1916 Easter Rising Essays
Yeats “worked on [his poem “Easter, 1916”] through the [subsequent] summer at [his muse Maud Gonne’s] house on the Normandy coast (where, from time to time, ) [italics mine].” On that battlefield Irishmen of both Nationalist and Unionist persuasions were dying.
In its ranks, in the course of the war, would be more than 200,000 Irishmen; some 35,000 of them were killed.
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.
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.