On Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, at a time when Ireland was an integral part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, seven Irishmen proclaimed the establishment of the Irish Republic, nominating themselves as its provisional government.
Together with 1,400 poorly armed followers, they occupied a number of prominent buildings near the centre of Dublin, the General Post Office in Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) being designated as their headquarters. The government of Great Britain and Ireland regarded the insurrection as treason, all the more reprehensible as it came at a critical juncture of the war then being waged with Germany and her allies.
The response was immediate and decisive, the outcome being a foregone conclusion: by the following Sunday close to 2,000 people – mostly civilians – had been killed or injured, the General Post Office and various other buildings were in ruins, and the insurgents had surrendered.
So reads the introduction to the National Library of Ireland’s online exhibition called “The 1916 Rising: Personalities & Perspectives.” For anyone with an interest in this pivotal point in Irish history, the exhibition provides an abundance of stories and insights that eventual led to the formation of the Republic of Ireland.
Based on the library’s collection of books, newspapers, photographs, drawings, proclamations, and manuscript material, the exhibition is free and available 24 hours a day. Have a look for yourself >>