Friday 20 April 2018

Brian Muphy: Germany's aid - and the bravery of its naval officers - must be remembered in our accounts of Easter 1916

The Aud
The Aud
Roger Casement. Photo: National Gallery of Ireland
Brian Murphy. Photo: Frank McGrath

Brian Muphy

Though many people do not know it, the reference in the 1916 Proclamation to "gallant allies in Europe" was an acknowledgement of German assistance to the Irish rebels. In making their stand in Easter Week, a number of leading Irish rebels believed that if Germany won World War One, then Irish freedom would be guaranteed by the post-war peace conference.

Many of the guns used by Irish nationalists during Easter Week 1916 originated in Germany and had been smuggled into Howth and Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, during the summer of 1914. The guns had been bought by Erskine Childers, the father of a future President of Ireland, from the Hamburg-based munitions firm of Moritz Magnus der Jungere.

The guns were not sophisticated in terms of the advances that had been made in modern weaponry. Many of these guns actually dated from the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-1, but they were still in working order.

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