Patrick Pearse and his role in the Easter Rising and Ireland's quest for independence.

Essay by caitlinnz April 2004

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Over centuries of conflict, Ireland has produced many heroes. One who had more lasting effect than many, was Patrick Pearse, who's actions were instrumental in attaining the independence of his nation.

From a very young age Patrick Pearse had a passionate interest in the Irish language and Gaelic culture, and sought to revive it through the Gaelic League. In 1908 he gave up his very well-paid job as editor of the Gaelic League newspaper and used his life-savings and loans from his friends to open his own "Irish-Ireland" school which offered Irish language instruction and demonstrated that education could be a pleasure rather than torture.

Later he would develop a strong interest in politics, which eventually led to his involvement in the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), a revolutionary organisation, on whose behalf he also infiltrated the less radical Irish Volunteers.

When Pearse was appointed to the Supreme Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1915, which had by now infiltrated the less extreme Irish Volunteers, he led the way in organising a rebellion to take place on Easter Sunday 23rd April, and issued General Orders to the Volunteers to mobilise for "manoeuvres".

These orders were countermanded by Eion Macneill, the Irish Volunteers' Chief of Staff, who believed the time was not right for a rising. In the resulting confusion, only 1700, a small proportion of those who might have taken part in the rising actually did so.

Militarily it would have been wise to call it off but Pearse and his associates decided to go ahead on Easter Monday in the hope that the country would rise in support. They must have known, however, that if this did not happen they were likely to die.

The rebels occupied a number of strategic positions within the city, the most notable...