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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.
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.
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.
"Ireland's Easter Rising" @ http://users.bigpond.com/kirwilli/1916/html, 6/6/00
Picture #1 - "title" From: http://www.free-eire.org/freeEire/easter/index.html
Picture #2 - "Leaders of the Easter Rising" From: http://www.rootsweb.com/`~fianna/history/east1916.html
Picture #3 - "Irish Citizen Army" From: http://users.bigpond.com/kirwilli/1916/html
Picture #4 - "The ship Helga" From: http://users.bigpond.com/kirwilli/1916/html
Picture #5 - " The General Post Office" From: http://users.bigpond.com/kirwilli/1916/html
Picture #6 - "Prisoners being led away" From: http://users.bigpond.com/kirwilli/1916/html
Picture #7 - "Captured Man" From: http://users.bigpond.com/kirwilli/1916/html
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