The Easter rising of 1916: Background Information

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The Easter rising of 1916: Background Information

In the period leading up to the First World War there had been a move towards Home Rule for Ireland. Home Rule would have given the Irish their own parliament that could make laws relating to domestic (Irish) issues. Major decisions about the economy and foreign affairs would still be made in London. Home rule was a very popular idea amongst the Irish population and was supported by the Liberal government of the day. Attitudes towards Home Rule changed as a result of the Easter 1916 Rising. At the 1918 election, Sinn Fein won 73 seats, the Home rule party only 6 seats and the Unionists 26 seats, each in northern counties.

The Easter Rising 1916

Causes of the Easter Rising



Consequence/ Description


Third Reading of Home Bill

This made Home rule for Ireland inevitable. Some people in Ulster start to arm themselves.


IRB Arm themselves

As a response to the arming of Ulstermen the IRB orders its members to be trained in military drill. This makes conflict more likely.


Irish Citizen Army emerges

As a result of police violence against striking transport workers the ICA was formed.

August 1914

Britain declares war on Germany

Many men join the British army.

Nationalists see the war as an opportunity to rebel.



British government pressurises men to join the army yet still doesn’t implement Home Rule. Leads to further anger amongst Nationalists.


Easter Rising

An opportunist rebellion led by a small group of Irish Volunteers. The Rising is suppressed by the British army.


  • Briefly explain what Home Rule would have meant for Ireland.

  • Which sections of the Irish population would have supported Home Rule?

  • Which sections of the Irish population would have opposed Home Rule? Explain your answer.

  • Why were so many Ulstermen be enraged by the prospect of Home Rule?

  • Why did extreme nationalists see the advent of the First World War as an opportunity?

"A raucous crowd came pouring out of the houses and the side streets to accost the rebels. Waving British flags, they shouted 'Murderers! Guttersnipes!' The flood of insults was fierce. These were the people for whose freedom the rebels had just been risking death." Eyewitness account.

  • What reasons are there to explain the reaction of the local Irish population to the rebel leaders?

  • Why might the above account be considered unreliable?

  • What impact might the Rising have on the implementation of Home Rule?

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