As you know, the one hundredth anniversary of the Easter Rising will be commemorated next year.
There has always been a lively discussion in Ireland of the Rising itself. The courage of the rebels and their willingness to die for their country was not in doubt. Yet a question remains about the Rising’s utility, from a military perspective; an essentially guerrilla army, lightly armed, embedding itself in fixed positions around Dublin and waiting for the army of the world’s largest empire to come and get them.
Yet it is clear that the Rebels knew exactly what they were doing in seizing Dublin. It has to be remembered that Dublin was captured by the Anglo-Norman warlord Richard de Clare, aka Strongbow, in 1170. In an act of fealty and self-preservation he quickly conferred it to Henry II. The English crown’s hold on Dublin remained throughout the next seven hundred and fifty years, the city and Dublin Castle acting as the lynch-pin of its conquest and occupation of Ireland. The 1916 rebels were the first to shake that hold. They expected the symbolism of their act to resonate profoundly with the nationalist people of Ireland.
The rebels were correct in their assessment of its impact. Their Rising proved to be a seminal event in Irish history, sweeping aside the Irish Parliamentary Party with its genteel ambitions of home rule and igniting the final and successful push for independence.
The Department of Defence are compiling an official register of relatives of participants in the Easter Rising for the purpose of invitations to Ireland 2016 commemorative events, particularly the Easter Sunday parade (27th March 2016) and evening reception in Dublin Castle (a reception that has a weighty symbolism of its own!)
Registration forms and details of how to apply are available on the Department of Defence websitehttp://www.defence.ie/website.nsf/home+page?openform. The closing date for registration is Wednesday 30thSeptember 2015.
If you are a relative of participants in the Rising, you may wish to apply to attend these important commemorative events.