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Date: 10.02.2018

The Noble Sacrifice (1916)

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James Connolly is depicted lying injured on the stretcher. It became known as the Easter Rising. The Easter Rising in Dublin stubbornly troubles the present.

Prompting strong feelings, it has been categorised wildly as dismal failure and tragic folly, daring adventure and noble sacrifice, while its participants have been classified as everything from dangerous lunatics to national martyrs. With the passage of time, the Rising obstinately refuses to diminish but shines through as a most extraordinary, challenging event; its scale and significance weirdly out of kilter with its actual size. Many of its intimations are still unrealised.

Unlike most of the other 20th-century moves out of empire and into nationhood, it did not occur at the end but in the very midst of the cataclysm of World War One. This was the first open revolt by workers against the carnage of inter-imperial conflict, showing they could strive for social and economic advance rather than being dragged into the great slaughter-house of capitalist competition. The sacrifices of the Rising proved of long-term benefit to Ireland, whereas 49, Irishmen many from nationalist backgrounds died in the futility of the Great War fighting for the British Empire.

Occupations On Easter Monday , intent on starting a rebellion against British rule in Ireland, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army gathered at prearranged meeting places and occupied a number of strategic buildings in the inner city area of Dublin around the General Post Office GPO that commanded the main routes into the capital and enjoyed a strategic position in relation to the major British military barracks.

Taking the British military by surprise, the properties were taken virtually without resistance. The rebels set about making them defensible. A proclamation was read to the public on Easter Monday by Patrick Pearse the president of the provisional government of the Irish Republic. Accompanied by an armed guard, he stood on the steps of the GPO and read the statement to a sparse crowd that offered a few perfunctory cheers.

The proclamation had been secretly printed before the uprising. All seven members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood military council had approved it on 17 April and later signed it.

1916 - Connolly, blood sacrifice and defeating British imperialism - Indymedia Ireland

In doing so, they were virtually guaranteeing that they would face the firing squad should the insurrection fail. History The proclamation declared that an independent Irish Republic had been established and a provisional government had been appointed, with the seven members of the Council, to temporarily administer its affairs. The Rising was linked to Irish history: The Rising was not seen as a sudden, opportunist outbreak but part of a long-established nationalist tradition with a republican flavour: Vision The proclamation suggested that the Rising was not just a political event but also foreshadowed social and economic change, providing a vision of a free Irish state which would oversee the welfare of all its citizens.

There was also a commitment to introduce universal suffrage , a phenomenon limited at the time to only a handful of countries, not including Britain. The revolutionaries hoisted the new flag of the republic, a green white and orange tricolour, from the flagpole of the occupied buildings, instead of the British union flag.

Although the leaders of the uprising knew that they would probably lose and likely die as a result, it did not mean they were unprepared.

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James Connolly had published studies of the European insurrections of , and in the socialist press. The nationalist volunteers fought bravely. The Rising attempted to occupy key parts of Dublin but failed to take Dublin Castle the seat of British government , the train stations or the two docks. Though there were assemblies outside of Dublin, many dispersed in confusion though there was an attack on the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks at Ashbourne, County Meath and volunteers mobilised under Liam Mellows in County Galway.

The British military onslaught, which the rebels had anticipated, did not at first materialise. When the Rising began the British authorities had just troops in Dublin to confront roughly 1, insurgents, so they began to amass reinforcements. They gathered information on volunteer strength and locations and protected strategic positions, including the seat of government, Dublin Castle, which had initially been virtually undefended. Military casualties were highest at Mount Street Bridge.

There, newly arrived troops from Britain made tactically inept, frontal attacks on determined and disciplined volunteers occupying several strongly fortified outposts.

They lost men, dead or wounded while just 5 rebels died. British soldiers were alleged to have killed 15 unarmed men in North King Street during intense gun battles there on 28 and 29 April. The British authorities drafted reinforcements into the capital.

By Friday 28 April, the 1, rebels more had joined during the week were facing 18 to 20, soldiers. Artillery The GPO was entirely cut off from other rebel garrisons. Next day it came under a ferocious artillery attack which also devastated much of central Dublin.

Having learnt the lessons of Mount Street Bridge, the troops did not attempt a mass infantry attack. The new strategy compelled the insurgent leaders, based at the Post Office, first to evacuate the building and later to accept the only terms on offer — unconditional surrender.

In total, the Rising cost persons killed, 2, injured, and 9 missing, almost all in Dublin. The only significant action elsewhere was at Ashbourne, 10 miles north of Dublin.

Military casualties were dead, wounded and 9 missing, and the Irish and Dublin police forces had 16 killed and 29 wounded.

A total of civilians died.

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All seven signatories of the proclamation were executed by the British military on the charge of committing treason in warfare. James Connolly who had been wounded in the fighting was executed sitting down in a chair.

Though initially largely unsympathetic or indifferent to the Rising, Irish public opinion switched and became more sympathetic due to the manner of their treatment and the executions.

Eventually the executions were halted, though there were several thousand arrests. It transformed Irish nationalist politics and prompted the rebirth of the Irish nation. Though the Rising failed in military terms, the event and the Proclamation principles have influenced to varying degrees the thinking of later generations.

A terrible beauty is born. But within three years everything had changed and the Irish people turned their back on the British Empire. They elected a rebel parliament in the UK general election of December The British government made that assembly illegal in August , which led to the War of Independence against Britain from to and the eventual creation of the Irish Free State, though that came with the barnacle of reaction and partition holding back development.

There is a profound distaste among ruling elites for the message of the Rising. They have bundled together the First World War and the Easter Rising in the same commemorative centenary events, as if to assert that the pointlessness of one equates to the positivity of the other. The impact of the Easter Rising was felt not only in Ireland and Britain, but worldwide, inspiring among others Lenin and Ho Chi Minh as well as independence movements in India and Egypt.

There is a fear on the part of the Irish and British governments of other bouts of resurgent popular nationalism encompassing social advance. The sacrifice involved in the Easter Rising propelled Ireland a few steps on the road to freedom. However, the ideal of is not yet fulfilled. Partition remains, the EU remains to be broken. The Easter Rising still has meaning, in Ireland, Britain and beyond.