Padraig Pearse (1879-1916)

Ireland was undergoing a nationalist revival during Pearseís early years. Parnellís call for Home Rule gained momentum and Irish culture emerged from centuries of oppression with the work of Yeats and Joyce.

Pearse supported the work of the Irish Party in Westminister initially by 1913 had become convinced that armed intervention was nedded to secure Irish independence. He joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and within a year became one of itís principle leaders in planning a rebellion. The date was set - Easter Sunday 1916. The volunteer force was mobilised and guns were on their way from Germany. With only two hours to go the gun-carrying German ship was intercepted by the British Navy and one of the leaders issued an order cancelling the rising. Despite the turnout of only seven hundred men Pearse went ahead a day later and proclaimed the formation of an Irish Republic and a Provisional Government from the steps of the Post Office in Dublin.

For five Days the rebels held out in several strongholds throughout the city. On the sixth day with much of the capital in flames Pearse surrendered. Most of the leaders were executed. They died as Pearse wrote in a poem on the night before his execution: "In bloody protest for a glorious thing".