The celebrations of the centenary are going to be huge. A week of special commemorations in Dublin and in centers of the Irish diaspora around the world; a year full of events, productions, screenings, lectures and, to top it all off, a Liam Neeson narrated mini-series.
If in the midst of all the discussion about the Rising and 1916 you’re starting to realize you’re a bit rusty when it comes to Irish history, fear not. IrishCentral’s own Kelly O’Connell has designed this handy infographic that will set you straight on the leaders and landmarks of the Easter Rising, as well as those executed in its wake.
Check out the infographic below, and scroll down for even more information.
The “President” of the Irish Republic, the existence of which he declared on the steps of the General Post Office (GPO) on Easter Monday 1916. Under his command the occupying rebels held out for nearly a week before surrendering. He was executed on May 3, 1916 by firing squad at Kilmainham Gaol.
Irish socialist labor leader, founder and commandant general of the Irish Citizen Army who was severely wounded in the leg in the GPO. His injuries were so severe that the British shot him in a chair at Kilmainham on May 12, 1916.
Thomas Clarke -
The cagey old Fenian and the real force behind the Easter Rising. His nurturing of such young rebels as Seán MacDiarmada, Joseph Mary Plunkett and Pearse would change the course of Irish history. Naturalized in Brooklyn while in exile, he was the only American citizen to be executed by the British, as a result of the skirmish, on May 3, 1916.
The Countess Markievicz –
Co-commander of St. Stephen’s Green in 1916 and the first woman to ever hold a cabinet ministry. Read more about Markievicz in Chapter 7, “Ferocious Fenian Women.”
The senior commandant of the Easter Rising who was not shot because of his natural born American citizenship. He would spend much of the next fifty years as either Taoiseach (prime minister) or President of the Republic of Ireland. He died in 1973 at the age of 92.
The legendary IRA leader and the father of the modern Irish state. During de Valera’s absence in America during the War of Independence he systematically created an intelligence network that targeted British agents and spies. On the morning of November 21, 1920 his personal assassination squad eliminated most of the British Secret Service in Dublin. Just over twelve months later he signed the Treaty that created what became today's Republic of Ireland. He died in an ambush in the Irish Civil War on August 22, 1922 at the age of 31.
Sir Roger Casement -
The last of the sixteen rebels executed for their participation in the Easter Rising. Casement’s job during the Rising was to land rifles in County Kerry, which turned into an outright disaster. Captured by the British he was brought to London to stand trial. During the trial his notorious “Black Diaries” were leaked to suppress calls for his exoneration by such notables as George Bernard Shaw and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The diaries—still controversial to this day—allegedly revealed Casement’s homosexual romps on two continents. He was hanged by the British on August 3, 1916 in Pentonville Prison in London. W.B. Yeats wrote a poem about him with the haunting refrain: “The ghost of Roger Casement/Is beating on the door.”
Kevin Barry -
An 18-year-old medical student and IRA volunteer, he was captured in northside Dublin in an ambush that went awry in October 1920. Despite cries for mercy, he was hanged in Mountjoy Prison on November 1, 1920, All Saints Day. One of Ireland’s most popular rebel songs was written in his honor:
“Another martyr for old Ireland,
Another murder for the crown,
Whose brutal laws may kill the Irish,
But can't keep their spirit down.
Lads like Barry are no cowards.
From the foe they will not fly.
Lads like Barry will free Ireland,
For her sake they'll live and die.”
The 1916 Executions
The frenzy to execute the leaders of the Easter Rising began on May 3 and continued until May 12.
“I am going to ensure,” said General Sir John Grenfell Maxwell, general officer commanding-in-chief of the British forces in Ireland, “that there will be no treason whispered for 100 years.” Ignorantly, he began the process that would drive Britain out of most of Ireland for the first time in 700 years.
W.B. Yeats in his poem, “Easter 1916” remembered the sacrifice of those who rose up and were executed for their efforts:
“I write it out in a verse—
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.”
Besides the aforementioned Pearse, Clarke, Connolly and Casement, the honor roll of martyrs executed by the British in May 1916 includes:
Thomas MacDonagh -
Poet, author, school teacher, he was the commandant in charge of Jacobs biscuit factory. He was a close friend and associate of Padraig Pearse and taught at Pearse’s school, St. Enda’s in Rathfarnham. He was married to Muriel Gifford, Grace Gifford’s sister. Executed by firing squad, Kilmainham Gaol, May 3, 1916.
Joseph Mary Plunkett -
One of the most mysterious leaders, he served as the movement’s foreign minister, traveling to Germany trying to drum up support for the coming insurrection. At the time of the Rising he was dying of tuberculosis of the neck glands. Michael Collins was his personal bodyguard and aide-de-camp. Hours before his execution he married his fiancée, Grace Gifford, in the Catholic chapel at Kilmainham. Immediately after the wedding he was taken out and shot on the morning of May 4, 1916. (See more on Grace Gifford Plunkett in Chapter 7, “Ferocious Fenian Women.”)
Edward (Ned) Daly -
Commandant of the Four Courts. A member of the fiercely Fenian Daly family of Limerick. Brother of Kathleen Clarke and brother-in-law of Tom Clarke. Executed at Kilmainham, May 4, 1916.
Michael O’Hanrahan -
Vice commandant to Thomas McDonagh at Jacobs. Executed at Kilmainham on May 4, 1916.
William (Willie) Pearse -
The younger brother of Padraig Pearse, which was the main reason he was executed. Although he held the rank of captain in the Irish Volunteers, he was not part of the senior leadership. He was a talented sculptor and his work can be viewed at the Pearse Museum in Rathfarnham, St. Andrew’s Church, Westland Row, and St. Stephen’s Green. Executed at Kilmainham on May 4, 1916
John (Seán) MacBride -
Was on his way to his brother’s wedding reception when he ran into the revolution and decided to take part, fighting at Jacobs. Husband of Maud Gonne and father of Seán MacBride, who would go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974. His hatred of the British led him to go as far as South Africa to fight against them in the Boer War. Although he was a romantic rival for Maud Gonne with William Butler Yeats, Yeats remembered him in “Easter 1916” as “A drunken, vainglorious lout…Yet I number him in the song.”
Éamonn Ceannt -
Co-founder of the Irish Volunteers, he commanded the South Dublin Union during the Rising. Executed at Kilmainham on Mary 8, 1916.
Con Colbert -
Commanded the rebels at the Marrowbone Lane distillery, not far from the Guinness brewery. Executed at Kilmainham on May 8, 1916.
Seán Heuston -
A railroad worker, Heuston commanded the Mendicity Institute on the Liffey, holding off the British for several days. The nearby Heuston Railroad Station, where Seán worked, is named in his honor. Executed at Kilmainham on May 8, 1916.
Michael Mallin - chief of staff of Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army, he commanded, along with the Countess Markievicz, St. Stephen’s Green and the College of Surgeons during the Rising. Executed at Kilmainham on May 8, 1916.
Thomas Kent - he and Roger Casement were the only rebels not to be executed at Kilmainham. Kent was executed at Cork Detention Barracks on May 9, 1916.
Seán MacDiarmada (John McDermott) - next to Tom Clarke, he may have been the most influential man behind the Rising. He was a master organizer and people were drawn to the movement because of his charismatic character. A former Belfast barman, he was stricken with polio in 1912. Executed at Kilmainham on May 12, 1916.
Yeats remembered the executed rebels in his poem, “Sixteen Dead Men”:
“O but we talked at large before
The sixteen men were shot,
But who can talk of give and take,
What should be and what not
While those dead men are loitering there
To stir the boiling pot?”
The War of Independence - the name given to the struggle for Irish independence during the years 1916-1921.
The General Post Office, O’Connell Street, Dublin, where the Easter Uprising began on Monday, April 24, 1916. It is the most important building in Irish history and is still functioning as an active post office.
Kilmainham Gaol -
This 18th century prison fortress is located on the south side of Dublin. In the weeks following the Easter Rising fourteen leaders were executed here by firing squad. There is a riveting, albeit disturbing, tour of the prison and the breaker’s yard where the rebels were executed and should be on every tourist’s must-do list.