On our fourth day in Dublin, Joe and I went on an Easter Rising walking tour. During the walk, our guide Rory took us to landmarks around Dublin that were important during the Rising.
The Easter Rising, for those who don't know, was an armed rebellion led primarily by the Irish Republican Brotherhood against the British occupation of the country. On April 24, 1916, at noon, Patrick Pearse read the Proclamation from the second floor window of the Dublin General Post Office. It begins:
Irishmen and Irishwomen: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.
Thus began six days of fighting. The Irish were woefully outnumbered, but fought fiercely. On Saturday, April 29, Pearse issued a surrender order to prevent further slaughter. Of the 485 killed, over half were civilians. Fourteen of the leaders of the Rising were executed, including James Connolly, who was already dying from a gunshot wound in his leg. Despite that, the British tied him to a chair (he was too far gone to stand) and shot him.
Although the Rising was unsuccessful, it set the stage for eventual independence.
That is probably the shortest history of the Rising that you'll ever read.
The tour group met up with Rory at the International Bar. He then took us from there to Trinity College to the River Liffey, and showed us where a British gunboat lobbed shells into the city.
We stood under the statue of Daniel O'Connell and saw the bullet holes that still remain from the shooting.
We then visited the General Post Office, which is still the main Dublin Post Office, and saw more bullet holes and heard more about the actual Proclamation. Inside the Post Office is a display of the building on the first day of the Rising, made entirely of Legos!
From there, we walked to the block of rundown buildings where the leaders of the rebellion holed up before surrendering. Knowing that they broke through the walls of the adjacent buildings to escape, all the while carrying the grievously wounded Connolly, was quite impressive.
The tour ended there, and we all scattered back to our modern lives, in an independent Republic of Ireland.