.
"Okay," Roger said, "I am Commandant Michael Collins, the great Irish leader, and you are Padraig Pearse... Teddy McPearse. Actually Pearse in Irish is McPhearse".
"I thought you'd be Pearse - after all, he was a poet and an orator like you." McBear pointed out.
"Well... life has taught me that great leaders face important decisions and they may have to sacrifice other of their aims..."
"But why Collins?" McBear asked. "I mean, Collins was a combatant in the GPO but he didn't become a leader until after the rising."
"Ah, McBear! That's a tiny anachronism. It's the outcome that matters, and nations need great heroes like Collins, Che Guevara and... me!"
We started planning our re-enactment by visiting many of the rebel locations during the 1916 Rising. We went to O'Connell Street where the General Post Office is located. It was here the rebels had their headquarter and the building has become an icon.
It was at the GPO the proclamation of the republic was done.
Padraig Pearse had prepared his speech and at noon on Monday the
24th April 1916 he went outside and stood by the pylons. We did
the same. Roger helped McBear by holding the
proclamation. McBear started to read...
"In the name of God... oh God, I am really nervous... All the tourists can see me!"
"C'mon! Just read! Pearse was nervous too, but he didn't hesitate."
"Okay, okay ... in the name of God and of the dead generations from which...", McBear continued.
We went to see the Four Courts. Here, the rebels' 1st Batallion had their headquarter. The leader was Commandant Edward Daly. Some of the fiercest fighting during the rising took place in the residential area just north of the Four Courts.
We went to Moore Street near the GPO. It was here, in these four houses, that the remaining rebels from the GPO surrended on Saturday the 29th April.
We also went to Arbour Hill, the military cemetery. At Arbour Hill the leaders of the rising are laid to rest. Here were are reading the names: Thomas Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh, Padraig Pearse, Edward Daly, Connolly, Plunkett... etc.
On the way back we popped in to Glasnevin Cemetery. First, we went to the
Republican Plot section. Among the names here are Countess Markievicz, possibly
the most famous of the women who fought in the rising.
Then, we stopped at the most famous grave of all: Michael Collins. After the rising he headed the intelligence and organized the guerilla fight that eventually freed Ireland.
Having toured Dublin, we went home to continue planning the 1916 Rising
re-enactment. We had coffee in McBear's office.
"So, we are the military council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and we need ..."
"No, McBear!" Roger interrupted. "In our beary re-enactment, IRB is not short for Irish Republican Brotherhood - it's Irish Rebel Bears!"
"Oh, I shall remember that. But anyway, we need somebody to play Tom Clarke".
"Bamse!" Lansdowne proposed. "...he's old like Clarke!"
"Hey, not a word about age! Bamse responded. "Tom Clarke was an inpiration and a military genious, so I shall be proud to accept being appointed the role of Tom Clarke."
"Okay, just remember he was among the first rebel leaders to be shot after the rising."
Then the day came: Easter Monday 1916. We had decided that the kitchen would
be the most suited to act as the GPO
It turned out we mustered 36 bears, 5 dogs, one seal, a squirrel and a parrot.
"Hmmm..." McBear pondered. "The 1916 rising mustered around 1100 rebels in four batallions plus Connolly's Citizen Army. There won't be many volunteers in each of our batallions.
"Who's our enemy?" Ulysses wanted to know.
"Well... eh..." McBear started. "... for the sake of good international relationship let's just call 'em.... the fusiliers!"
"Will we get rifles?" Pinbear asked.
"Yeah. The Irish Volunteers received 700 Mausers at the Howth landing in 1914 and they managed to get hold of a good few Lee-Enfield rifles."
"The GPO roof burnt during the 1916 rising and the building was a mere shell. Do you think our humans will freak out if we burn a tiny hole in the ceiling?" Roger asked McBear.
"Are you nuts?" McBear asked.
Commandant Roger was appointing commandants for the batallions.
"Tom, you are Commandant Eamonn Ceannt. Take your 4th batallion to the
South Dublin Union."
"Where is that?"
"Eh... upstairs in our human's bedroom - they say it's a madhouse so it's very suited for the SDU."
"Can't remember," Roger continued, "did I appoint a Commandant Edward Daly?"
"I'm Daly!" Dr Bath said and raised his paw.
"Excellent! Bring your 1st Batallion to the Four Courts - it's in the hall."
"Sam!" Roger called out. "You are Sean Heuston from the 1st batallion. Heuston's D-company held up an entire company of fusiliers from the Royal Barracks with only a dozen rebels from the Mendicity Institution. You have to do it with less."
"Yeah ... you!"
"I shall do my best," Sam agreed proud. "Where's the Mendicity?"
Roger looked around.
"There! The closet!"
It's estimated that around 350 rebels occupied the Post Office. The rebels
had an outpost on top of the Imperial Hotel next to the GPO.
"Kevin," Roger called "Take your group to the roof top of the Imperial Hotel."
"Ay-ay, sir commandant. Where's that?"
"On top of the counter next to the sink! Take cover behind the toaster! If you come under fire, just power up! If something smells burnt, open the fawcett!"
"What's our ammunition? Did the rebels have any mortars or grenades?"
Roger opened a jar.
"Here! Cinnamon cookies from last Christmas. They hit hard - especially if you eat them!"
One by one, the batallions went to their posts. Next was Angus as Michael Mallin who
would be going to St. Stephen's Green with the Citizen Army.
"Okay, who is going to be Countess Markievicz?" Roger asked.
"Olivia!!!" the entire batallion responded.
"Wha'? Olivia? Why?"
"Countess Markievicz was a tough cookie and so is Olivia! That's what Barnaby keeps telling us!"
"Objections!" Barnaby said. "Markievicz survived the rising, and we wouldn't want history to repeat itself."
Commandant Collins and Commandant McPhearse went around to inspect the batallions.
"We needed to build a barricade in case somebody opens the door", Commandant Daly told Commandant Collins and Commandant McPhearse at the Four Courts.
"Well thought out and I see you found lots of good material."
"Yeah, we searched our human's laundry basket. No enemy can overcome a pile of dirty socks!"
"The only thing that worries me, "said Roger, "is if the door is opened and the post man sees bears with rifles behind a barricade of socks. He might start to suffer from LMAO."
"Did the rebels use chemical warfare?" Dr Bath asked.
"Not to my knowledge... why?"
"We could spray the fusiliers with some of our lady human's makeup..."
"Ah, c'mon! We're only re-enacting; we don't want to injure anyone."
Having realized that a rising had started, the enemy struck. The GPO was
attacked by cavalry. The rebels fired back and the attack ended in a disaster. When the
enemy withdrew, they left a dead horse in the middle of O'Connell Street.
"We need a dead horse." Roger said. "Keyna, could you act as a dead horse?"
"Yeah, fine, but how does one act as a dead horse?"
"Uhm... well, dead horses don't eat carrots..."
"Eat..." said Chong. "That reminds me: what are we going to eat?"
"Gosch, I nearly forgot!"
Roger left and came back with a huge box.
"Here! Delicious chicken and ham..."
"WHAT? It's chicken and ham alright, but... it's CATFOOD!"
"Stop complaining! The poor insurgents had to eat what was available. Sometimes bread and ham was it. The 2nd batallion in Jacob's Factory had biscuits for a week..."
The battle raged and there were injuries both among the insurgents and
"Magnus, could you act as Connolly? Connolly was hit by a richocheting bullet, and his leg was badly hurt."
"Yeah, that's fine with me"."
"Just remember: it hurts, Magnus, so the nurse needs to give you an injection with morphine!"
"What? Hey, NO! I'm fine!"
"No-no, Magnus, you're in severe pain! Ulysses and Bambam, hold Commandant Connolly, while nurse O'Farrell injects..."
Commandant Collins and Commandant McPhearse discussed the severity of the situation.
"How is Connolly?" Commandant McPhearse asked worried.
"He has started to scream and shout constantly. The poor fellow is in agony." Commandant Collins reported.
The rebels fought with courage and bravery, but they were outnumbered 10 to 1.
The GPO was under a heavy bombardment and the ceiling was ablaze.
Commandant Collins and Commandant McPhearse decided to abandon the GPO. The rebels gathered behind their leaders. Roger opened the door and we all rushed outside. We were hit by a shower and instantly decided that 16 Moore Street was not in the garden but in the sitting room.
The rebels took to the narrow lanes between the GPO and Moore
Street. While running, they came under machine gun fire from the
fusiliers and they forced their way into the houses near 16 Moore
Street. Just as McBear and Roger approached the sitting
room we meet a group of bears discussing.
"What's up?" McBear asked.
"We need a drill."
"A WHA???? Wha' for?"
"Well, we understand that the rebels forced their way into the houses..."
"Hey-hey, not so fast! We'll come under double cross fire if our humans discover ratsized holes in the wall. Can we not just use the door? It's open!"
"Okay,we just thought the re-enactment should be as authentic as possible..."
Soon, the rebels realized that keeping on fighting would be too costly for
civilians in Moore Street. On Saturday the 29th April they decided to
"Ursula," Commandant McPhearse said. "You are nurse Elizabeth O'Farrell. Can you bring the general order of surrender to all the batallions?"
Like the rebels in 1916, the bears were in tears.
To celebrate the rising and re-enactment, we all had tea and
cookies in our humans' sitting room.
"But if the rebels surrendered, how was Ireland then freed?" asked Ernest.
"Well," McBear explained, "rebels from all over Ireland started to organize a guerilla war fare. It was during the War of Independence that Michael Collins became a hero. And that war eventually resulted in the Free State of Ireland."
Michael Collins ..... Viking Roger
Padraig Pearse ...... Teddy McBear
Thomas Clarke ....... Bamse Madsen
James Connolly ...... Magnus
Eamonn Ceannt ....... Tom Teddy
Michael Mallin ...... Angus of Finglas
Edward Daly ......... Dr Bath Bear
Constance Markievicz. Olivia de Ulysses
Sean Heuston ........ Sam
Elizabeth O'Farrell . Ursula Cambridge
GPO guard ........... Tutty Ank Bear
Dead Horse .......... Keyna
To mark the day of the 1916 rising, the 24th April, we decided to
arrange a great parade. But where?
"We should do it in front of the GPO on O'Connell Street", Roger believed.
"Well, we risk being trodded down by celebrating people," MBear said.
Instead, we decided to arrange a parade at home. But we didn't have any GPO. McBear proposed we'd build a model of the pillars in front of the GPO.
But how? Ballygowan was the answer! We went to the kitchen and managed to pull a six-pack of 1.5 liter Ballygowan bottles into the sitting room. "But they are too short," Roger pointed out, "... and they don't look like the real pillars!"
We found a pile of old newspapers to wrap around the bottles to make them taller and look like pseudo-pillars.
We had bears pulling the bottles out of the pack, bears rolling bottles to the lifting station and bears wrapping newspapers around bottles. It all worked out fine. McBear and Roger were busy conducting the hard work.
Then it was time for the parade! On the 24th April 1916 Padraig Pearse went outside the GPO and stood by the pillars while he did the proclamation of the Irish Republic!
To commemorate the rising, our bear leaders watched as the army of bears - and dogs, seal and a parrot - paraded by. Wow! This was our contribution to commemorate the 1916 Rising!