What influence did Irish America hold in the 1916 Rising?

During the Easter of 1916, in the middle of the Great War, a rebellion took place in Ireland which sowed the seeds for the establishment of an Irish state independent of Great Britain. A seminal event in Irish history – the equivalent of America’s 4th of July – the Easter Rising had significant implications for other imperial relationships.

Invoking the spirit of her 2.3 million “exiled children in America,” the rebels in Dublin proclaimed a new Republic one of whose role-models was the United States of America. As the Allies increasingly sought American support in continental Europe, Anglo-American relations were pressed on the Irish question and on Britain’s role in determining the fate of her small nation neighbor.

Renowned historian and Director of NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House NYU Joe Lee has observed, “No America, no New York, no Easter Rising. Simple as that.”

Glucksman Ireland House, the Center for Irish and Irish American Studies at New York University, is currently presenting a four-day program examining the American dimensions of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising through film screenings and a symposium featuring over twenty scholars from throughout Ireland and U.S.

The full four-day program, which began on April 19 and ends tomorrow, 22, interrogates that assertion by placing the Rising in a trans-national and trans-Atlantic setting. Twenty-two scholars, from a variety of disciplines, will excavate the ways in which the United States was an equally critical theater of war in Ireland’s journey towards independence.

The symposium will begins today Thursday, April 2 and also runs tomorrow, Friday, April 22, at Pier A Harbor House, 22 Battery Place, New York City. As a prelude to the conference, Glucksman Ireland House NYU screened the acclaimed acclaimed docudrama “A Terrible Beauty,” followed by a Q&A with its filmmakers, on April 19 and April 20.

The symposium will conclude with a special event in Washington Square Park, New York City, tomorrow, April 22, at 7pm. The Proclamation of the Irish Republic will be read in both English and Irish, followed by a short musical program by the Glee Club of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. Irish actress Lisa Dwan, known for her performances of Samuel Beckett’s work, will read the Proclamation in English; she can currently be seen in Samuel Beckett Trilogy: Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

Full details for the programs, including ticketing, are available on the Ireland House website or by emailing [email protected]

Glucksman Ireland House NYU is one of the top-ranked academic Irish Studies programs in the United States. Through innovative undergraduate and graduate academic curricula and extensive public programming, it provides access to the best in Irish and Irish  American culture. Its initiatives include American Journal of Irish Studies, an extensive oral history project, and a weekly cultural affairs radio program Saturday mornings on WNYE 91.5FM.