For much of its' history, Ireland was not an independent State with it's own governing body. England held dominion over Ireland from the late 12th century until the middle 20th century with the Irish people having the status of a subject class in their own country.
Over the centuries there were unsuccessful rebellions that served only to strengthen England's hold over Ireland. Following the Rebellion of 1798, the Act of Union was passed in 1800 which ended the Irish Parliament in Dublin. Ireland was formally merged with England as part of the United Kingdom. Following this, groups of Irish nationalists formed to oppose British rule. Moderate nationalists advocated home rule, under which Ireland would remain part of the United Kingdom but also have some form of self-government. A minority group of nationalists wanted an independent Republic, free of British rule.
Several home rule bills were defeated in Parliament in the late 1800s before one finally passed in 1914. However, implementation of home rule was suspended due to the outbreak of World War I. This failure to enact combined with Britain's involvement in WWI opened the door for the planning of the Easter Rising in 1916.
The Rising was organized by seven members of the Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. It integrated Cumann na mBan, along with the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army, into the ‘Army of the Irish Republic’. Patrick Pearse was appointed overall Commandant-General and James Connolly as Commandant-General of the Dublin Division.
At noon on Easter Monday 1916, Dubliners saw columns of Irish Volunteers and ICA members marching through their city. Carrying antiquated guns or even pikes and pickaxes. Wearing colorful and flamboyant uniforms - or civilian clothes. And a number of the motley crew assembled in front of Dublin's General Post Office, listening to Patrick Pearse proclaim the "Irish Republic" by the reading of the Proclamation and declaring the existence of a Provisional Government of the Irish Republic. A new flag of the Irish Republic was then hoisted.
The GPO was elevated to headquarters, manned under the leadership of Pearse, Connolly, the terminally ill Joseph Plunkett, the doubting The O'Rahilly, Tom Clark, Sean MacDermott and an virtually unknown but enthusiastic ADC named Michael Collins.
Other parts of the city were occupied by separate rebel detachments - Boland's Mill was claimed by Eamon de Valera for the Irish Republic, Michael Mallin and Countess Markiewicz occupied the park in St. Stephen's Green, Eamonn Ceant housing estates in South-Western Dublin, Eamonn Daley the Four Courts.
After 6 days of fighting, the Rising was suppressed, it's leaders arrested, court-martialed and executed. At the end of the fighting the death toll was as follows: 64 insurgents, 132 soldiers and police and 220 civilians. And about 1,000 people were wounded.
It seemed as if the rebellion had been a failure. On the surface it was. But more critically it changed the minds of the majority of Irish nationalists. No longer would they settle for Home Rule, they now wanted a free Republic of Ireland and this changed the course of history. Furthermore, there was no more room for apathy in Ireland.
With the courage and the sacrifice of those who continued to fight for her freedom, Ireland become a Free State in 1922 and obtained it's full sovereignty in 1949 as the Republic of Ireland.
I will be in later this afternoon as I am going to have Easter with The Hubby's family. Everyone have a good Easter Sunday.