Remembering our Heroes of 1916

Recent 1916 remembrance song from Michael Flatley. 

Irish Rising April 1916

The Revoluton begins


 

The Easter Rising (Irish: Éirí Amach na Cásca), also known as the Easter Rebellion, was an armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter week, April 1916. The Rising was launched by Irish republicans to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic while the United Kingdom was heavily engaged in the First world War. It was the most significant uprising in Ireland since the rebellion of 1798, and the first armed action of the Irish revolution.

Organised by a seven-man Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood the Rising began on Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, and lasted for six days. Members of the Irish Volunteers—led by schoolmaster and Irish language activist Patrick Pearse, joined by the smaller Irish Citizens Army of James Connolly and 200 women of Cumann na mban—seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed an Irish Republic. The British Army  brought in thousands of reinforcements as well as artillery and a  gunboat. There was fierce street fighting on the routes into the city  centre, where the rebels put up stiff resistance, slowing the British  advance and inflicting heavy casualties. Elsewhere in Dublin, the  fighting mainly consisted of sniping and long-range gun battles. The  main rebel positions were gradually surrounded and bombarded with  artillery. There were isolated actions in other parts of Ireland, with  attacks on the Royal irish Constabulary in County Meath, Cork and in Galway, and the seizure of the town of Enniscorthy, Wexford. Germany had sent a shipment of arms to the rebels, but the British had intercepted it just before the Rising began. Volunteer leader Eion MacNeil had then issued a countermand in a bid to halt the Rising, which greatly reduced the number of rebels who mobilized.

With much greater numbers and heavier weapons, the British Army  suppressed the Rising. Pearse agreed to an unconditional surrender on  Saturday 29 April, although sporadic fighting continued until Sunday,  when word reached the other rebel positions. After the surrender the  country remained under martial law.  About 3,500 people were taken prisoner by the British, many of whom had  played no part in the Rising, and 1,800 of them were sent to interment camps or prisons in Britain. Most of the leaders of the Rising were executed following courts-martial. The Rising brought physical force  back to the forefront of Irish politics, which for nearly 50 years had  been dominated by constitutional nationalism. It, and the British  reaction to it, led to increased popular support for Irish independence.  In December 1918, republicans, represented by the reconstituted Sinn Fein party, won a landside victory in the election to the British Parliament. They did not take their seats, but instead convened the First Dail and declared the independence of the Irish Republic. 

485 people were killed in the Easter Rising. About 54% were  civilians, 30% were British military and police, and 16% were Irish  rebels. More than 2,600 were wounded. Many of the civilians were killed  as a result of the British using artillery and heavy machine guns, or  mistaking civilians for rebels. Others were caught in the crossfire in a  crowded city. The shelling and the fires it caused left parts of inner  city Dublin in ruins.


From Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Rising




Learn More

This site gives you access to many websites dealing with the 1916 Rising in Ireland. Including histories of the organizations and participants. 


Many pay tribute to our heroes of 1916.

Find out more

Links for Irish Sites

Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein Political Party. Only Irish Party in both the north and the Republic.



https://www.sinnfein.ie/


Welcome Ireland

Ireland Tourist Site. Plan your trip to  beautiful fun Ireland. 


https://www.ireland.com/en-us/

West Belfast tourism

Visit West Belfast site. Great place to see and absorb Irish Culture


http://www.visitwestbelfast.com/

Irish Language

Introduction to the Irish Language.One of the Official Languages of Ireland


http://www.ibiblio.org/gaelic/

Irish Sports

Information on the Official Irish sports. Irish Football, Hurling and more.


http://www.gaa.ie/

Ceolas

Irish Music Dance and Performances in Ireland. also links to IrishNet Irish-American general interest site.


http://www.ceolas.org/ceolas.html


Links for Irish Sites

Pat Finucane Center

 The PFC is a non-party political, anti-sectarian human rights group  advocating a non-violent resolution of the conflict on the island of  Ireland. Offices in the 6 Counties and in the Republic.


 http://www.patfinucanecentre.org/


Coiste na n-Iarchimí Belfast Tours


Your Coiste Irish Political Tour Guides will be former political  prisoners from the republican community, who will weave their personal  account of the British/Irish conflict into the wider history of this  centuries old conflict. We welcome everyone onto our tours and we invite  all our visitors to partake in a complimentary glass of “The Black  stuff” (Guinness) at the end of our daily walking tour.

Ballad of Joe McDonnell by the Wolfe Tones

Remembering the brave hunger strikers of 1981

Long Kesh Prison Hunger Strike 1981

A seminal event in Irish Poiltics


 

Republican hunger strikes in the Long Kesh prison


In May 1972, Provisional IRA prisoners in Crumlin Road Jail,  Northern Ireland, started a hunger strike for the right to be treated as  'prisoners of war'. At the time, the British government of Conservative  Prime Minister Edward Heath was in ceasefire talks with the Provisional  IRA. Northern Ireland secretary William Whitelaw acceded to the  prisoners' demands, conferring 'special category' status on those  convicted of terrorism-related offences.

In 1976, the new Labour government ended Special Category Status amid  concerns that it was undermining prison discipline. Anyone convicted of  terrorism-related offences after 1 March that year would be treated as  an ordinary criminal. They would be imprisoned in the new, purpose-built  'H-Blocks' of the Maze prison and would have to wear prison uniform and  do prison work.

HM Prison Maze was built on the disused Long Kesh RAF base,  south-west of Belfast. Paramilitary prisoners had been held in 'long  huts' there during 'internment' (imprisonment without trial) from 1971  to 1975. The new, distinctively-shaped 'H-Blocks' were to become the  centre of protest over 'special category' status.

Protests began in September 1976 when Kieran Nugent, a Provisional  IRA member, entered the Maze and refused to wear prison clothes. He was  not provided with an alternative so dressed in a blanket, starting what  became known as the 'blanket protest'. By Christmas, there were more  than forty so-called 'blanketmen'.

In 1978, republican prisoners began a 'no-wash' or 'dirty' protest  after disagreements with prison authorities over sanitary facilities and  accusations of brutality. The situation escalated, with prisoners  smashing their furniture, refusing to wash or to leave their cells and  ultimately smearing cell walls with their own excrement.

When a hunger strike was proposed, the external leadership of the  Provisional IRA was opposed, fearing it would divert attention away from  its campaign of violence. With republican prisoners determined to act,  the Provisional IRA leadership gave way. 

Prisoners in the first hunger strike made five demands: the right to  wear their own clothes; the right not to do prison work; the right to  freedom of association; the right to organise their own leisure  activities; and the right to restoration of lost remission (reduction of  sentence).

The seven hunger strikers called off their strike 53 days later,  mistakenly believing their demands had been met by the British  government, by now a Conservative one led by Margaret Thatcher.

When it became clear their demands hadn't been met, a second hunger  strike was organised, beginning on 1 March 1981. It was led by Bobby  Sands, leader of the Provisional IRA prisoners in the Maze. Sands made  the strategic decision to organise the new strike with a staggered  start. A new prisoner would join each week, thereby creating sustained  pressure on the British government. The dirty protest was called off so  attention could be focused on the second hunger strike.

Four days after the strike began, the MP for Fermanagh-South Tyrone  died suddenly. Sinn Fein, a republican political party associated with  the Provisional IRA, nominated Sands for the vacant seat. On 9 April, he  was elected. Sands' new status as an MP created huge media interest,  but the British government made no concessions and Sands died on 5 May  1981, 66 days after he first refused food.

Within two weeks of Sands' funeral, three more strikers had died:  Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O'Hara. The position of the  British government remained unchanged.

In June, negotiations with the hunger strikers began when the Irish  Commission for Justice and Peace approached the British government's  Northern Ireland Office with a series of proposals. At the same time,  parallel discussions were being held between the British Foreign Office  and the external leadership of the Provisional IRA. By the end of July,  the British government had made concessions on everything except freedom  of association, but there was still no agreement and two more hunger  strikers, Joe McDonnell and Martin Hurson, had now died.

With further concessions unlikely, many prisoners' families, local  Catholic clergy and the external leadership of the Provisional IRA  supported an end to the protest. On 31 July 1981, Paddy Quinn's family  took him off the strike, but this was followed by the deaths of three  more prisoners - Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty and Thomas McElwee. On 20  August, Michael Devine died. On the same day, the wife of another  striker, Pat McGeown, agreed to him receiving medical attention. On 3 October 1981, the remaining hunger strikers ended their protest.

The new Northern Ireland secretary, James Prior, welcomed the  prisoners' decision. Three days later he announced that prisoners in the  Maze could wear their own clothes. Other privileges were restored and  over time the hunger strikers' demands were substantially met, but the  British government never made formal recognition of the prisoners' right  to political status.

During the 217 days of the protest, ten strikers died; seven from the  Provisional IRA and three from the Irish National Liberation Army  (INLA). Outside the prison, the death toll was considerably worse, with  61 people killed in sectarian violence during the seven months of the  strike.

Even though not all the demands were met, the it had attracted massive attention to their cause and led directly to  the rebirth of Sinn Fein as a political movement. When Bobby Sands'  parliamentary seat was held with an increased majority by his election  agent, Owen Carron, it did much to convince key republicans that they  should re-enter the political process, using a twin strategy of the  "Armalite [a type of gun] and the ballot box" to achieve their aims.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_Irish_hunger_strike


https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/why-h-block-hunger-strikers-were-not-force-fed-1.2706786