Interesting things I have seen: The Easter Rising, with bonus Lego-based history lessons.

Here’s what I think I know about the Easter Rising:

  1. It happened a hundred years ago on Easter Monday 1916
  2. That’s not actually a hundred years ago. Easter Monday in 1916 wasn’t until April 24th. But this weekend is the long weekend so we might as well commemorate it now?
  3. A bunch of lads (and also Constance Markievicz) tried to declare the Irish Republic while the Brits were distracted with WW1.

    rubberbandits photo
    Constance Markievicz: RIDE. Photo by National Library of Ireland on The Commons

  4. The Brits weren’t that distracted.
  5. Everything that could go wrong, did. The guns got chucked into the sea. Everyone got mixed messages about when they were meant to be having the revolution in the first place. Not surprising, when you remember that it was a bunch of poets and philosophers planning the thing. Military logistics may not have been part of their skill sets at the time.
  6. They took over the General Post Office in Dublin. And some other places? A bridge, I think? Maybe a park?
  7. At the time, most people in Dublin were about as impressed by the Rising as they are by the Luas strikes this week: not at all.
  8. The great Hanna Sheehy Skeffington’s husband (Mr Sheehy Skeffington?), got executed while he was trying to stop people looting. I learned this from a bus stop the other day. The S-S’s were massive feminists and Mr S-S had one of the greatest beards of the early 20th Century, until he was killed.
  9. Hundreds of people were killed.
  10. The British Army bombed the city centre almost to the ground. They left the front wall of the GPO, though. That’s handy ’cause it left us a nice sheltered spot to get up on soapboxes and Have Opinions of a weekend afternoon.
  11. After a few days (five? I think it was five?) the leaders surrendered. A few weeks later they were executed by firing squad.
  12. One of them- Plunkett, I think?- got married the same day he was shot.
  13. James Connolly had already been shot to bits in the Rising so they had to tie him to a chair in front of the firing squad.
  14. Constance Markievicz was pissed that they were too cowardly to execute a woman.
  15. Irish people love an underdog. Killing the leaders of the Rising was a bloody awful idea. Especially if you give them a few weeks to write noble, brave letters to the people they love and have poignant last moments where they stare unflinchingly into the rifles and whatnot. It pretty much set in motion the War of Independence and lost Britain this bit of its empire.
  16. You can’t throw a stone these days in Ireland without hitting something named after one or the other of them. Connolly, Pearse, and Ceannt (and maybe more?) got train stations. Markievicz got a swimming pool.

Continue reading “Interesting things I have seen: The Easter Rising, with bonus Lego-based history lessons.”

Interesting things I have seen: The Easter Rising, with bonus Lego-based history lessons.