The 1916 Rising
As World War I dragged on much longer than expected, Home Rule seemed a distant hope.
The unionist had strengthened their political position, and by 1914 the UVF was openly
resisting the Government’s plans to introduce Home Rule. On October 25th, 1914 the
members of the Irish Volunteers who refused to support the British war effort held a
convention, at which they outlined their policies:
● To maintain the defence of the Irish nation by means of a trained and armed military
● To unite the people of Ireland and resist all attempts at partition.
● To set about ending the system of government in Ireland, at present under rule from
● To resist the enlistment of Irish men into the British Army.
MacNeill was head of the Irish Volunteers. Bulmer Hobson, the O’Rahilly, Joseph Plunkett,
Patrick Pearse and Thomas MacDonagh completed the Volunteer leadership. The IRB was
really in control of the Volunteers. Plunkett, Pearse and MacDonagh were IRB men and took
orders from Thomas Clarke and the IRB Supreme Council. Two chains of command now
operated within the Volunteers with MacNeill closely linked to the non-IRB members and
largely unaware of the rising.
Patrick Pearse was born in Dublin on the 10th of November, 1979. He was educated
at the Christian Brothers School. Pearse’s early nationalism was more cultural than political
or militant. After 1910, Pearse began to speak at Home Rule meetings and became more
political. It was clear, early on that his views were not in keeping with the more moderate
approach at these gatherings and his vision for free Ireland was more extreme. His
speeches and sheer enthusiasm caught the attention of the IRB leader Thomas Clarke, who
saw Pearse as a spokesman for the republican movement. In 1913 he joined the IRB and
was a founder member of the Irish Volunteers. Pearse became increasingly convinced of the
need for a violent revolution to win Irish independence. He began to promote the idea of
The IRB Military Council originally planned to stage an intersection in 1915, the
failure to secure arms by that stage the imprisonment of leading IRB members, Sean
MacDiarmada meant it had to be postponed. They decided it would take place on Easter
Sunday 1916. In late 1914, the IRB sent Casement to Germany to persuade the Germans to
support the IRB and recognise Irish Independence. The Germans eventually agreed to
acknowledge Irish Independence. The success of the rebellion depended heavily on the
successful importation of arms. They sent a shipment of 20,000 guns to Ireland on the Aud.
The great efforts to keep the rising a secret failed, as rumours began to circulate.
This caught the attention of MacNeill, who would only support a rebellion if there was a
threat to the Volunteers. In order to gain MacNeill’s support, the IRB would have to convince
them that the Volunteers were under threat. To do this Sean MacDiarmada and Joseph
Plunkett forged a document and...