Did you know that the rebels were responsible for the world’s first-ever radio broadcast?
In 1916 wireless communication was in its infancy and, in general, signals were targeted to particular receiving stations. The idea that a signal might be just broadcast into the atmosphere in the hopes that someone might pick it up was a fairly radical one. On Easter Monday, however, rebel leader Joseph Mary Plunkett sent seven men from the GPO across O’Connell Street to occupy the Dublin Wireless School of Telegraphy. The school had been shut down and sealed by the authorities at the start of the war, and the equipment was dismantled. By Tuesday morning, however, the rebels managed to get a damaged transmitter working, and they began to send out messages in morse code:
“Irish Republic declared in Dublin today. Irish troops have captured city and are in full possession. Enemy cannot move in city. The whole country rising.” From then until the building had to be abandoned under machine-gun and sniper fire the next day, the message was broadcast at regular intervals. This is widely accepted as being the world’s first radio broadcast and, although it was indeed intercepted by several receivers, the rebels never knew if their message was being picked up because they couldn’t get any receiving equipment to work.
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