- Primary Course
Lesson One: The Background
The English occupation of Ireland, which began in 1169, had always been resisted fiercely throughout the centuries. Following the failed 1798 rebellion, the English in 1801 imposed on Ireland, what they called "The Act of Union."
In the period leading up to the First World War there had been a move towards "Home Rule" for Ireland. Home Rule would have given the Irish people their own parliament that could make laws relating to domestic Irish issues. Major decisions about the economy and foreign affairs would still be made in London. Home rule was a very popular idea amongst the Irish population.
Lesson Two: Plans for the Rising
By the summer of 1914 it was clear that "Nationalists" were determined to hold a Rebellion. "The Irish Republican Brotherhood" began to plan for the Rising by setting up a secret military council.
Initially the council was made up of Joseph Plunkett, Padraig Pearse, and Éamonn Ceannt.
They were later joined by Seán Mac Diarmada and Thomas Clarke, as well as Thomas McDonagh, and and James Connolly.
Lesson Three: Easter Week
Monday 24th of April - The volunteers took over various points around the city. In O’Connell Street, Volunteers and the Citizen Army occupied the General
Post Office (GPO), which they had chosen as their headquarters. Pearse read the Proclamation on the steps of the GPO. It was signed by all seven members of the IRB’s Military Committee.
By Friday the GPO was on fire and half of O’Connell Street was in ruins. Connolly was badly wounded. On Saturday 29th of April – Elizabeth O’Farrell of Cumann na mBan was sent with a white flag to seek terms from the British.
By Sunday 30th of April – 450 people were dead and 2,614 were wounded.
Lesson Four: The Aftermath
Dublin city centre was left in a smoking ruin. Over 3,000 people were arrested following the Rising, although most were later released. In all 186 men and women were tried and 88 men were sentenced to death. Nationalism swept the country.
Demand grew for an end to British rule.