The Irish Easter Rebellion 1916 Essay

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The 1916 Irish Easter Uprising

Ever since the occupation of Ireland by the English began in 1169, Irish patriots have fought back against British rule, and the many Irish rebellions and civil wars had always been defeated. To quash further rebellion, the Act of Union was imposed in 1800, tying Ireland to the United Kingdom of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Laws discriminating against Catholics and the handling of the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-50 led to increased tension and the proposal of introducing Home Rule gained support.

In 1913 there was a general strike of workers in Dublin led by James Connolly of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (I.T.G.W.U.). This action was followed by the 1913 Lock-Out during which
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…they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.

It was a call for a blood sacrifice in order to free Ireland from British rule. In organising an uprising, the funeral was proof that the Volunteers could organise when secretly directed by the I.R.B. and on St. Patrick’s Day (17th March), Connolly took his Citizen Army on a tour of key Dublin sites which could be used as strategic strongholds during an uprising.

However, there were many difficulties in organising and executing such a rebellion and one thing the rebels needed were weapons. Sir Roger Casement had organised for a shipment of as many as 200,000 rifles to be smuggled into Ireland on a “neutral” German freighter, the Aud. But when Casement arrived in Ireland on a German submarine he was arrested immediately and the freighter was intercepted by the Royal Navy and scuttled itself. Another attempt was made to gain large quantities of arms and ammunition during the actual uprising from the arsenal at Phoenix Park known as Magazine Fort. However this was not very successful and the rebels seized only a few rifles.

Throughout the organisation of the rebellion, Eoin MacNeill, leader of the minority Volunteers had to be kept in the dark about the I.R.B.’s plans because he believed that his Irish Volunteers should only rise in arms if a British
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