Recent 1916 remembrance song from Michael Flatley.
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.
This link 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.
Sinn Fein Political Party. Only Irish Party in both the north and the Republic.
Ireland Tourist Site. Plan your trip to beautiful fun Ireland.
Visit West Belfast site. Great place to see and absorb Irish Culture
Introduction to the Irish Language.One of the Official Languages of Ireland
Information on the Official Irish sports. Irish Football, Hurling and more.
Irish Music Dance and Performances in Ireland. also links to IrishNet Irish-American general interest site.
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.
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.
Remembering the brave hunger strikers of 1981
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.