Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dublin Day 3

I am feeling a bit frustrated with my technology here as I already wrote this blog post, but it got deleted in the internet black hole.  So, I will try again, but perhaps shorter.

I was looking forward to today's history lesson which focused on the Irish fight for independence, referred to as the Easter Rebellion of 1916.  This was touched upon during previous historical walking tours, but I wanted more.  What follows is my (hopefully) succinct version of that history.  As most people are aware, Ireland was under British rule from the early 1500's with several failed attempts at independence over the years.  In fact, there was a brief period where Ireland had its own Parliament around 1800.  But that did not last & England was determined to keep the Emerald a Island as part of its troika of England, Scotland & Ireland (I guess Wales did not make the cut) which was the center of British rule (remember that it had a vast number of colonies around the world at this time.). However, since Ireland was about 80% Catholic and was held under the thumb of Protestant England, the desire for home rule continued to grow.  Like many independence movements, there were two separate branches of thought about how to bring about independence from the British.  The more conservative side favored working within the existing system by winning seats in the British parliament; the more radical side believed that England would not relinquish its rule without a fight.

In the middle of the First World War, Britain looked to be otherwise occupied with more imminent problems and so the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) thought that they had found the right time to  lead the fight for sovereignty.  Furthermore, Germany made the commitment to provide the rebels with arms (although I am sure they had their own agenda), and it looked like the time had arrived to struggle for independence.

Unfortunately, a series of events conspired to defeat this dream.  In particular, the men who were to meet the German boats off the coast of Kerry were unfamiliar with the area, became lost, drove off a pier which they confused with a road, and drowned.  So the planned uprising had insufficient arms and only about 2000 soldiers (which actually included a number of women, two of which were in positions of leadership.)

But the country had been awaiting this rebellion so the IRB decided to go forward since they had already published their own "Declaration of Independence," and they expected to be punished by the British one way or the other.

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