The Easter Rising. Monday 24 April to Sunday 30th April 1916. What was it?. The Easter Rising was an armed uprising by Irish Nationalists organised to take place during Easter week in 1916. They wanted an end to British rule in Ireland. It was the worst uprising in Ireland since 1798.
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Monday 24 April
Sunday 30th April
The Easter Rising was an armed uprising by Irish Nationalists organised to take place during Easter week in 1916.
They wanted an end to British rule in Ireland.
It was the worst uprising in Ireland since 1798.
The Irish Volunteers led by schoolteacher Patrick Pearse
The Irish Citizen Army led by James Connolly
Many Catholic Republicans saw the 1800 Act of Union that officially made Northern Ireland a part of the United Kingdom and subject to rule from London as unjust.
They thought that Northern Ireland was being exploited.
1886 and 1893 saw two Home Rule Bills attempted. If these had passed through both the house of Commons and the House of Lords, Ireland would have been given powers to self govern.
However, both Bills failed to get enough support.
The Third Home Rule Bill was proposed by Prime Minister Herbert Asquith in 1912.
Protestant Unionists opposed the Bill and formed a more extreme, armed opposition – the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Other such groups were also then formed on both sides, most notably for the Republicans, the Irish Volunteers.
World War I
The introduction of conscription in World War I – Republicans didn’t see why they should be fighting for Britain.
The Dublin lock-out of 1913 in which workers joined forces over the right to belong to a trade union had showed that joint action was possible and also led to more extreme, violent groups being formed.
The Rising was planned as early as 1915. All groups involved were busy recruiting volunteers. Pearse delivered this famous speech in 1915 (a full transcript is in The People Speak resources)
“In a closer spiritual communion with him now than ever before or perhaps ever again, in a spiritual communion with those of his day, living and dead, who suffered with him in English prisons, in communion of spirit too with our own dear comrades who suffer in English prisons to-day, and speaking on their behalf as well as our own, we pledge to Ireland our love, and we pledge to English rule in Ireland our hate.”
Speeches like this struck a cord with Republican men who were dissatisfied with rule by the British.
The rebels were
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The Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in Ireland, General Lovick Friend, was on leave in England.
When the insurrection began the Officer Commanding the Dublin Garrison, Colonel Kennard, could not be located.
His adjutant, Col. H V Cowan, telephoned Marlborough Barracks and asked for a detachment of troops to be sent to Sackville Street (O'Connell Street) to investigate the situation at the GPO. He then telephoned Portobello, Richmond and the Royal Barracks and ordered them to send troops to relieve Dublin Castle.
Finally, he contacted the Curragh and asked for reinforcements to be sent to Dublin.
A troop of the 6th Reserve Cavalry Regiment, dispatched from Marlborough Barracks, proceeded down O'Connell Street.
As it passed Nelson's Pillar, level with the GPO, the rebels opened fire, killing three cavalrymen and two horses and fatally wounding a fourth man. The cavalrymen retreated and were withdrawn to barracks. This action is often referred to, inaccurately, as the "Charge of the Lancers."
British forces initially put their efforts into securing the approaches to Dublin Castle and isolating the rebel headquarters, which they believed was in Liberty Hall. The British commander, Brigadier-General W. H. M. Lowe, worked slowly, unsure of the size of the force he was up against, and with only 1,269 troops in the city when he arrived from the Curragh Camp in the early hours of Tuesday 25 April. City Hall was taken on Tuesday morning.
The rebel position at St Stephen's Green held by the Citizen Army under Michael Mallin, was made untenable after the British placed snipers and machine guns in the Shelbourne Hotel and surrounding buildings. As a result, Mallin's men retreated to the Royal College of Surgeons.
British forces put their efforts into securing the approaches to Dublin Castle and isolating the rebel headquarters, which they believed was in Liberty Hall.
The British commander, Brigadier-General W H M Lowe, worked slowly, unsure of the size of the force he was up against, and with only 1,269 troops in the city when he arrived from the Curragh Camp in the early hours of Tuesday 25 April.
City Hall was taken on Tuesday morning. The rebel position at St Stephen's Green held by the Citizen Army under Michael Mallin, was made untenable after the British placed snipers and machine guns in the Shelbourne Hotel and surrounding buildings. As a result, Mallin's men retreated to the Royal College of Surgeons.
British firepower was provided by soldiers which they positioned on the northside of the city at Phibsborough and at Trinity College, and by the patrol vessel Helga, which sailed upriver from Kingstown.
On Wednesday, 26 April, the guns at Trinity College and Helga shelled Liberty Hall, and the Trinity College guns then began firing at rebel positions in O'Connell Street.
Reinforcements were sent to Dublin from England, and disembarked at Kingstown on the morning of 26 April.
Heavy fighting occurred at the rebel-held positions around the Grand Canal as these troops advanced towards Dublin.
The Sherwood Foresters were repeatedly caught in a cross-fire trying to cross the canal at Mount Street. Seventeen Volunteers were able to severely disrupt the British advance.
The rebel position at the South Dublin Union, further west along the canal, also inflicted heavy losses on British troops trying to advance towards Dublin Castle.
The headquarters garrison, after days of shelling, were forced to abandon their headquarters when fire caused by the shells spread to the GPO. They tunnelled through the walls of the neighbouring buildings in order to evacuate the Post Office without coming under fire and took up a new position in Moore Street.
On Saturday 29 April, from this new headquarters, after realising that they could not break out of this position without further loss of civilian life, Pearse issued an order for all companies to surrender. Pearce surrendered unconditionally to Brigadier-General Lowe.
The surrender document read:
"In order to prevent the further slaughter of Dublin citizens, and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, the members of the Provisional Government present at headquarters have agreed to an unconditional surrender, and the commandants of the various districts in the City and County will order their commands to lay down arms."
The Uprising was crushed after 7 days of fighting.
The leaders were arrested, court martialled and executed.
However, the Easter Rising did put Irish Republican beliefs back on the agenda.
In the 1918 elections, Sinn Fein won 73 of the 105 seats available in Northern Ireland
The Uprising led to the War of Independence of 1919.