101 Years on the Easter Rising

The 2016 gathering to commemorate the Easter Rising in Anaconda, Montana.

April 24, 2017, marks the 101 anniversary of the Easter Rising, the spark setting the fire leading the establishing the Irish free state.  We will not and cannot forget the brave deeds of the brave women and men of the Rising.

The Funeral of O’Donovan Rossa, where Pearse would lay down the gauntlet.

The Rising was a singular event. The English could no longer see Ireland in a vacuum, there was support from Erin’s exiled children around the world.  Those who were scattered across the globe were seeds that flourished, and never forgot the land of their ancestors.  The Irish of America played a particularly significant role in the Rising.  Lending financial, military, and moral support, leaders of the Rising found a fire in Irish America that would put to rest the ideas at the time of Home Rule or devolved parliaments. Pearse himself after coming back from America felt the “responsibility of carrying out the Fenian programme.”

Mrs Elgin O Rahilly, sister of Kevin Barry, and Countess Markievicz in Anaconda, Montana March 17, 1922.

The fall out of the Rising lead to a brutal war, a war that that would begin the untangling of the web of British control of Ireland. The leaders of the Free Irish movement would once again look to America making visits and campaigning with Irish America to turn the tide and set Ireland free. Countess Markievicz, Éamon de Valera, Mary MacSwiney, Douglas Hyde, and many others made their way through the five great pillars of Irish America – New York, Boston, Chicago, Butte/Anaconda, and  San Francisco. They shored up support for Ireland, collected funds, and found a home across the Atlantic that shared their Irish soul.

Last year commemorations rang out across the globe as we celebrated the 100 year anniversary, undoubtedly raising awareness of the Rising. Now, a year later, the celebrations are quieter and fewer, though every bit as important.  The Tri-Color, first raised by Thomas Francis Meagher, raised high in an act of defiance over the General Post Office in Dublin today hangs high over many homes, offices, and buildings. The Tri-Color remains a symbol for the unity of a whole Ireland so sought after by the leaders of the Easter Rising. Waterford marks a celebration of the Tri-Color every ear near the beginning of March. This year there will also be a festival in Helena, Montana, celebrating the life and legacy of Thomas Francis Meagher on July 1, 2017. For more information, see MeagherFest.

While there are six counties still occupied the work of the Easter Rising is not fully completed, though today we see an increased movement towards true Irish Independence. As Ireland moves forward forging her future it is likely once again the Irish in America and all around the world will play a part in her destiny. Each one of us has a part. Get involved with your local Irish community. Pop Up Gaeltacht are being found all over. Hurling continues to grow as a sport. Irish studies at places like the University of Montana in Missoula are growing and attracting students from across the globe – students who’s heritage is fostered as they connect with a larger Irish community.  The goals of the Easter Rising were not simply political – they were cultural.  As Pearse said – “not free merely but Gaelic as well; not Gaelic merely, but free as well.”

Below is a copy of the proclamation from the Butte Montana Mining Museum with the full text of the proclamation below:

POBLACHT NA h-EIREANN

THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE

IRISH REPUBLIC

TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND

 

IRISHMAN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.

Having organized and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organization, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organizations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and, supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State. And we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irish woman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities of all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority in the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provision Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government,

THOMAS J. CLARKE

SEAN MAC DIERMADA   THOMAS MACDONAGH

P.H.PEARSE   EAMONN CEANNT

JAMES CONNOLLY   JOSEPH PLUNKETT



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