The Easter Uprising

The Easter Uprising

Probably the most well known battle in Irish history because of the film "Michael Collins," the Easter Rebellion of 1916 served mostly as a training ground for the men who would eventually see the Republic of Ireland to its freedom.

Most Dubliners were sleeping, enjoying the holiday season, on Easter Monday when a band of 1528 rebels mobilized to conquer strategic locations throughout Dublin, most notably the General post office.

Angry over England breaking another promise to grant freedom, this time because of WWI, the revolutionaries hoisted a Republican tricolor--orange for Protestant tradition, green for Catholic and white for the bond that should be between them--and declared an independent republic in a statement read by teacher Padraig Pearse.

Failure was evident to many before the attack began. The German supply ship was taken upon landing in Ireland, and several leaders demanded calling the whole mission off.

After launching the assault on April 24, though, it was too late. The British responded the next day because the rebels declared themselves the provisional government.

O'Connell Street in Dublin after the rebellion.
Irish reaction overall was hostile because of the amount of violence and destruction. The Royal Irish Constabulary lost 14 men, the Dublin Police lost 3, 103 British soldiers died, 450 rebels died and 3,000 others were wounded during the event.

On April 29, when Pearse and James Connolly, local troop commander, signed a surrender agreement, Dubliners actually cheered. The citizens went so far as to spit on the two as they were being taken to prison.

Michael Collins
Britain put as many participants into prison as possible, including future leaders Michael Collins and Eamon De Valera. Fourteen rebels were executed, including Pearse and Connolly, intensifying the nationalism beginning to appear. The largest arrested group went to an internment camp in Wales where the prisoners developed revolutionary group Sinn Fein(ourselves alone) and military training centers. Also, it was here that Collins and De Valera began to emerge.

Eamon De Valera

The Results

Despite obviously being a military failure, this incident did more to move Ireland where it is today than any other. World attention shifted to Ireland as other nations looked at British oppression. Nationalism kicked in after the executions. Alliances and power groups formed in prison. The subculture of revolution became acceptable again.

Overall, the sacrifices made had great effect. As William Butler Yeats wrote in his poem "Easter 1916," "All changed, changed utterly: a terrible beauty is born."