top of page


I am presently writing a book on Ireland 1913 - 1923, the 1916 book will be included in this. Meanwhile I am posting information on Facebook according as the centenaries unfold and I will post the same information here.


Ireland 1916 to 1919


Before 1916 Ireland was on the surface a peaceful little colony of the British Empire but by 1919 the vast majority of people were calling for independence. The 1916 the Rising, an anti-colonial revolt acted as a spur for other anti-colonial movements throughout the world.


The atrocities committed by the British forces in 1916 and the fact that there were no repercussions for those who had committed them, the destruction of the city, continuation of martial law long after the Rising and imprisonment of thousands many who had nothing to do with the Rising all helped to make Ireland more Republican.

Perhaps the greatest change was created by the secret trials and hasty executions of the leaders. Public outcry here and abroad, especially in the USA (the Rising was front page news in the New York Times for fourteen days) put pressure on the British authorities and they stopped the executions (16 were executed and 76 reprieved).

By fighting openly and being prepared to die for their beliefs, the rebels had succeeded in making clear their vision of Ireland as an oppressed country and their treatment by the authorities made them martyrs. By May 1916 they had become cult figures

At least 3,400 people are arrested after the Rising many are sent to prisons in Britain and while there they begin training for and planning the War of Independence.

The 1916 Rising turned moderate separatists into hardliners all over Ireland.

Sinn Féin (who had nothing to do with the Rising but was blamed for it) became the organisation for all separatists to join.

Many of the families of the leaders become very involved in the struggle for independence, especially Kathleen Clarke. Having survived twenty-five wounds Cathal Brugha is released from hospital in August 1916 and returns to his wife and children. He has lost part of one foot and has been so badly injured that the authorities think that he can never again be a threat.





Not knowing what to do with so many prisoners and under pressure from the media the British begin releasing rebel prisoners. Huge crowds turn up to welcome them home


Sinn Féin win some by-election seats.


The threat of conscription to provide soldiers for the continuing First World War further alienates Irish people and unites many groups including separatists, suffragettes trade unionists and the church. The numbers of people joining the Irish Volunteers and Cumann na mBán soars and more branches are formed around Ireland.

1917 Amnesty.jpg
1918 con.jpg


By 1918 most of those imprisoned after the Rising are home planning for Independence.


1918 Conscription Crisis

A major cause of the War of Independence. was the Conscription Crisis of 1918. Despite advice from Dublin Castle the British government extended conscription to Ireland in April 1916 (conscription was introduced in England, Scotland and Wales in 1916) This caused a mass anti-conscription movement with nationalists, Labour, the women’s groups the Catholic Church and the Irish Parliamentary Party (whose MPs had withdrawn from Westminster in protest) all joining together to oppose it.

Sinn Féin emerged as the leaders of this movement vastly increasing their popularity. Numbers in the republican Irish Volunteer Force and Cumann na mBán increased dramatically. There were mass meetings, marches and a petition signed by over two million people. A general strike brought the country to a standstill.

Conscription was never introduced here and by summer 1918 the British authorities had given up.



bottom of page