To mark the 50th Anniversary of the "Easter Rising," the people of Dublin created a beautiful "Garden of Remembrance." The garden - "dedicated to all those who gave their lives in the fight for Ireland's freedom" - is highlighted by this statue called the "Children of Lir." Photo by "Domer 48 at en.wikipedia." License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Irish Home Rule became the law in September of 1914 - a month after the start of World War One - although it could not be implemented because of the war. As regiments of the Irish Volunteers served in the British Army, including at Gallipoli and inside the infamous trenches of the Western Front in France, Irish nationalism burned ever brighter at home.
Activists asked, rhetorically and otherwise: If Ireland could take its place fighting alongside other nations in war, didn’t it deserve to run its own government?
On Easter Monday of 1916 - in the middle of World War One - about eighteen hundred members of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army seized government buildings in Dublin. On April 24 - with the post office as their headquarters and a flag hoisted by Eamon Bulfin signifying their intent - Patrick Pearse proclaimed that Ireland was now a Republic.
The 1916 “Proclamation of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic” expressed the rebels’ desire:
...We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland... We hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State.
Five days later, after British troops quashed the Easter Rising, Dublin residents heckled the rebels as they were led away. Perhaps Britain should have realized that not all Irish people outside Ulster agreed with the 1,000 Irish Volunteers. Instead ... the British government executed fifteen rebel leaders during May, fanning the flames of nationalism. (A sixteenth leader, Roger Casement, was hanged in London during August.)
One month later, the leader of the Ulster Unionist Council - Sir Edward Carson - accepted an offer from David Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister. The six northeastern counties of Ulster would be exempted from Irish Home Rule. Were that to really happen, Ireland would be split in two.
The stage was now set for civil war.