3rd Year: Irish Independence: The Easter 1916 Rising

A drawing of Pearse reading the Proclamation outside the GPO.
Remember, pictures can have the same problems as other sources.
Main Page: The Struggle for Independence

By 1916, nationalist groups such as the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) were unsatisfied with the slow progress of the Home Rule movement, and instead wanted an independent Irish republic. In that year, the IRB Military Council planned uprisings - similar to what Wolfe Tone had planned over a hundred years earlier - to defeat British rule in Ireland.

Guns were smuggled in to Ireland from Germany, and the IRB tried to recruit Eoin MacNeill's Irish Volunteers to help them. Plans started to go wrong when the gun-running ship, the Aud, sunk at Cork harbour and MacNeill learned that the IRB had tricked him into thinking the British were planning to clamp down on the Volunteers. Because of this, many of the planned risings had to be cancelled. Only one would go ahead, in Dublin.

During Easter week, 1916, IRB men and some Volunteers took over the GPO, the Four Courts, Jacobs' Factory and Boland's Mill, all in Dublin city. One of the Rising's leaders, Pádraig Pearse, proclaimed the Irish Republic. Although the Rising was defeated by the British after a few days, it (and the execution of its leaders) helped to turn the Irish people away from Home Rule and towards the idea of full independence.

Everything had changed, so what was going to happen next?

Continue to the War of Independence, Anglo-Irish Treaty & Civil War




  • Who was involved in the Rising?
  • Why was there a Rising?
  • What was the plan? (Casement and the guns, MacNeill and the Castle Document)
  • Where did the Rising take place?
  • How did the British respond?
  • What was the aftermath of the Rising? (martial law, executions)
  • What did Sinn Féin do?
  • What happened in the 1918 general election?





Click here for exam questions you can be asked about this topic. (Higher and Ordinary)





The Rising is commemorated outside the GPO every year.
Photo from thejournal.ie
Watch out for bias, prejudice and propaganda!

Proclamation of the Irish Republic (primary source)
A hi-res image of the proclamation of the republic read by Pádraig Pearse. Although many copies were printed, only a small few remain today. They are either on display in museums (one is in Leinster House) or in private collections.

The Irish Times: 1916 Rising
The Irish Times created a commemorative site on the 1916 Rising for its 90th anniversary in 2006. It has day-by-day accounts of the Rising, write-ups about its legacy and effects, and a piece on how the Irish Times in 1916 covered the events as they were happening.

BBC History: 1916 Rising
BBC History also has a page all about the Rising, with profiles of the leaders, photo galleries featuring a lot of Home Rule propaganda posters, written and audio witness accounts by people who were either a part of it or were in Dublin while it happened, an archive of different newspaper reports, and a reflection by former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald, whose parents were in the GPO.

National Library of Ireland: 1916 Rising
The NLI has a special feature on the Rising which goes into great detail about it. It's full of primary sources, which you can click on and make bigger and easier to read. The main text on the site might be too small for, so hold down Ctrl and + to make it bigger. 

1916 Rebellion Walking Tour
The walking tour operates in Dublin. Their website has information about it, as well as plenty of information on the background of the Rising itself.  

List of participants in the 1916 Rising
This is simply a list of the people involved in the 1916 Rising, in each of the buildings that were occupied. You can find a few names that will become important later, such as Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, W. T. Cosgrave and Sean Lemass.

The 1918 General Election
Here is a map showing how well Sinn Féin did in the 1918 general election, with some information on the election itself and the impact of it.