The Easter Rising was probably doomed before it began. The nationalist Roger Casement had arranged for the Germans to ship arms to the rebels; when the shipment was intercepted, the leading Irish Volunteers commander, Eoin MacNeill, withdrew from the enterprise. However, the rebels forfeited their main opportunity to prolong resistance by failing to occupy Dublin Castle. On 24 April, the castle was a war hospital, occupied by civil servants, with only 25 able-bodied troops in residence. A raiding party of 30 led by Sean Connolly had secured City Hall and hurried to the castle, shooting and killing the lone sentry. They managed to overpower soldiers in the castle guardroom, but were then fired upon from the keep. Unaware of the meagreness of the garrison, they then withdrew, and began a siege. Other rebel contingents had meanwhile occupied the nearby Jacob’s Biscuit Factory and the Royal College of Surgeons. Within 24 hours, forces from nearby barracks had relieved and reinforced the castle.
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