Easter Rising
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Dublin during the Easter Rising

April 24th, 1916. Easter Monday. One thousand Irish nationalists marched on the city of Dublin as the climax of the armed rebellions against the English. Operating from their headquarters at Liberty Hall, the Irish seized the Post Office, the Law Courts, St. Stephan’s Green and several other locations. From the steps of the Post Office a document was read by Patrick Pearse, proclaiming an Irish Republic and the establishment of a Provisional government. As a response to the siege, England sent the 3rd Royal Irish Rifles and the 10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers against the Post Office. From the sea the gunboat Helga fired on and destroyed Liberty Hall. During the fighting sixty-four rebels were killed, 220 civilians were caught in the gunfire and artillery, and 134 troops and policemen were killed fighting the rebellion. The rebels hoped that their actions would spark a wider uprising to support them, but their actions were in vain as the insurrection was quelled in only a week. The rebellion has been described as

“one of the most singular insurrections to occur in any country"2

It was immediately labeled the “Sinn Fein Rebellion” despite Sinn Fein (Ourselves Alone) being a group committed to non-violent resistance. This was because Sinn Fein was well known, and the group responsible for the rising was not; explaining why a larger rebellion didn’t come about. The people were shocked that this unknown group was taking such a radical action. Pearse gives evidence to this theory in his proclamation,

Having organized and trained her [Ireland] manhood through her secret revolutionary organization, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organizations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army…”

Pearse and his followers could have gotten a better response had they been more public, especially when it comes to the Irish Republican Brotherhood which was one of the more prominent revolutionary groups of the time. But the secrecy of the Brotherhood proved to be its downfall.

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