The halls of the Irish General Post Office in Dublin, An Post, were quiet at noon on April 24th, 1916. The day, Easter Monday, was a holiday in Ireland, leaving the gigantic Georgian building practically empty save perhaps for a few support staff who weren’t taking Easter Week off.
As such, there was no resistance as 400 armed men stormed past the An Post‘s pillars and burst through the front doors. The men, members of the armed Socialist trade union the Irish Citizen Army (ICA), raised two Irish Republican flags and began reading from the prepared pamphlets they had printed in secret – a proclamation of an Irish Republic.
Across Dublin, 1,200 Irish volunteers representing a cross-section of the various rebellious groups constituting the Irish Resistance spread out, occupying most of the significant buildings of the city. Despite ample intelligence forewarning of Irish intentions, the British were taken completely by surprise. For the next week, one of the hottest battlefields in the Great War would be in the heart of the Entente.
“Ireland is too great to be unconnected with us, and too near us to be dependent on a foreign state, and too little to be independent.” Future Prime Minister William Grenville to the Duke of Rutland, December 3, 1784
If one is to talk of the seeds of the Irish Easter Rising of 1916, there are no shortage of dates that can be chosen from which to start. Did it begin with the Norman Invasion of the 12th Century? The Tudor conquest in the 16th? The overthrow of the Catholic parliamentary majority in 1614? The Acts of Union of 1800, which ended semi-Irish independence as the country was politically absorbed into the British Parliament? Continue reading