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Easter Rising, 1916

In the midst of WWI, an attempted revolution in Ireland plunged Dublin into violent chaos, and dramatically shaped Ireland’s journey through the 20th century. Pat Kinsella travels back 100 years to tell the tale…
THE SMOKE CLEARS The fighting over, Dubliners venture out to see what remains of their city. The General Post Office – the rebels’ HQ – which was shot at, shelled and set ablaze during the week-long Rising, is left in ruins



Having been designed in 1848, the Irish tricolour was still little known in 1916. It was only after the rebels raised the colours above the General Post Office that it came to be regarded as the country’s national flag.

The morning of 24 April 1916 saw an insurgency erupt in Dublin that would leave the city battered and bruised, with blood on its streets. The Irish were initially surprised by what became known as the Easter Rising – a nationalist rebellion undertaken in their name – and then they were furious.

Within days, however, as vengeful British authorities began executing the leaders, anger at the rebels’ actions turned to sympathy for their cause, and the uprising ultimately proved to be a pivotal point in the centuries-long struggle for Irish independence.

The rebellion, orchestrated by the Military Council of a secret organisation called the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), was led by a mixed-bag of colourful characters, ranging from prison-hardened nationalists and revolutionary socialists, through to poets, teachers and Irish-language enthusiasts.

On Easter Sunday 1916, seven such men scribbled their names on a document now known as the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. They knew they were signing their own death warrants if the uprising they were about to initiate failed – which, due to the events of preceding days, it surely would.

DIVIDED OPINION A civilian studies the Proclamation of the Irish Republic on Easter Monday
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The April 2016 issue of History Revealed.