Imagining the 1916 Rebellion
Imaging the 1916 Rebellion. This dramatic picture, taken in October 2015 from the top of the GPO by Kieran Slyne, could have been taken, except for a couple of small details, in April 1916 as the rebellion began. Mercury stands as he had since the building was completed in 1818, a symbol of trust in the new postal service based in the building. Its construction was the last great project in the Georgian era building boom in the city, the period that gave Dublin its great Squares. The GPO (General Post Office) was designed by Francis Johnston.
The shot suggests something momentous might be happening – or have happened. Could the cloud be smoke from a blaze in another part of the city as the rising proceeded that week? This was of course the headquarters of the 1916 Rebellion, the building from where the Proclamation was declared.
The Easter Rising, known as Éirí Amach na Cásca, or the Easter Rebellion, was an armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising’s leaders believed that a violent attempt at seizing power was the only means to end British rule in Ireland. Britain was heavily engaged in World War I. Many Irishmen were involved in that war as members of the British army. 1916 was the most significant uprising in Ireland since the rebellion of 1798.
Organised by seven members of the Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Rising began on the 24 April 1916, and lasted for six days. Members of the Irish Volunteers — led by a schoolmaster, poet and Irish language activist Padraic Pearse, were joined by the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly, along with 200 members of Cumann na mBan, a women militia — seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed an Irish Republic.
Now, one hundred years later, we are collectively examining the legacy of Easter Week. Is it a commemoration or a celebration?
See the plans for the one hundredth anniversary commemoration: http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie