by Ben O’Neill

        To Americans, the Easter Rising of 1916 in Ireland is not a big deal. We know very little or nothing about it and assume it was just another Irish rebellion and makes no difference in history, but to the Irish who were directly involved in it was a very big deal indeed.
        The Easter Rising of 1916 was a rebellion to try and stop a series of laws that the British were trying to force upon the Irish people referred to as the "Home Rule." To the Irish, the Easter Rising became as important a symbol as our "Boston Tea Party" was to us.

Leaders of the Easter Rising

        The rising began when a small group of men called the "Revelers," led by Patrick Pearse and James Connolly marched down O'Connell Street in Dublin with weapons over their shoulders and smiles on their faces shouting the the words "proud to be an Irish men" on their lips. They marched on the Dublin General Post Office and without much trouble, took control of it. The plan was to hold the Post Office as a protest the British laws and hopefully to start a much larger revolution against British rule. They expected to be joined by a much larger group of protesters soon.

The Citizen Army

        However, they soon discovered that something was terribly wrong. There was only about half the number of Revelers at the Post Office as there should have been. They had expected lots and lots of help. As it turned out, the British had posted a notice the day before saying that the demonstration had been called off and everyone should just go about their normal business. When the truth was discovered, it was too late for the word to be passed around that the protest rally was on and everyone should come as planned.
         This fact made it apparent that the rebellion was not planned very well. Also, you may be wondering how the rebels planned to get all their ammunition and arms to stand up to the British in the first place? It turns out that the leaders of the rebellion had an agreement with the German Reich and the Kaiser. The Germans offered to supply the arms and ammo in order to stir up trouble between Irish and the English. World War I was being fought at the time, and the Germany hoped that problems in Ireland would hurt the British war efforts.
        The Germans disguised a ship to bring ammo to the Irish as a Norwegian fishing boat named the "Helga."

The Ship Helga"

         They sailed a very unusual course to get to Ireland. They went all the way up to Greenland from Germany and then came down to Ireland from the north to escape suspicion of their mission and cargo. They encountered about 30 British warships before they finally reached the Dublin Port, but none had recognized them as an enemy ship. Unfortunately for the Germans, soon after they arrived they were finally recognized by the British Navy. Needless to say they were soon blown out of the water by a couple of British warships and that was the end of that.

The General Post Office

        The rebellion lasted a little bit over a week. The British solders surrounded the rebels, then James Connally was shot in the upper right thigh and the Post Office was shelled so the Revelers had to admit defeat. Patrick Pearse and James Connally surrendered and the leaders were led off to jail by British officials while the bystanders threw rocks at them.

The prisoners being led away

         The general feeling in Ireland was that the rebellion should not have happened and the people who were responsible were just fools. Then the British officials started executing the leaders including Connally and Pearse. When executing James Connolly, they tied him to a chair in front of a firing squad and then shot him sitting there because his earlier wounds did not allow him to stand up. But when the firing squad was done, Connolly was still alive, so a British officer ran up, pulled his gun from his holster, and shot Connolly in the head to finish the job. This brutality caused many more people of Southern Ireland to get mad at the British. The protest and demonstrations started by the Easter Rising continued until the British were forced to allow Southern Ireland to establish the Irish Free State in 1922, although Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom.
        Today, there is still lots of trouble in Northern Ireland being caused by Irish patriots. An Irish terrorist group called the IRA (Irish Republican Army) still continue to use violence to try and force the English to leave Northern Ireland.

Captured man

"Ireland's Easter Rising" @, 6/6/00

Picture Credits:

Picture #1 - "title" From:

Picture #2 - "Leaders of the Easter Rising" From:`~fianna/history/east1916.html

Picture #3 - "Irish Citizen Army" From:

Picture #4 - "The ship Helga" From:

Picture #5 - " The General Post Office" From:

Picture #6 - "Prisoners being led away" From:

Picture #7 - "Captured Man" From: