Monday, March 28, 2016

One Hundred Years Beyond the Rising

100 Easters past, the morning of Easter Monday 1916; with these words, read on the steps of the General Post Office...Padraig Pearse, proclaimed the free and independent Irish Republic:

...We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. 

The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. 
In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms.
Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State.  And we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations... 
... Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government, 
Thomas J, Clarke
Sean Mac Diarmada
Thomas MacDonagh
P.H. Pearse
Eamonn Ceannt
James Connolly
Joseph Plunkett
That day, elements of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Irish Volunteers, and the Irish Citizens Army, took control of various sites around Dublin.

They fought the forces of the British Army and Royal Irish Constabulary... 1,250 men, fighting 17,000... for five days, before being forced to surrender the following Saturday.

66 of the rebels were killed, to 143 of the British... but 260 men, women, and children were killed in the crossfire, most by British artillery and machine guns... Not intentional murder.. but rebellion is bloody business, and in the fog of war, innocent people die.

The day of the rising, the British declared martial law over all of Ireland... It would remain in force off and on for the next five years.

Within two weeks of the surrender, hundreds were imprisoned, and 16 of the republicans (including all of those who signed the proclamation) were executed by hanging, in Kilmainham Gaol...

... The same prison where the British had imprisoned and executed the leaders of the risings of 1798, 1803, 1848, and 1867...

The fighting would continue sporadically until 1919, when all Ireland entered into general civil war for two years; until 26 counties formed the Irish Free state under the Anglo-Irish treaty: December 6th, 1921... and adopted the Constitution of the Irish Free State one year later, December 6th 1922.

Ireland would not be truly free and independent... remaining as a dominion of the British Commonwealth... until December 29th, 1937, with the adoption of Irish Constitution.

Even then, Ireland still officially recognized dominion of the English crown as head of state, until Easter Monday 1949, when the Republic of Ireland was officially declared...

...33 years from the Easter Rising.