The Easter Rising took place during Easter week of 1916. It was the middle of the First World War and the British had told the Irish people that they would be given their independence when the war was over.
However, the war had been going on for longer than anyone expected and many Irish people were not convinced that the British would stick to their word.
At that point Ireland had been campaigning for home rule or independence for several decades but it still hadn’t happened.
In 1916, the British were heavily involved in the First World War and some Irish Nationalists felt that this was a great chance for the Irish to seize power for themselves rather than wait for it to be granted to them.
The Easter Rising rebels took control of the General Post Office on O’Connell Street, Dublin, as well as other key buildings in the city. They declared Ireland an independent republic.
At the time, public opinion in Ireland was divided. Many saw the rebels as heroes who were continuing the fight for independence. However, many others thought that they were doing more harm than good. The Irish had been promised independence when the war was over, and events like this could force the British to reconsider.
Resentment towards the British increased
However, in the aftermath of the Rising the British troops executed the leaders, a move that was seen as a brutal over-reaction. Anger and resentment increased considerably among the Irish public.
Many people who had been against the Rising on the basis that they didn’t see it as the best tactic in achieving independence, became angry with the British.
The British were seen to have acted totally out of proportion to the ‘crimes’ of the Easter Rising rebels. The British army’s actions strengthened the resolve and solidarity of the Irish people and was a key factor in the chain of events that led to the birth of the Republic of Ireland.
This section will show videos of a 10 part documentary by Irish TV company TG4. The videos include a mixture of Irish and English language, with English subtitles over the Irish spoken sections.
Take a look at part one.