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 Dublin GPO. Click for larger photo


The Easter Rising

On April 24, 1916, Easter Monday, people passing Dublin's General Post Office were startled to see a small group of armed men raise the Irish flag over the building. Their leader, Patrick Pearse, proclaimed the repudiation of English rule and the independence of the Irish Republic.


Pearse, James Connolly, and other members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood had decided to challenge Britain's control of Ireland while it was distracted by the war in Europe. For a week, the vastly outnumbered rebels held off massive artillery barrages by superior British forces hastily recalled from the Western Front to put down the uprising.

With much of downtown Dublin in ruins, the rebels finally surrendered and the Easter Rising ended in failure. Sixteen of its leaders, including Pearse and Connolly, were convicted of treason and shot.


While many Irish people had been initially opposed to the Rising, its bloody suppression quickly swung public opinion in favour of the cause for which the “men of 1916” had so valiantly fought and died. The executions ensured that the rebels joined the long list of Irish heroes. Within months of the executions of the rebel leaders, a revitalized Irish Republican Army was staging attacks on British military bases all over the country. The Irish war of independence had begun.

Read the full text of the Proclamation






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