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.
Exhibition by Elspeth Healey, Special Collections Librarian
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