The Easter Rising: 100 years later
The Easter Rising (also known as The Easter Rebellion) began on April 24, 1916 and has remained a controversial part of Irish history for the last century. The politics behind it are complicated, and emotions still run high among the Irish and the British. The short version: Many Irish people had felt that Britain paid no attention and had no care for the welfare of the Irish, who had been under British rule since 1171, and had been considered part of the United Kingdom since 1801. Although Ireland had seats in British Parliament, they believed they had little say in governing themselves and therefore were treated as second class citizens and allowed to suffer and starve (especially during the Great Famine which claimed thousands of lives between 1845 and 1847) under British rule. A group of Irish nationalists (members of the Irish Volunteers as well as the Irish Republican Brotherhood) planned to use force to oust the British from Ireland, thereby making it independent. On the afternoon of April 24, 2016 the General Post Office in Dublin was taken over by the insurgents and the Proclamation was read. Four Courts, Jacobs Factory, Boland's Bakery, and other important buildings around Dublin were likewise occupied, as well as places around all parts of Ireland. The hub of the conflict was the General Post Office, and that was where the headquarters was located. During the next week, bloody conflict raged throughout Dublin. More than 400 people lost their lives, and at the end of the week PH Pearse, one of the leaders of the rising, declared unconditional surrender “ In order to prevent further slaughter of the civil population and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers, the members of the Provisional Government present at headquarters have decided on an unconditional surrender, and commandants or officers commanding districts will order their commands to lay down arms. P.H. Pearse, Dublin 30th April 1916.” (for the source of this quote visit taoiseach.gov.ie) The British reaction to the rising was swift and bloody. Please join us next Monday, March 28 for more on The Easter Rising.