Battles involving England - Easter Rising

The Easter Proclamation of 1916     -     Song about joining the IRA

Occupation of Dublin General Post Office (location)

The Easter Rising was organised by the Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. They seized key locations in Dublin including the General Post Office and proclaimed the Irish Republic independent of Britain. There were some actions in other parts of Ireland but, except for the attack on the RIC barracks at Ashbourne, County Meath, they were minor.

The Proclamation of the Republic was printed in secret before the rising, and read by Patrick Pearse outside the General Post Office (GPO) on Sackville Street (now called O'Connell Street), Dublin's main thoroughfare. This marked the beginning of the Rising.

The Rising was suppressed after seven days of fighting. Its leaders, including all seven signatories of the proclamation, were executed by the British military for having committed treason in wartime (i.e., the First World War). British political leaders regarded the executions initially as unwise, later as a catastrophe, with the British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith and later prime minister David Lloyd George stating that they regretted allowing the British military to treat the matter as a matter of military law in wartime, rather than insisting that the leaders were treated under civilian criminal law. Though initially deeply unsympathetic to the Rising (the leading Irish nationalist newspaper, the Irish Independent called for their execution), Irish public opinion switched and became more sympathetic due to manner of their treatment and executions. Eventually Asquith's government ordered a halt to the executions and insisted that those not already executed be dealt with through civilian, not military, law. By that stage all the signatories and a number of others had been executed.

The Irish Free State was established in 1922, recognised by Britain. Northern Ireland exercised its right to opt out of the new state. There continued to be trouble between Irish nationalists and Unionists in Northern Ireland throughout the twentieth century.

The General Post Office, Dublin, in 1916
The General Post Office, Dublin, in 1916

The Easter Proclamation of 1916






IRISHMAN AND IRISHWOMEN In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to the flag and strikes for her freedom.

Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal herself, she now seizes the moment, and, supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of vistory.

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, not can it be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty, six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the livfes of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by coweardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government,

Off To Dublin In The Green

Song about joining the IRA

And we're all off to Dublin in the green, in the green
Where the helmets glisten in the sun
Where the bayonets flash and the rifles crash
To the rattle of a Thompson gun.

Oh I am a merry ploughboy and I ploughed the fields all day
Till a sudden thought came to my head that I should roam away
For I'm sick and tired of slavery since the day that I was born
And I'm off to join the IRA, and I'm off tomorrow morn.

I'll leave aside my pick and spade, I'll leave aside my plough,
I'll leave aside my horse and yoke, I no longer need them now.
And I'll leave aside my Mary, she's the girl that I adore
And I wonder if she'll think of me when she hears the rifles roar.

And when the war is over and dear old Ireland is free,
I'll take her to the church to wed, and a rebel's wife she'll be.
Well, some men fight for silver and some men fight for gold
But the IRA are fighting for the land that the Saxons stole.

A correspondent has told me "This song is not connected with the Easter Rising; it is connected with the Irish Civil War (June 1922 - May 1923), when the IRA fought the Irish Free State government, after independence.The proof of this is in the lyrics, '...To the rattle of a Thompson gun'. The Thompson submachinegun did not go into production till 1921. It was used during the Civil War but had not even been conceived during the Easter Rising. The song also refers to the IRA, which did not exist till late 1919-early 1920, well after the Easter Rising.

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