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A Supreme Moment
A Supreme Moment for Ireland
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"A Supreme Moment for Ireland" [1]

The Easter Rising was scheduled to begin on Easter Sunday, April 23, 1916. [2]  Only a few days prior to the scheduled Rising, however, the British intercepted the shipment of German munitions Casement had arranged. [3]  This disaster caused Eoin MacNeill to call off the Easter Rising. [4]  Distressed, the other leaders of Irish nationalist groups met to discuss the situation and decided the Rising would still take place, but on Easter Monday instead of Sunday. [5]  Nevertheless, MacNeill’s cancellation damaged the rising from the start; while the leaders originally planned for the insurrection to take place throughout the country, it was instead primarily limited to Dublin after MacNeill’s interference. [6]


Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook, Easter, 1916: A Complete and Connected Narrative of the Rising, With Detailed Accounts …  Dublin: The Irish Times, 1917, 4b. [Internet Archive]


On April 24, the committed members of the various groups involved in the Rising calmly took over key points in the city of Dublin, including corner houses, from which snipers could fire upon the expected government resistance, Jacob’s Factory, Liberty Hall, Boland’s Mill, the College of Surgeons, Four Courts, and St. Stephen’s Green. [7]  The General Post Office was established as the Irish nationalists’ Headquarters, where they proudly flew the flags of the Irish Republic. [8]


Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook, Easter, 1916: A Complete and Connected Narrative of the Rising, With Detailed Accounts …  Dublin: The Irish Times, 1917. [Internet Archive]


Soon after the Rising began, Patrick Pearse declared the existence of the Irish nation by reading the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. [9]  Pearse, appointed as the President of the Irish Republic, was one of seven signers of the document. [10]  The other signers were Thomas J. Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, Eamonn Ceannt, James Connolly, and Joseph Plunkett. [11]


Pamphlet, "Ireland's Declaration of Independence Patrick H. Pearse The Martyred President of the Irish Republic," [1916]. [Digital Library]


Irish civilians in Dublin hardly realized the Rising was happening until Tuesday. [12]  By then, the British began to fire back on the Irish and they also established martial law in the city. [13]  Harsher measures were taken on Wednesday, when the British used the gunboat Helga to fire on the Irish strongholds. [14]  As if the damage to the city was not enough from the sniper fire, the gunboat, and British artillery, a raging fire also broke out in the city and became increasingly worse throughout the week. [15]


Murphy, T. W. “Ruins of the General Post Office,” Dublin after the Six Days' Insurrection: Thirty-One Pictures From the Camera of Mr. T. W. Murphy. Dublin: Mecredy, Percy and Co., Ltd., 1916, 1. [Digital Library]

Murphy, T. W. “Henry Street, Showing the North side of Post Office,” Dublin after the Six Days' Insurrection: Thirty-One Pictures From the Camera of Mr. T. W. Murphy. Dublin: Mecredy, Percy and Co., Ltd., 1916, 16. [Digital Library]

Murphy, T. W. “Eden’s Quay, Hopkin’s Corner,” Dublin after the Six Days' Insurrection: Thirty-One Pictures From the Camera of Mr. T. W. Murphy. Dublin: Mecredy, Percy and Co., Ltd., 1916, 19. [Digital Library]

Murphy, T. W. “Irish War News,” Dublin after the Six Days' Insurrection: Thirty-One Pictures From the Camera of Mr. T. W. Murphy. Dublin: Mecredy, Percy and Co., Ltd., 1916, 30. [Digital Library]


As the British caused more and more destruction and the Irish began to lose their grip on the city, surrender appeared to be the only option. [16]  Pearse issued a surrender statement on Saturday, April 29, in order to protect the civilian population of Dublin. [17]


 Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook, Easter, 1916: A Complete and Connected Narrative of the Rising, With Detailed Accounts …  Dublin: The Irish Times, 1917, p. 4. [Internet Archive]

“Fiercest Battle Fought in Ireland Ends in Temporary Defeat.” The Gaelic American - Vol. XIII No. 19, May 6, 1916, Whole Number 660. New York [N.Y.]: Gaelic American Pub. Co, 1916, 1. [Digital Library]



References

1. F. X. Martin, The Howth Gun-Running and the Kilcoole Gun-Running, 1914 (Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1964), 191.

2. Brian Ó Huiginn, The Soldier’s Story of Easter Week ([Dublin]: Brian O’Higgins, “Stormanstown,” Glasnevin, Dublin, 1925), 16-17.

3. Karl Spindler, The Mystery of the Casement Ship: With Authentic Documents (Berlin: Kribe-Verlag, 1931), 68-73, 99-155; Charles A Collum, “Who Betrayed the Irish People?” The Fatherland 4, no. 14. (New York: International Monthly Inc., 1916), http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:147422

4. Charles Townshend, Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion (Lanham, MD: Ivan R. Dee, 2006), 136; “Report of the Royal Commission,” in Padraic Colum, et al., The Irish Rebellion of 1916 and its Martyrs: Erin’s Tragic Easter (New York: The Devin-Adair Company, 1916), 201.

5. Townshend, Easter 1916, 138-139.

6. Ruan O’Donnell, America and the 1916 Rising (New York: Friends of Sinn Fein, Inc., 2015), 42; Maurice Joy, “General Narrative of the Rebellion,” in Colum, et al., The Irish Rebellion of 1916 and its Martyrs, 88-89. 

7. Joy, “General Narrative of the Rebellion,” in Colum, et al., The Irish Rebellion of 1916 and its Martyrs, 89-95.

8. 1916 Rebellion Handbook (Dublin: The Mourne River Press, 1998), 4; Fearghal Mcgarry, The Rising: Ireland: Easter 1916 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 133.

9. Mark McCarthy, Ireland’s 1916 Rising: Explorations of History-Making, Commemoration & Heritage in Modern Times (Surrey, England: Ashgate, 2012), 54; John F. Boyle, The Irish Rebellion of 1916: A Brief History of the Revolt and Its Suppression (London: Constable and Company Limited, 1916), 55.

10. McCarthy, Ireland’s 1916 Rising, 54; Boyle, The Irish Rebellion of 1916, 55.

11. McCarthy, Ireland’s 1916 Rising, 54.

12. Boyle, The Irish Rebellion of 1916, 30.

13. Joy, “General Narrative of the Rebellion,” in Colum, et al., The Irish Rebellion of 1916 and its Martyrs, 94-97.

14. Boyle, The Irish Rebellion of 1916, 72; Joy, “General Narrative of the Rebellion,” in Colum, et al., The Irish Rebellion of 1916 and its Martyrs, 101.

15. Joy, “General Narrative of the Rebellion,” in Colum, et al., The Irish Rebellion of 1916 and its Martyrs, 102-103.

16. Louis G. Redmond-Howard, Six Days of the Irish Republic: A Narrative and Critical Account of the Latest Phase of Irish Politics (Boston: John W. Luce & Company, 1916), 30, 33-34, 36; Brian Ó Huiginn, The Soldier’s Story of Easter Week ([Dublin]: Brian O’Higgins, “Stormanstown,” Glasnevin, Dublin, 1925), 45-46.

17. “Collapse of the Rebellion; Unconditional Surrender,” in 1916 Rebellion Handbook (Dublin: The Mourne River Press, 1998), 7.


Colum, Padraic, Maurice Joy, James Reidy, Sidney Gifford, Rev. T. Gavan Duffy, Mary M. Collum, Mary J. Ryan, and Seumas O’Brien. Edited by Maurice Joy. The Irish Rebellion of 1916 and its Martyrs: Erin’s Tragic Easter. New York: The Devin-Adair Company, 1916. [Internet Archive]