Now that Easter is over, it seems appropriate to remember the Easter Rising, or Éirí Amach na Cásca, which began 99 years ago in April 1916. So, what exactly was the Rising?
And why does it matter now?
Basically, way before this (around 1800) Ireland merged with England to form the UK, which meant that their parliament was now in London rather than in Dublin. The Irish people were essentially colonized and governed by officials far away, most of whom didn’t even speak their language. Not cool. So, fast forward to September 1914: part of the Irish Republican Brotherhood wants total independence from England. Having just declared war on Germany in August, England’s distracted with World War I. The Irish Volunteers thought it’d be a great time to plan and execute their rebellion.
The rebellion occurred mostly in Dublin, although they intended for it to happen across the nation. On Monday 24 April, Patrick Pearse (a leading Irish Volunteer), proclaimed independence for Ireland. But, the public showed little support, and the rebels were taken down soon after the British instituted martial law that Tuesday. Around 460 people were killed and 2200 were injured. Pearse surrendered on Saturday. Many of the leaders of the Rising were executed. And thousands of (actual and suspected) participants in the rebellion were arrested or imprisoned without trial.
This whole thing might sound like kind of a bust for the Irish rebels, but actually, the way Great Britain treated the Irish in the aftermath of the Easter Rising gave way to public outrage on the part of the Irish people. This outrage fueled support for movement toward an independent Ireland, which was finally realized on Easter Monday 18 April 1949.