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Vocapedia > Terrorism, Politics > Northern Ireland


20th century > The Troubles





Belfast, Northern Ireland


A schoolgirl walks

past a paramilitary mural on the Newtownards Road

as the political parties resume round table talks today


Photograph: Charles McQuillan

Getty Images


Photo highlights of the day: dragon boats and fashion


Monday 21 September 2015    13.42 BST
















The United Kingdom

of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

was a sovereign state that existed

between 1801 and 1922.


It was established by the Acts of Union 1800,

which merged

the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland

into a unified state.


The establishment of the Irish Free State

in 1922

led to the country later being renamed to

the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

in 1927,

which continues to exist in the present day.

United_Kingdom_of_Great_Britain_and_Ireland - 3 January 2021













united Ireland






Republic of Ireland / Eire





Northern Ireland / Ulster
















The Troubles > A Chronology of the Conflict    1968-2003










Northern Ireland's Troubles /  The Troubles    1968-1995            UK / USA












































1999 > Who's who in Northern Ireland










Deaths in the Northern Ireland conflict since 1969






Timeline: Northern Ireland        1922-2005






Partition        1920








The road to partition    1917-1920






The Irish Home Rule movement

was a movement that campaigned

for self-government (or "home rule") for Ireland

within the United Kingdom

of Great Britain and Ireland.


It was the dominant political movement

of Irish nationalism

from 1870 to the end of World War I.

- 3 January 2021






Parnell, Gladstone and the battle for Home Rule    1850-1909






Irish Home Rule crisis    1886






the Great Famine    1845-1852


The Great Famine,

also known within Ireland as the Great Hunger

or simply the Famine

and outside Ireland as the Irish Potato Famine,

was a period of starvation and disease

in Ireland from 1845 to 1852

that constituted a historical social crisis

which subsequently had a major impact

on Irish society and history as a whole.

- Wkipedia, May 4, 2023




















A peace wall in West Belfast

divides Protestant and Catholic enclaves.


Photograph: Ivor Prickett

for The New York Times


Will Brexit Bring the Troubles Back to Northern Ireland?

As the United Kingdom confronts the prospect of dissolution,

old factions are bracing for the possibility of new violence


Published Dec. 30, 2019    Updated Jan. 6, 2020
















Northern Ireland Conflict

Glossary of terms related to the conflict












sectarian intimidation






sectarian violence






sectarian killers


Sean Murray (IRA),

Michael Stone (loyalist),

Colin Duffy (republican activist) ,

Pat Magee (republican)






sectarian murder






sectarian upheaval






sectarian divide





unionist and nationalist divide in Northern Ireland






on both sides of the divide





UK > Northern Ireland > peace wall        USA






Symbols Used in Northern Ireland  > Unionist and Loyalist Symbols






Conflict Archive on the Net (Cain) > 1968 to the present

List of Acronyms Associated with "the Troubles"

















King William III, Prince of Orange (r 1689-1702)

and Mary II (r. 1689-94)










The Treaty of Limerick    1691


The Treaty of Limerick (Irish: Conradh Luimnigh),

signed on 3 October 1691,

ended the 1689 to 1691 Williamite War in Ireland,

a conflict related to the 1688 to 1697 Nine Years' War.


It consisted of two separate agreements,

one with military terms of surrender,

signed by commanders of a French expeditionary force

and Irish Jacobites loyal to the exiled James II.


Baron de Ginkell, leader of government forces in Ireland,

signed on behalf of William III and his wife Mary II.


It allowed Jacobite units to be transported to France,

the diaspora known as the Flight of the Wild Geese.


The other set out conditions for those who remained,

including guarantees of religious freedom for Catholics,

and retention of property for those who remained in Ireland.


Many were subsequently altered or ignored,

establishing the Protestant Ascendancy

that dominated Ireland until the Catholic emancipation

in the first half of the 19th century.

- Wikipedia, 11 June 2023









The Battle of the Boyne    1690


The Battle of the Boyne

(Irish: Cath na Bóinne IPA: [ˈkah n̪ˠə ˈbˠoːn̠ʲə])

was a battle in 1690

between the forces of the deposed King James II,

and those of King William III who,

with his wife Queen Mary II

(his cousin and James's daughter),

had acceded to the Crowns of England and Scotland

in 1689.


The battle took place across the River Boyne

close to the town of Drogheda

in the Kingdom of Ireland,

modern-day Republic of Ireland,

and resulted in a victory for William.


This turned the tide in James's

failed attempt to regain the British crown

and ultimately aided in ensuring

the continued Protestant ascendancy in Ireland.


The battle took place on 1 July 1690 O.S.

William's forces defeated James's army,

which consisted mostly of raw recruits.


Although the Williamite War in Ireland

continued until the signing

of the Treaty of Limerick in October 1691,

James fled to France after the Boyne,

never to return.

- Wikipedia, 11 June 2023









The Parades Commission






Irish nationalists > Sir Roger Casement
















Protestant and Catholic communities

















warring factions
















tit-for-tat reprisal





punishment killing







have one or more kneecap shot off

as punishment

















conspiracy to cause explosions





Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch





anti-terrorist branch officer





anti-terrorism raid




















car-bomb attack










rip through N





defuse        USA






weapons decommissioning





arms cache















mid 1990's - 2007


Northern Ireland peace process





Peter Brookes

The Times

29 July 2005


British Prime Minister Tony Blair.













































decommissioning > IRA begins decommissioning        2001









South Armagh

Guardian web frontpage

30 October 2003

















Deal to restore Northern Ireland's power-sharing administration    26 March 2007



































Northern Irish self rule






(Prime minister of the Republic of Ireland)






Direct Rule














Northern Ireland assembly






assembly elections





peace deal















































The United Kingdom

of Great Britain and Ireland

was a sovereign state

that existed

between 1801 and 1922.


It was established

by the Acts of Union 1800,

which merged the kingdoms

of Great Britain and Ireland

into a unified state.


The establishment

of the Irish Free State in 1922

led to the country

later being renamed to

the United Kingdom

of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

in 1927,

which continues to exist

in the present day

(27 December 2020)



















The Acts of Union 1800

(sometimes referred to

as a single Act of Union 1801)

were parallel acts

of the Parliament of Great Britain

and the Parliament of Ireland

which united the Kingdom of Great Britain

 and the Kingdom of Ireland

(previously in personal union)

to create

 the United Kingdom

of Great Britain and Ireland.


The acts came into force

on 1 January 1801,

and the merged Parliament

of the United Kingdom

had its first meeting

on 22 January 1801.

- 27 December 2020















Corpus of news articles


Terrorism, Politics > Northern Ireland


20th century > The Troubles





Fraught Anglo-Irish conflict

goes back centuries


Tue May 17, 2011

7:38am EDT



(Reuters) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth arrived in Dublin on Tuesday on a four-day state visit to the Irish Republic, the first visit by a British monarch since Ireland won independence from London in 1921.

Here are details of the historical roots of Anglo-Irish relations:

* English King Henry II landed in Ireland in 1172 after winning support from the pope to become its overlord. The next five centuries were marked by repeated battles for control.

* In the 14th century, the Crown tried to prevent English settlers integrating with the locals by outlawing the Irish language and making intermarriage illegal.

* Battles for Ireland have had a religious dimension since the 1530s, when England's King Henry VIII broke with Roman Catholicism to found the Protestant Church of England. Catholic estates in Ireland were dissolved and the land given to the king's supporters. A 1534 revolt was crushed.

* In the reign of Henry's daughter Elizabeth I, more British aristocrats took over estates in Ireland in a colonization, or "plantation," policy justified as a moral crusade to turn Gaelic Irish away from Catholicism. A rebellion led by Hugh O'Neill was thwarted in 1603.

* Settlers from Scotland came to Northern Ireland in large numbers under King James I. They were allowed to buy up grants of land very cheaply in the early 17th century.

* In 1649 Oliver Cromwell, a strict Protestant who had taken power in England after a civil war, landed in Ireland with 3,000 men and overran the country, killing one quarter of Ireland's Catholics. A reviled Penal Code barred Catholics from teaching, owning land, voting or serving in the military.

* In 1690 Catholics were defeated by England's Protestant King William III -- William of Orange -- at the epic Battle of Boyne. Ulster Protestants still call themselves Orangemen and commemorate the battle.

* The Irish parliament was abolished by Britain in 1801, heralding a century during which demands grew steadily for Irish home rule.

* The horrific potato famine of 1845 cut the Irish population by at least 2 million through emigration and starvation, and fueled hatred of absentee landlords who levied high taxes on their malnourished workers.



* In 1905 Sinn Fein ("We Ourselves") became a political party committed to Irish independence. Ireland's main political parties today, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, both would later emerge from Sinn Fein.

* In April 1916, a band of nationalists in Dublin led the abortive Easter Rising against British rule. They were forced to surrender by British artillery shelling and leaders were court-martialed and executed, releasing a wave of anger toward the British authorities.

* Eamon de Valera, the senior survivor of the rising, led Sinn Fein to win a majority of Ireland's seats in the British parliament in the election of 1918. Instead of joining the British parliament, they formed their own assembly, which declared independence. An Anglo-Irish war followed.

* The British government partitioned the island in 1921, separating Northern Ireland with its "loyalist" Protestant majority from predominantly Catholic Ireland.

* The 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty between a delegation of Irish pro-independence leaders and Britain established the Irish Free State, a self-governing dominion within the British Empire, in 1922. Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom.

* De Valera refused to accept the treaty. Ireland was plunged into civil war between supporters and opponents, who believed the treaty did not do enough to secure independence.

* Ireland broke its remaining ties with Britain at the end of 1937 with a new constitution, which replaced the Free State with the modern state of Ireland. The 1948 Republic of Ireland Act declared Ireland a republic, ending its status as a dominion of the British crown.

* Many members of the Catholic minority in British-ruled Northern Ireland have continued to seek the unification of the island, while Protestants favored continued British rule. Between the late 1960s and 1990s, a period known as "The Troubles," about 3,600 people died in violence there, which largely ended with a peace agreement in 1998.




Penguin Dictionary of 20th Century History/


(Writing by David Cutler;

Editing by Peter Graff;

London Editorial Reference Unit)

Factbox: Fraught Anglo-Irish conflict goes back centuries,
us-ireland-queen-britain-relations-idUSTRE74G2UI20110517 - broken link







Worst bomb attacks

on mainland Britain


Mon May 16, 2011

8:43am EDT



(Reuters) - British police said Monday they had been warned of a bomb in central London, a day before Queen Elizabeth makes a historic visit to Ireland.

Here is a timeline of some of the worst bomb attacks on mainland Britain by Irish dissident groups in the last 35 years.

February 1974 - Coach carrying soldiers and families in northern England is bombed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Twelve people killed, 14 hurt.

October-November 1974 - Wave of IRA bombs in British pubs kills 28 people and wounds more than 200.

July 1982 - Two IRA bomb attacks on soldiers in London's royal parks kill 11 people and wound 50.

December 1983 - IRA bomb at London's Harrods department store kills six.

October 1984 - Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's cabinet narrowly escapes IRA bomb that kills five people at Brighton hotel during Conservative Party's annual conference.

September 1989 - Bomb at Royal Marines Music School in Deal, southeast England, kills 11 and wounds 22.

February 1990 - Explosion at Army recruitment center in Leicester, central England. Two wounded.

May 1990 - Seven wounded by blast at Army Educational Service headquarters in London suburb of Eltham.

May 1990 - One soldier is killed and another wounded by car bomb in Wembley, north London.

June 1990 - Soldier is shot dead at train station in Lichfield, central England.

February 1991 - IRA comes close to killing Prime Minister John Major and key cabinet members in a mortar attack on Downing Street. One of three mortar bombs slammed into garden behind building, exploding within 50 feet of the target.

April 1992 - Huge car bomb outside Baltic Exchange in London's financial district kills three people and wounds 91.

March 1993 - Bombs in two litter bins in Warrington kill two boys aged three and 12.

April 1993 - IRA truck bomb devastates Bishopsgate area of London's financial district, killing one and wounding 44.

February 1996 - Two people die when IRA guerrillas detonate large bomb in London's Docklands area.

March 2001 - Car bomb explodes outside BBC's London headquarters. Police say the Real IRA, a republican splinter group opposed to the IRA's ceasefire, was behind the blast. One man was wounded.

May 2011 - A warning comes from Irish dissident republicans opposed to the peace process in Northern Ireland.


(Writing by David Cutler;

London Editorial Reference Unit)

    Timeline: Worst bomb attacks on mainland Britain, R, 16.5.2011,






The hands of history:

Two worlds come together

to broker a new era of hope


David McKittrick witnesses the first meeting
between the two commanding political figures in Belfast
as they calmly sit side by side to discuss the future
of Northern Ireland


Published: 27 March 2007
The Independent


Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams did not shake hands yesterday: they had no need to, since their manner of signalling they are ready to go into government together produced an even more telling and forceful image.

The substance of what they said was breathtaking enough, but the way they did it was even more phenomenal: they sat calmly side by side, exuding a sense of purpose and the intention of doing serious business together.

The picture of Belfast's two commanding political figures, flanked by their senior lieutenants, carried a subliminal but unambiguous message: after 3,700 deaths the Troubles are over and real politics can begin.

The two warriors of the Troubles believe they can work together. The statements they delivered in the ornate surroundings of a Stormont dining-room were exquisitely crafted to avoid giving anyone offence.

The big news they contained was that Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party will be going into government together, launching a new era and underpinning the peace process with a political foundation.

But even more striking was the absence of accompanying threats or conditions - no begrudgery, no condemnations, no blame game. The two listened carefully and politely to each other, conveying something new in Belfast politics - mutual respect.

For many months, London, Dublin, Washington, republicans and just about everyone else have pressed Mr Paisley to go for power-sharing with Sinn Fein. He has finally done so, and done so handsomely, with no hint of reservation or even tension. Until now, he has not even spoken to Mr Adams or any Sinn Fein representative, leading some to assume that no breakthrough could be expected at their first encounter.

But a breakthrough came and, by letting the cameras in to witness it, the parties provided an image that will take its place among key moments in other peace processes across the world.

Many in Belfast reacted with shock and awe: shock that the leaders of loyalism and republicanism should have finally struck a deal, awe that it had been done without histrionics but in such a business-like manner. Mr Paisley announced the timetable for devolution with a phrase no one has ever heard him use before: "Today we have agreed with Sinn Fein that this date will be Tuesday 8th May 2007." He added: "We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future."

The two statements were studiously symmetrical. Mr Adams provided an echo by accepting that "the relationships between the people of this island have been marred by centuries of discord, conflict, hurt and tragedy." He continued: "The discussions and agreement between our two parties shows the potential of what can now be achieved."

The sense of mutual satisfaction was also evident in London and Dublin, with the two governments cock-a-hoop at what they describe as the successful slotting in of the last piece of a jigsaw that has taken a painstaking decade to put together.

Tony Blair said proudly: "Everything we have done over the past 10 years has been a preparation for this moment." The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, lauded the deal as having "the potential to transform the future of this island."

There was also a welcome from the United States, since the Bush and especially the Clinton administration have been closely involved in the peace process. Washington said it looked forward to the dawning of "a new era for Northern Ireland".

Although long anticipated, the actual accomplishment of an agreement for government caused near-incredulity on the streets of Belfast.

The Government long ago set yesterday as a deadline, with the Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, proclaiming - more than 50 times, by the DUP's count - that it was "devolution or dissolution." A meeting of the Assembly set for noon yesterday was abandoned, and the transfer of powers from London postponed until 8 May. But the loss of six weeks of devolution is regarded as a negligible price to pay for such an advance.

Although a devolved administration was expected at some stage, until yesterday many wondered how well it could function if Mr Paisley maintained his no-talk stance. As First Minister he would, in particular, be expected to work alongside Martin McGuinness, who last night accepted the post of Deputy First Minister after being nominated by Sinn Fein. Mr Paisley has, however, now specifically said he will have regular meetings with Mr McGuinness.

It will be fascinating to see what relationship may develop between the Protestant patriarch and the one-time IRA commander. But if yesterday's introductory Paisley-Adams performance is anything to go by, the expected friction may be less than anticipated, given that the two men have spent a full generation eyeing each other from opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Their lives have in a sense been intertwined. One of the formative political experiences of Gerry Adams's life was a bout of serious rioting that broke out in the Falls Road area of Belfast in 1964, when he was 16.

In his biography, Mr Adams blamed the disturbances on "a rabble-rousing, sectarian anti-Catholic demagogue named Ian Paisley" who had threatened to remove an Irish tricolour from the district. In the years since then, Mr Paisley has reciprocated by describing Mr Adams with a battery of uncomplimentary names. Those early riots pre-dated the Troubles proper, in which the loyalist and the republican were to play prominent roles.

For decades, Mr Paisley flew a strictly fundamentalist flag, insisting that attempts to form power-sharing governments involving Unionists and nationalists were to be opposed at all costs. As leader of the Democratic Unionist party he denounced Unionist leaders who sought to set up cross-community governments as traitors, an attitude that he maintained with extraordinary consistency from the 1960s until a few years ago.

Mr Adams, as the republican movement's outstanding leader, was equally opposed to such arrangements, though from an entirely different perspective. He held they were diversions from the central problem, which he defined as the British presence in Northern Ireland.

While the pair maintained those positions for decades, Mr Adams was the first of the two to broaden his analysis and definition of the issues, seeking secret meetings with a range of political figures and others.

By the 1990s, those efforts produced an IRA ceasefire as republicans tested the proposition that the negative power of their violence could be replaced by entry into politics, with votes proving more effective than guns.

This peace process, which reduced but did not remove violence, was - in its early years - a highly controversial project, with Mr Paisley leading the ranks of those who condemned it and wanted it closed down.

But as the death rate fell and a semblance of normality returned to Belfast, the benefits of the process became clear. It provided huge benefits to Sinn Fein, whose vote rose dramatically so that it has become Northern Ireland's largest nationalist party.

The process was much more problematic for Mr Paisley, who was opposed to the whole thing in principle and by gut instinct. But his party nonetheless accepted posts in a power-sharing administration while refusing to attend cabinet meetings with Sinn Fein, a stance that rivals described as "semi-detached".

Republicans have remained solidly attached to the peace process, with the IRA eventually decommissioning its armoury and saying it was going out of business.

A key moment came when the DUP grew to become the largest Unionist party, a position that meant Mr Paisley would get to be First Minister in any new administration. That gave him the chance of moving on from perpetual opposition and into powerful office.

He and his party brooded on the options for many months. Its choices were to simply say no, thus blocking the formation of a new administration, or to agree to take part in a coalition dominated by itself and Sinn Fein. He would be First Minister but it would mean placing hmself at the head of a project he had spent years condemning.

While the signs are that he decided some time ago that he would go for devolution, a defining moment came earlier this month with elections to the Assembly. His party scored a triumphant victory, banishing candidates who were opposed to power-sharing.

On Saturday, a resolution supporting power-sharing was put to his party executive and passed overwhelmingly, with some in the ranks who had seemed to be doubters changing their position to one of support for the idea. All of that amounted to approval for Mr Paisley going into government with a united party and indeed a united Protestant electorate behind him, a level of support that gave him the confidence to do business with his lifelong foes.

What happens next?

* The clock is ticking towards 8 May, the date set for the transfer of powers from London to the Belfast Assembly. In the meantime, both Sinn Fein and the DUP will attempt to postpone unpopular new water rates. They will also be calling on Gordon Brown to increase a £1bn boost planned for the new administration. In the next few days, work will also begin on a programme for government to be ready for devolution. On 8 May, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness are to be nominated as First Minister and Deputy First Minister. The Assembly's four largest parties will also nominate 10 departmental ministers.




Shaking the world


GORBACHEV and REAGAN (19 November 1985)

After more than 40 years of nuclear brinkmanship, the two met in Geneva to talk about scaling back their arsenals and did the unthinkable - they shook hands.


RABIN, ARAFAT and CLINTON (13 September 1993)

Bitter rivals Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands at the White House. It was the ultimate symbol of commitment to the Middle East peace process by two men who were seen as lifelong enemies


MANDELA and DE KLERK (4 May 1990)

Mandela shook hands with the person who had come to symbolise the government that imprisoned him. Although they remained bitter rivals, the moment came to symbolise their commitment to South African society


NIXON and MAO (February 1972)

Setting aside two decades of bitter animosity, Nixon's surprise visit to Communist China in 1972 and his subsequent handshake with the Chinese leader, Mao Zedong, was described at the time as a meeting that "shook the world".


BEGIN and SADAT (26 March 1979)

The first of the Middle East's momentous handshakes, with Jimmy Carter at the White House, sent shockwaves through the region. It ended 30 years of war between Israel and Egypt, but led to Anwar Sadat's assassination.

The hands of history:
Two worlds come together to broker a new era of hope,
    I, 27.3.2007, http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/ulster/article2396057.ece






October 12, 1921


Don't be too tragic about Ireland


From the Guardian archive


Wednesday October 12, 1921


The Anglo-Irish Conference duly met at Downing Street yesterday. We purposely express the fact in terms of nationality, because that is the point of view from which it can most usefully and truthfully be regarded.

But when people - Mr. De Valera is, we fear, one of them - talk about Englishmen being "foreigners" and about England as a foreign nation, politeness alone prevents us from telling them that in our opinion they talk nonsense. Irishmen are not and never will be Englishmen; even the Ulster and Orange brand is at bottom much more Irish than it is English. But on the other hand a bond, even an unwilling bond, and a continuous connection and inter-mixture going right back through the centuries to a point not so very far removed from the Norman Conquest of this island (which unfortunately was never completely extended to the outlying island) does not count for nothing.

Neither does the fact that Irishmen have played a great part in English history and literature, that we find ourselves very much at home in their land, and that they have made themselves very much at home in ours. Therefore we positively decline to recognise anything essentially foreign, and not even should they insist on addressing Mr. Lloyd George in the Irish language (which to some of them may sound less familiar than to that brother Celt) and calling in the service of an interpreter will they persuade us to regard them as unqualified aliens.

They come as representatives of a nation to present a national case. No doubt during the negotiations there may be a pretty heavy tug-of-war. But that is no reason for taking the matter too tragically.

The fundamental fact is that both peoples want to be friends, and friends in the end they will be.

Mr. Churchill has signalised himself quite recently by foolish talk about the "real war" that is to follow should the present negotiations fail, in contrast to the "mere bushranging" represented by the glorious achievements of our Black-and-Tans. [The Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force of 7,000 ex-soldiers, a byword for brutality.]

But Mr. Churchill, who is a realist as well an orator, knows quite well that nothing of the kind is going to happen, just because, whatever his own warlike aspirations may be - and he has given abundant and at times disastrous proof of them - they are not shared by the British people.

[The people] will not tolerate the renewal of the brutalities from which the truce has relieved us and cannot be lashed into any frenzy of hate or terror.

From the Guardian archive > October 12, 1921 > Don't be too tragic about Ireland,
    G, Republished 12.10.2006,






May 4 1916


Interpreting the soul of the rising


From The Guardian archive


May 4 1916
The Guardian


Few things indeed are harder than to interpret the soul of a people or of a movement. Perhaps there lurks everywhere among men an element of madness; certainly among men of Irish race the romantic, the irresponsible, the desperate, the wild is never far from the smooth surface of things.

Nothing could seem on the face of it more hopeless than the attempt of a few thousand men, even in the capital counting only a force relatively insignificant, to upset the established government of the country, supported by the great majority of people and backed by overwhelming civil and military force. And yet the attempt was made — made, to all appearance, quite seriously, and conceived and carried through its initial stage with great ability and considerable success.

The men who have made the streets of Dublin run with blood and reduced part of it to ruins, are not politicians, and they are not particularly sane. They are mostly wild young spirits tired of the slow ways of political agitation and easily led by fanatical and reckless men. Home Rule ought, of course, to have been passed twenty years ago, in Gladstone's lifetime, when movements such as this would have become for ever impossible and the young blood of Ireland would have run in safer if more prosaic channels. Even now, with Home Rule almost in sight and a better day dawning, only a strange combination of events could have brought about such a catastrophe.

It had its seat and origin in Dublin, and could have taken place nowhere else. In Dublin, side by side with the romantic and literary movement of the Sinn Fein, there exists perennial misery of a kind hardly conceived in any English city. Add to this that for the first time the people had arms, and it is no wonder that desperate counsels were in the ascendant and desperate deeds were done.

Yet the truth remains that "this is not an Irish rebellion" — it is only a rebellion of a relatively small section of Irishmen in a single great Irish city, for outside Dublin the movement appears to have been almost wholly abortive. The rebellion itself perhaps matters less than the place it is destined to take in the consciousness of the Irish people and in the long memory of Ireland. Of this much if not everything will depend on the way it is now handled.

Three of the ringleaders have, it was yesterday stated, been tried by courtmartial in Dublin and shot. Is that not enough?

Attributed to CP Scott


[On May 9, after nine more executions, a leader said:

"The Dublin military executions

are becoming an atrocity."]

From The Guardian archive > May 4 1916 > Interpreting the soul of the rising,
G, Republished 4.5.2007,
p. 38,






May 1 1916


Women fight beside the rebels


From The Guardian archive


May 1 1916
The Guardian


"There are a conspicuous number of women fighting with the rebels [in the Easter Rising], and some have been shot and some captured," declared a man who arrived in London from Dublin yesterday morning. "I saw a number of women marching into Dublin on Sunday last. Some of them had naval revolvers strapped round them. They were wearing a dark green uniform similar to that of the male insurgents, and slouch hats. They consist largely of young women, but there are a number of older ones, I believe. They had had training with the men, for they do not lack a certain discipline and organisation. There have been cases of military officers being shot from behind by women."

Dealing with the methods employed by the soldiers in their efforts to dislodge the rebels from their positions, he said the rebels would allow the soldiers to approach, and while the soldiers were pausing before the attack they would snipe at them from the windows of houses.

The soldiers say that it is worse than France because they never know when to expect to be fired upon or where the enemy is. They have now adopted better tactics, however. They fire for a while at the houses and then a bombing party rushes up with hand grenades. The rebels are driven from house to house, and the direction from which firing comes is continually changing. The rebels, who know every inch of the city, get away from the soldiers and appear somewhere else.

By knocking openings in the partition-walls of houses they have succeeded in establishing covered communications. They occupied a number of big houses which commanded important thoroughfares. They were burned out of one of these strongholds in Percy Place, and gas was employed by the military in dislodging them from part of the Post Office. The Sinn Feiners displayed a white flag of sur render, but on an officer approaching to ascertain their meaning he was shot dead. An R.A.M.C. man told me that there are few wounded rebels. Many have been shot outright.

The population are making the most of the rebellion, and it is not the insurgents themselves who are guilty of most of the looting. On Thursday night I saw some women coming down Grafton Street carrying boxes of oranges taken from some shop, and passers-by were helping themselves.

[James Connolly said in a message of support

to English suffragettes in 1913:

"When trimmers and compromisers disavow you,

I, a poor slum-bred politician,

raise my hat in thanksgiving that I lived

to see this resurgence of women."]

From The Guardian archive > May 1 1916 > Women fight beside the rebels,
G, republished 1.5.2007,
p. 32,






March 24 1914


Contingent mutiny on the Curra


From The Guardian archive


[ Most Cavalry Brigade officers had made clear

that they would prefer to be dismissed

rather than obey orders to act against moves

to establish self-government in Ulster ]


March 24 1914

The Guardian


The contingent mutiny of the cavalry officers in Ireland has raised political questions that make even Home Rule seem small. These officers asserted the right to lay down the conditions under which they would continue to serve the King. Has that right been recognised?

If the answer had been a plain 'No,' plain men would have had this cause for thankfulness, that the supremacy of law had been vindicated and that the Government, not the army — or a small section of fashionable men — were our rulers. If the answer had been a plain 'Yes,' then these same men would have had cause to fear the worst. When any future crisis came no Government could feel sure that the weapon with which it is accustomed in the last resort to enforce respect for the law would not break in its hands.

The officer has no rights that the private soldier has not. If the officer may resign when he is threatened with work which he or his friends do not like, so may the private soldier. The civil Government would have ceased to exist except in so far as the army approved what it is doing, and the sovereignty of the country would have been transferred from the people to a military caste.

Had Mr. Asquith's answer been an emphatic 'No,' he would have been supported by every Liberal and by every Conservative who still believes in the old ideals of his party. He has said neither 'Yes' nor 'No,' but his answer is much nearer 'Yes'. We say it with regret and some shame.

The duty of the Government was plain. When [the officers] threatened to resign (that is, to desert or to absent themselves without leave) they should have been dealt with exactly as private soldiers. They should have been tried by court-martial, and punished. They have not been so treated, first, because they were rich men; secondly, because they had the prejudices of their class.

Not only is there one law for the rich man in the army and another for the poor, but there is one standard of a Tory officer's loyalty to his oath and another for a private with Labour sympathies. For a Liberal Government to acquiesce is not only to deal a serious blow at the army but to be false to the whole conception of democratic progress. What worse risks were there that compelled the Government to take a risk like this? We cannot imagine.


Attributed to CE Montague

From The Guardian archive,
March 24 1914,
Contingent mutiny on the Curra,
Republished 8.4.2007
 p. 36,










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