Easter 1916: Rebellion and Memory in Ireland

On Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, armed nationalists occupied sites around Dublin and proclaimed the establishment of an Irish Republic independent from England. Outgunned by incoming Crown forces, the rebels surrendered within a week. The rising’s leaders were quickly executed and many others interned. With over 400 dead and prominent Dublin thoroughfares damaged by shelling and artillery fire, the debates over Easter week’s legacies began. Was the rising a heroic sacrifice in the name of Irish independence, or treasonous and needless bloodshed in a time of world war, or something more complex? In his poem “Easter, 1916,” W. B. Yeats famously wrote of the rebellion and its executed leaders, “A terrible beauty is born.” One hundred years later, this exhibition returns to that fraught week to explore its place in the history of Irish independence. 

This is an online version of a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library, January through April of 2016. The exhibit was created by Elspeth Healey, Special Collections Librarian.


Poblacht na h Eireann. The Provisional Government of the Irish Republic to the People of Ireland

Reduced (half-size) facsimile of undetermined date


[Ireland: no publisher]


Easter, 1916

"Of this poem 25 copies only have been privately printed by Clement Shorter for distribution among his friends. No. 18." Signed by Clement…


[London?: Privately printed by Clement Shorter]


Photo Taken at Reception Given to Countess after Release

Photograph of Constance Markievicz (center, with flowers and dog), W. T. Cosgrave, Éamon de Valera, and others