Almost half of Irish students believe the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising would not be proud of the Ireland we have today, according to a new survey carried out by Studyclix.ie.
As Ireland faces into the main centenary celebrations this Easter weekend with a caretaker government, the Irish education site asked just over 1,000 students their views on the state of the country 100 years on from the rebellion and what they feel in means to be Irish in 2016.
Forty-six per cent of those surveyed stated that they did not believe Pádraig Pearse and his cohorts would be proud of how Ireland is run today.
Despite this, only 39 per cent felt that the equality set out for all Irish people in the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the dream of an equal society held within its words had not been achieved in Ireland today, possibly with thanks to the successful marriage equality referendum last year.
The survey spelled great news for Irish pride, however, as although students are unsure with the manner in which the country is run (or at least what Rising leaders would think of it), a phenomenal 93 per cent of them are proud to be Irish with 87 per cent saying that it is a good place to grow up.
Interestingly, language came up high in the rankings as both one of the best and worst things about Ireland with students obviously not sitting on the fence and either loving or hating their mother tongue.
In total, 37 per cent of those surveyed felt that Gaeilge should not be a compulsory subject in schools as it is now (along with English and Maths) and it came just behind alcohol, drunk, and stereotypes as one of the worst things about being Irish.
CEO and founder of StudyClix.ie Luke Saunders wasn’t surprised by the lack of love for the language.
“I wasn't surprised to see that 37pc of students believed Irish should not be a compulsory subject,” he said.
“From my experience, both as a teacher and through setting up Studyclix, I have found Irish to be a very polarising subject. Some students see it as a badge of honour to be able to hold a conversation 'as Gaeilge' while others resent having to study what they feel is a dead language."
Alcohol came out overwhelmingly on top as the worst thing about being Irish with students also obviously feeling exam stress in the build up to the Leaving Cert with education system and exam pressure featuring highly, too.
"One of the most surprising aspects of the survey was students’ responses to the question of what is the worst thing about being Irish. More than one in four students referred to some aspect of our nation's relationship with alcohol and our drinking culture,” Sanders continued.
Among the other suggestions for the worst things about being Irish were weather, paleness, politicians, disrespect, and conservative.
Language was also mentioned as one of the best things about being Irish with the infamous craic a strong contender for the top spot. Our national sports, music, culture and sense of community were among the other aspects of Irish life that students enjoy.
Read more: The absolute best things about being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day
As we reflect this year on the history of the Rising, on Irish independence and on what the actions of those who took up arms during Easter week one hundred years ago has meant for our country today, 78 percent of students surveyed are proud of the Rising with 73 percent also agreeing that the men and women of 1916 were correct to stage a violent uprising in this manner instead of waiting around for possible Home Rule at the close of the First World War.
The National Student Centenary Survey was carried out by Studyclix.ie with responses from over a 1,000 5th and 6th year high school students in Ireland (between 16 and 18 years old).