The Insurrection in Dublin


The Easter Rising of April 1916 was an attempt by Irish nationalists to provoke a nationwide rebellion and thereby secure Ireland’s independence from British rule. In fighting that was largely confined to Dublin, 60 insurgents and 130 troops and police were killed, along with 300 civilians caught in the crossfire. In the aftermath of the uprising the British executed another 15 conspirators, including Sir Roger Casement, a Protestant who had become an ardent Irish nationalist and who had sought to acquire weapons for the insurgents from Germany, Britain’s enemy in World War I, underway at that time. The Insurrection in Dublin is an account of the Easter Rising by the poet and novelist James Stephens (1882‒1950), a leading figure in the Irish literary revival of the early 20th century and a supporter of Irish independence. Stephens witnessed firsthand the events described in the book, and many of those killed were his friends and colleagues. The book begins with a strictly chronological account, with seven successive chapters devoted to the events of Monday, April 24 through Sunday, April 30. The remaining five chapters deal with the ending of the insurrection, the volunteers who took part in it, its leaders, the role of labor during the insurrection, and “The Irish Questions.” In this final chapter, Stephens argues that there are two Irish questions, an international question concerning the independence of the country, and a national question relating to relations between Catholics and Protestants on the island. The Easter Rising became a rallying point for Irish nationalists and eventually led to the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921, followed shortly after by establishment of the Irish Free State and the partition of Ireland. The edition of The Insurrection in Dublin presented here was published in New York in 1916.

Last updated: November 14, 2017