Friday 20 January 2017

Idealised vision of Ireland is an important legacy of the Easter Rising

Dr Conor Mulvagh

Published 14/03/2016 | 02:30

James Connolly, leader of the Irish Citizen Army
James Connolly, leader of the Irish Citizen Army

Dr Conor Mulvagh is lecturer in Irish History with special responsibility for the Decade of Commemorations, 2013-2023, at the School of History in UCD. This is an edited extract of a lecture he delivered on the Rising last week.

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The rebels of 1916 left two important legacies. Firstly, they can be said to have set an example and inspired the population into revolution. Secondly - and, I would argue, more importantly - they left a written document that set forth an idealised vision of how Ireland could govern itself in a way that was inclusive, without discrimination of gender or religion or class.

Militarily, the 1916 Rising was a failure. Buildings and strongholds were occupied all around Dublin and in a few other locations. The garrisons that took these buildings held out for a week and when the leadership of the rebellion finally surrendered, Dublin city lay in ruins and the citizens who the rebels believed they were fighting for booed and jeered the prisoners as they were led off to internment camps in England and Wales. While the rank and file were spared harsh punishment, the leaders of the Rising were tried and executed.

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