This cover shows Dublin destroyed by British artillery, after the 1916 Irish Rebellion. I never heard of this event and yet it had a huge significance beyond Ireland. Here are the facts. Easter week in 1916, a small group of Irish rebels, 2000, began an uprising against the British forces, 20,000 men. Although many knew they could not succeed, they felt the weight of destiny--the moment to strike for independence had come. After a week of fighting, the rebels were executed. But the Easter "Rising" reverberated around the world in freedom struggles from Ireland's 1917 War to Independence, to India, where the executions ignited Indians in Bengal and other parts of the Empire, including Tanzania in Africa.
March 2016 is the hundred year anniversary of the "Rising." This seminal event will be commemorated by the March publication of THE 1916 IRISH REBELLION by Briona Nic Dhiarmada, Professor at the University of Notre Dame's Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies. The large-format volume is both a stand-alone illustrated history and a companion piece to a three-part documentary series, narrated by Liam Neeson, to be broadcast worldwide by Public Television.
Briona Nic Dhiarmada, who also wrote the documentary, for the first time places the events of the “Rising” in appropriate historical and cultural contexts, as the precursor to an Independent Irish state and the disintegration of colonial empires. Also included, is the untold story of the crucial role of Irish Americans (34.5 million U.S. residents) in the lead-up to the event. They join the voices of the Revolution, eyewitness accounts from nationalists and unionists, Irish rebels and British soldiers.
Personal narratives, parallel to the story of the events, place audiences directly in the scene. Here also are well-known voices from the Irish renaissance, such as Lady Gregory and William Butler Yeats, who worked for an Irish literature and national theater. Irish feminists who became rebels; Helene Moloney, Countess Markievciz, and Alice Milligan were among the actors, poets, and essayists, who fought for an independent Ireland.
Published by the University of Notre Dame Press with a foreword by Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland, THE 1916 IRISH REBELLION is a significant testament to the brave fighters, whose rebellion served as a catalyst for an independent Ireland and the sunset of a repressive regime. Dr. Nic Dhiarmada has been working for five years to bring this story to a wider audience. It was a small rebellion with a huge international impact.The book and Documentary will be available throughout the world.
Below is the front page of The New York Times on the execution of the rebels.. Here is the Fenian flag for Irish who fought for a republic, the families of Irish soldiers serving Britain (before the rebellion) waiting for allowances, and American Irish immigrants, whose support for the rebellion was crucial.
An Interview with Briona M.NicDhiarmada author of THE 1916 IRISH REBELLION (University of Notre Dame Press).
Q. What inspired you to write the 1916 Irish Rebellion?
A. We are coming up to the centenary, 100 years. It's an appropriate time to look fresh at the events of 1916 Easter week. It seemed to be a very small event in the middle of the week but with a significance few could have foreseen. The rebellion changed the course of Irish history and set off a chain reaction that would ultimately lead to the dissolution of the British Empire.
Q. The Rebellion was not a success so why is it significant?
A. The Rebellion was militarily a failure, 2000 rebels against 20,000 British soldiers in Dublin. Though defeated militarily, it turned into a moral victory. The execution of the rebel leaders led to an enormous change of heart in Ireland and abroad. Within a few short years, there was an independent state in Ireland.
Q. Explain the colonial atmosphere, the major factors, that led to the event.
A. Ireland and Britain were next door neighbors. But their relationship had been contested for 800 years. Since the 12th century, Britain had colonized Ireland. Over the centuries there were rebellions against British rule.
Q. What was the Irish Renaissance? Who were some of the well-known figures and what were their objectives?
A. In the 19th century, the Irish famine was devastating. 4 million people were lost to starvation and immigration. There was a vacuum culturally. With the rise of nationalism came a revival of interest in the ancient Irish language and history. There was W.B.Yeats. and Patrick Pease, school teacher, writer and poet, who became a rebel leader. Lady Gregory was a cultural nationalist and a seminal figure in this movement. Douglas Hyde, who became the first President of the new independent Irish state, promoted the Irish language as a living language to be revived and kept alive. Ireland had a huge pride to be retrieved, from becoming an independent state and not ruled in England. Britain was denounced and largely blamed for the famine.
Q. Who was involved with the Rebellion and how did they organize it?
A. A small group, the Irish Republic Brotherhood known as the Fenians, insinuated themselves into a larger group looking for self-rule. The rebels got help from Irish Americans and also looked to Germany. Within Ireland, people wanted to have an Irish parliament. Volunteers formed a militia. But there were also unionists, opposed to home rule, and a nationalist militia. The rebels were afraid of traitors and informers, so secrecy was crucial. Easter morning most participants did not know the plan. Only the seven men who were leaders were fully aware of what was happening.
Q. How was the rebellion linked to America in the early stages?
A. This group of co-conspirators who wanted an independent republic found inspiration in the U.S. Tom Clark was an important figure, who had lived in America. John Devoy, an influential thinker completely dedicated to the Irish Revolution, had lived in New York. Clark was a follower of Devoy. In 1907, he came to Ireland from America and revitalized the militia and Irish Republicanism. The American connection was crucial. Without Devoy and support in America, the rebellion would not have happened.
Q. Were there also connections to India and other parts of the British Empire?
A. After 1916, Irish nationalism influenced nationals in other countries, such as India, which were still part of the British Empire. With the War of Independence, the events in Ireland became an inspiration for Indians. Pearse, teacher, essayist, was a pivotal figure in the rebellion of 1916. After he was executed, his martyrdom became a rallying point in India. Gandhi was anti-violence but Bengal was directly influenced. In 1929, in Chitagong, in Eastern India, there was a rebellion directly affected by the Easter Uprising. The Irish War showed Bengal how a tiny country, next door to Britain, could gain it's freedom. It was also an inspiration for African countries, like Tanzania.
Q. How did the Easter "rising" of 1916, the origin of Ireland's self-government, connect with the Protestant and Catholic conflicts in the 20th century?
A. The Protestant and Catholic troubles go back to the 16th century. The American and French Revolutions influenced Irish Catholics and Protestants. Irish Catholics naturally wanted to be independent. But in the Irish North Protestants, called Unionists, were loyal to Britain. Following 1916 and the subsequent War of Independence, two states were formed, the independent Irish state, a republic, and, in the north a state that's part of the UK. In the late 1960's, in north Ireland, there were protests between Unionists and the Northern minority, who wanted to be a Republic. This was about 25%, who saw the imposition of partition as unfair. North Ireland was a conflicted state. Catholics were given short shrift and demanded rights--1 man, 1 vote-- within the state. The terrorist war went on for 30 years. Ireland today is an example of how, after centuries of intractable strife due to contested land and religious differences, a country can move from violence to working it out in a political way.
Q. How did Notre Dame's Keough Naughton Institute for Irish Studies become involved in a documentary and the book?
A. I am a Professor at the Keough Naughton Institute for Irish Studies and I wrote the script and the book. It began when Chris Fox, the Director, asked me what we might do next. I knew the Centenary was a great opportunity to look at the "Rising" from a world perspective. And without America, it would not have happened. That part had never before been included. It is unusual for a university to produce a cutting edge documentary.We found a production company in Ireland and were fortunate to interest Liam Neeson. I was excited to have finally, after 5 years, written an in-depth analysis of the event, how it occurred, the voices of eyewitnesses, its significance, and ramifications around the world.
Q. What would you like readers and viewers to take away from the documentary and perhaps ponder, while going through the book?
A. An understanding of what motivated people at the time, in 1916. What it was like to be in their shoes. We are bringing history, at its most human, to people around the world. Ken Burns' Civil War brought that conflict new understanding. The Easter Rising is also an event with huge international impact. We are pleased to finally bring this history to worldwide audiences.
(PRESS RELEASE FROM UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME PRESS)
THE 1916 IRISH REBELLION
Bríona Nic Dhiarmada
Foreword by Mary McAleese
The companion volume to a three-part documentary series, narrated by Liam Neeson, to be broadcast on public television worldwide in 2016. This landmark book tells the dramatic story of the events that took place one hundred years ago, during Easter Week, 1916, when Irish rebel leaders and their followers staged an armed uprising in the city of Dublin in an attempt to overthrow British rule and create an autonomous Irish republic.
The 1916 Irish Rebellion by Bríona Nic Dhiarmada is a stunning large-format collection of over 200 photographs and illustrations that bring to life the events during the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. Nic Dhiarmada includes a historical narrative and a rich selection of sidebar quotations from contemporary documents, prisoners’ statements, and other eyewitness accounts to capture the experiences of nationalists and unionists, Irish rebels and British soldiers, and Irish Americans during the turbulent events of Easter Week, 1916. The book also uncovers the untold story of the central role Irish Americans played in the lead-up to the rebellion and its aftermath and places these events in their proper historical, political, and cultural context.
In the first part of the book, Nic Dhiarmada surveys Ireland’s place as part of the British Empire in the decades leading up to 1916, with special emphasis on earlier Irish movements to achieve independence or at least some measure of self-governance. She then outlines the events leading to the Easter Rebellion of 1916, including the crucial events of Thursday through Saturday prior to Easter. The second part details the events of the Easter Rising and the week of violent fighting, ending in the failure of the armed insurrection in Dublin. The third part discusses the fate of the leaders of the Rising, many of whom were immediately court-martialed and executed. She examines the legacy of 1916 and how, still, it remains living history, with worldwide ramifications.
This is an intimate and profoundly affecting chronicle of the 1916 Rebellion. The vivid voices that speak from these pages are not those of historians or scholars. They are the voices of ordinary men and women—including poets, teachers, actors, and workers—who took on the might of the British Empire. Although defeated militarily, the participants of the Easter Rising would wring a moral victory from the jaws of defeat and inspire countless freedom struggles throughout the world—from Ireland to India.
"Crisply written, evocative, and, on occasion, poignant, this fine study by Bríona Nic Dhiarmada of Easter Week, 1916, in Ireland and beyond, is wonderfully complemented by a wide range of contemporary materials—poems, speeches, letters, and images—all of which add greatly to the immediacy of her prose and the impact of her narrative. Not to be missed." —Thomas Bartlett, professor emeritus of Irish history, University of Aberdeen
"Stylish, pacy, and lucid, this narrative places the Rising in its national and international contexts. In vivid photographs and keynote quotations, it illustrates just how and why revolutionary Ireland became a test case of modernity in a rapidly decolonizing world." —Declan Kiberd, Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies and Professor of English and Irish Language and Literature, University of Notre Dame
“The 1916 Irish Rebellion presents this pivotal historical event, with its global significance, to a broad audience in a highly accessible manner that is both serious and informative but also highly visual and evocative in its use of photographs and personal testimony. The 1916 Irish Rising was not only an event with historical and current ramifications, it is also a story of real men and women, people of flesh and blood who participated in or witnessed epoch-making events, with many leaving firsthand accounts of their experiences. These personal accounts are presented separately from the central narrative, allowing us to hear these voices from the past directly. . . . These very human stories are not always given their due place in the telling of that history, but they are listened to here. They are at the heart of the 1916 Rising and at the heart of this book.”—Mary McAleese (President of Ireland, 1997–2001), from the foreword
“The Easter 1916 Rising was a brief event in a small country with long-term consequences for the world in which we live. It is an Irish story. It is an English story. It is an American story. It is a World War I story. Most profoundly, it is a deeply human story.” —Christopher Fox, Professor and Director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, from the preface
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bríona Nic Dhiarmada is the Thomas J. & Kathleen M. O’Donnell Professor of Irish Studies and concurrent professor of Film, Television, and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame. She is originator, writer, and producer of the multipart documentary series, 1916 The Irish Rebellion.
THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME PRESS
Established in 1949, the University of Notre Dame Press is a scholarly publisher of distinguished books and e-books in a number of academic disciplines; in poetry and fiction; and in areas of interest to general readers. The largest Catholic university press in the world the Press publishes forty to fifty books annually and maintains a robust backlist in print. Visit our website at: undpress.nd.edu.