2016 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland.
The 1916 Rising was mounted by Irish republicans to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic. The quest for Irish independence only lasted a week from April 24th to April 30th 1916 but it changed the course of Ireland’s history significantly.
Early on Easter morning approximately 1,250 members of the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army took over strongpoints in Dublin city centre including Jacob’s biscuit factory, Boland’s Mills, the Four Courts, St Stephen’s Green, St James’s Hospital (which was the South Dublin Union at the time), and Jameson Distillery at Marrowbone Lane. They also occupied the Mendicity Institute, The College of Surgeons, 25 Northumberland Road and Clanwilliam House.
The volunteers seized weapons from the Magazine Fort in Dublin’s Phoenix Park and marched into the GPO where they established their headquarters. It was here the Irish flag was raised for the first time and Padraig Pearse read out a proclamation declaring Ireland a Republic with Pearse as President and Connolly as commander in chief. The proclamation’s seven signatories including Patrick Pearse and James Connolly was also signed by Thomas Clarke , Sean Mac Dermott, Joseph Mary Plunkett, Eamonn Ceannt, and Thomas MacDonagh.
Women played a key role in the Rising, with over 200 members of Cumann na mBan, the women’s auxiliary branch of the Irish Volunteers, and notable figures such as Countess Markievicz, Dr Kathleen Lynn and Rose McNamara.
After the volunteers surrendered over 3,000 people were arrested and 1,400 imprisoned. Sixteen of the rebel leaders were executed in Kilmainham Gaol which brought widespread condemnation from the Irish people and a huge turn around of opinion that increased the strength of nationalism in Ireland predominantly.