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The Easter Rising of 1916

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The Easter Rising of 1916 had profound and far-reaching effects on Ireland's subsequent history. It has been referred to as 'The Irish War for Independence' and was the pivotal event in ultimately securing independence for the Republic of Ireland. For centuries, Ireland had been under English rule, the English perceiving the Irish to be barbarians who had to be tamed. The invasion by King Henry II of England in the twelfth century, the attempts by future English monarchs to colonize Ireland with English, the massacres orchestrated by Cromwell (1652), and the way the English had treated the Irish during their 'darkest hour' (The Famine 1845-1852) had all contributed to the growing dissatisfaction among the Irish natives. Many had attempted rebellions before, none had succeeded in obtaining what most of the Irish population desired - a free country, one in which they could claim back their rightful heritage as landowners. Several events led up to the 1916 Rising, all of which had bearing on what would take place. Firstly, the centuries of national oppression by British landlords and increasing capitalism had led to the formation, in a Dublin timber yard, of the Irish Republican Brotherhood or I.R.B. in 1858. They were direct descendents of the rebels known as the Fenians. Their numbers never exceeded more than 2000 men, who were mostly intellectuals - writers, poets, teachers, professionals - and they were very reliable. ...read more.


MacNeill, the Chief of Staff of the Volunteers, first heard about the planned rebellion on the Wednesday of Holy Week. He tried to prevent it from happening which caused some confusion among the troops. When MacNeill heard about the expected arrival of arms at Fenit he withdrew his opposition believing that the fighting was inevitable. Unfortunately, the shipment of arms arrived earlier than expected and no one was there to meet it. The ship's captain, Spindler, could not convey the message that they had arrived due to the fact that there was no radio on board. By the Friday evening (before Easter Sunday), the British Navy captured the ship, and while being escorted toward Cork Harbor, the Captain and his crew sank her. There were 20,000 rifles on board. The loss of the arms was a huge blow to the Council as was the news that Sir Roger Casement, an Englishman who had been instrumental in securing the arms, had been captured at Banna Strand. MacNeill ordered the Volunteers not to 'move' on Sunday and the Council's plans were thrown into disarray. They met on the morning of Easter Sunday, at Liberty Hall in Dublin, to discuss their next step. The mood of that meeting was somber - with the loss of the arms all chance of victory seemed to have vanished. Despite the huge setback the Council leaders decided to carry on. ...read more.


Also, de Valera was to become the new Free State's President in 1931. The leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916 had partially achieved their aim. Today, Ulster remains tied to Britain, and the fight for a United Ireland continues. It is debatable however, whether the ideals of the rebels of Easter 1916 remain in the front of Irish Republicans' minds. An Irish Mp criticises British policy after the Easter Rising. You are washing out our whole life's work in a sea of blood. Thousands of people in Dublin, who ten day's ago were bitterly opposed to the whole of the Sinn Fein movement and to the rebellion, are now becoming infuriated against the government on account of these executions. (Quote from John Dillon speaking to the house of commons, 11 may 1916) The rising and an Irish soldier in the British Army. In 1916 I was in a Mesopotamia (Iraq) with the British Expeditionary Force. Outside the orderly room I saw a notice. It told us of the Rising in Dublin, and the executions of men I'd never herd of- I said to myself, "what the hell am I doing with the British Army? It's with the Irish I should be. (Quote by Tom Barry, later a commander of the IRA, speaking in 'curious journey' 1982) Who organised the Easter Rising? The newspaper and the public called it the Sinn Fein rebellion, although Sinn Fein had had nothing to do with it. So little of the risings neas seemed the only explanation. (Quote by Robert Keen ' Ireland a history 1980) ...read more.

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