1916 Easter Rising Essays
During the long day of the southern arms landing, British soldiers shot dead several Dubliners.
It looked as if (to use Shaw’s trope for Anglo-Irish relations) John Bull would be preoccupied for quite some time with his “other island.” Writing about the July crisis, Townshend makes an arresting statement: Beyond doubt, this had been noticed in Berlin as well, where it must have encouraged the German General Staff in the course it had already adopted, of forcing a showdown with the Entente powers.
By the time the troops opened fire in Bachelors Walk, the German army was assembling on the Belgium frontier.
The Irish Question was adjourned by the conflagration on the Continent; the guns of August sounded in Alsace and Lorraine, not Fermanagh and Tyrone.
But the continuity between Flanders and the General Post Office was conspicuous.
As the great short story writer Frank O’Connor recalled in his memoir , “The daily papers showed Dublin as they showed Belgian cities destroyed by the Germans, as smoking ruins inhabited by men with rifles and machine guns.”[i] Of course, in this instance it was British artillery that had done most of the destroying.
One set is embedded in the sidewalks and commemorates a fictitious event: Leopold Bloom’s lunchtime stroll on the 16th of June 1904.
The other is attached to the walls of buildings associated with a historical event, one that took place over six days some 12 years later: the 1916 Easter Rising, or, as the plaques call it — using the Republic of Ireland’s “first official” language and underscoring the passionate attachment of rebel leaders such as Patrick Pearse to Gaelic culture — .
But the Rising, as we will see, had a forceful aesthetic dimension.Britain never introduced conscription in Ireland, though the threat of such a move hovered throughout the war years.The alarm caused by the last German offensive, in the spring of 1918, came close to making the menace a reality, but this proved to be a blundering provocation of Irish opinion on a par with the execution of the leaders of the Rising in May 1916.Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!But in running these guns, the IV was playing catch-up to its northern counterpart, the Ulster Volunteer Force, which had been formed by Unionists in order to resist Home Rule; the UVF had brought in a much larger cache of German arms earlier in the year.In the summer of 1914, Ireland was on the verge of civil war, with sparks flying perilously close to the powder keg.The Germans never fired a shot in Ireland, but their weapons did.The core of the Irish Volunteers’ relatively modest arsenal was the shipment of Mauser rifles that had been landed near Dublin in late July 1914.The rebels knew that after enjoying the element of surprise they would almost certainly be met with an overwhelming British military response. That the British were initially caught off guard is understandable (indeed it was part of the rationale for the Rising): they were engaged at the time in a much bigger fight on their “eastern front”: in Belgium and France.In fact, it’s not possible to understand the Easter Rising without frequent reference to the Great War. In , Charles Townshend’s compelling account of the insurrection, there is an aside that is emblematic of this relationship between the Rising and the European war.