100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising

Éirí Amach na Cásca

(The Easter Rising) 

            The Easter Rising (or Easter Rebellion) was an organized revolt by armed Irish Republicans against British rule. It began in the late morning of April 24, 1916, the Monday after Easter, and lasted for six days.

            Approximately 1,200 to 1,600 members of the Irish nationalist “Volunteers” and “Irish Citizen Army” seized several important buildings in Dublin, including the General Post Office (which served as the Republicans’ headquarters), Liberty Hall, the Four Courts and a portion of St. Stephen’s Green. Concurrently, smaller actions took place in several other parts of Ireland, as well. From the steps of the post office, the rebels proclaimed an independent Irish Republic, and set up a provisional government.

            Initially, British police and troops were taken by surprise, and were easily repelled by the entrenched Volunteers. However, because a planned shipment of arms to the rebels had been intercepted at sea, and the nationalists had failed to secure the ports or railroad stations, the British were eventually able to gather substantial reinforcements. The rebels were ousted, and the General Post Office was retaken after an unconditional surrender by the occupiers there. Less than a month later, 15 of the Rebellion leaders were executed by firing squad.

            Despite the short-term failure of the Rising, it began a shift in public opinion that eventually lead to the formation of the more militant Irish Republican Army, and a strengthening of the nationalist Sin Fein political party. Following a 1921 cease fire between the IRA and the British, a treaty was signed establishing the Irish Free State which, in 1949, became the independent Republic of Ireland.