Easter Rising, Dublin, 1916

This research guide is a companion to the exhibition The Irish Rising: 'A terrible beauty is born' at State Library Victoria, 17 March–31 July 2016

Irish politics regarding union and independence, 1913 – 1949

January 1913: Militant opposition to Home Rule (which seemed imminent) builds in northern Ireland and the Ulster Volunteer Force is created.

November 1913: Southern trade unionists form the Irish Citizen Army (ICA), the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) forms the (male) Irish Volunteers and Countess Constance Markievicz forms the (female) Cumann na mBan – armed groups with increasingly radical aims.

4 August 1914: Home Rule is postponed by the outbreak of World War I.

1914–15: The IRB, the ICA and others band together to plan an armed uprising against the English in Dublin, scheduled for Easter Sunday (23 April) 1916, while England’s armed forces are occupied with World War I.

22 April 1916: Expected shipments of German arms fail to arrive and Eamonn MacNeill (head of Irish Volunteers) attempts to cancel the Rising. The other leaders decided to go ahead, despite the reduced number of Irish Volunteers available.

24 April 1916: The Rising begins on Easter Monday. Padraig Pearse reads the proclamation of the Irish Republic outside the General Post Office, the rebels’ headquarters.

24–29 April: Around 2500 republicans occupy strategic positions around Dublin and engage in battle with 20,000 British soldiers.

29 April: Pearse surrenders on behalf of the republicans and the Rising officially ends, though fighting continues into the next day. The human cost is high: 485 are dead (mostly civilians) and 2000 wounded. Some 3000 are arrested and 1400 imprisoned.

3–12 May: 15 republicans (included the Rising’s seven leaders) are court-martialled and executed, with a final, single execution on 3 August (Roger Casement).

1918: World War I ends; hard-line nationalist party Sinn Féin wins Ireland’s general elections, partly fuelled by public opposition to the threat of Irish conscription in the last months of the war.

1919: The First Dáil (parliament) proclaims an Irish republic and the War of Irish Independence begins (1919–21), with Michael Collins and Éamon de Valera leading the Irish against English forces.

1920: British parliament’s Government of Ireland Act partitions Northern and Southern Ireland.

1921: Ceasefire in the War of Independence as the British and Dáil governments sign the Anglo-Irish Treaty; Government of Northern Ireland takes office.

1922: Provisional Government of the Irish Free State takes office; Irish Civil War breaks out between the Free State, led by Michael Collins and the Free State forces, and anti-treaty republicans, led by Éamon de Valera and the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

1922: 22 August, Michael Collins is assassinated by an anti-treaty or British agent.

1923: The anti-treaty republicans agree to a cease fire, ending the civil war.

1927: After years of uneasy truce, de Valera founds the Fianna Fáil party and enters the Dáil.

1932: Fianna Fáil wins the general election; Sinn Féin fades into political isolation.

1935: The IRA is banned.

1937: De Valera drafts a new constitution, establishing Ireland’s national sovereignty.

1949: Ireland is formally declared a republic (according to the Republic of Ireland Act 1948), cutting its last constitutional ties to the British monarchy.

Irish Rising Exhibition

Exhibition at State Library Victoria

17 March 2016 to 31 July 2016

Aftermath of the Rising

Eden Quay Hopkins Corner Dublin after the six days' insurrection 315733

Eden Quay, Hopkins Corner

Sinn Fein Prisoner - Dublin after the six days' insurrection 315733

Sinn Féin prisoner

Both images from Dublin after the six days' insurrection by T W  Murphy.