1916 Historical Background

gpo-photosThe Easter Rising was an armed insurrection in Ireland, which took place during Easter Week 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish Republicans with the objective to end British rule in Ireland, and establish an independent Irish Republic. It was the most significant uprising in Ireland since the rebellion of 1798.

The Rising began on Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, and lasted for six days. Members of the Irish Volunteers – led by schoolmaster and Irish language activist Patrick Pearse, seized key locations in Dublin, including the iconic General Post Office (The GPO) located in Sackville Street, Dublin 1, now known as O’Connell Street. Pearse stood outside The GPO and read out the Proclamation of Independence which proclaimed the Irish Republic independent of the United Kingdom.

With vastly superior numbers and artillery, the British army quickly suppressed the Rising, and Pearse, exiting the completely destroyed GPO, agreed to an unconditional surrender on Saturday 29 April. Following Court Martials, Pearse and most of the leaders were executed at nearby Kilmainham Gaol (Jail).

The Easter Rising stands enshrined in Irish History as a pivotal time which laid the foundations for Irish Freedom. By 1922 Ireland was declared a Free State and in 1937 Ireland became a stand-alone Republic.