Donnybrook: Easter Lily
By John Myers
106 years in not a memorable number, but every anniversary of the 1916 Easter Uprising is worthy of celebration. The 1916 Proclamation was read by Padraic Pearse at high noon from the front steps of the General Post Office (GPO) on what is now called O’Connell Street in downtown Dublin. O’Connell Street was called “Sackville Street” prior to the establishment of the Irish State.
The GPO was one of many sites in Dublin that rebels were located on that Easter Monday, 1916. The one-hundred-year-old GPO building was a prominent government building, centrally located and was a key nerve center for the telegraph (communications) throughout the Country, a strategic as well as symbolic siting.
Americans celebrate the Fourth of July as the date of the American Declaration of Independence. In Ireland. The Irish Proclamation was read on Easter Monday which was April 24th in 1916. However, as Easter is a different date each year, “April 24th” is not universally observed.
For instance, this year (2022) Easter Monday is April 18th. The Irish speak of the Easter Rising and Easter Monday as the officially recognized date and annual celebration of Irish Independence.
Padraic Pearse led the uprising and was plainly using the tie to the Resurrection of the Easter holiday to link the 1916 uprising to the resurrection of the ancient nation of Eire. This is why the Easter Lily is worn as a remembrance of those that gave their life in the cause of Irish Liberty and the Easter Rising. Note: The Irish Easter lily pin usually shows green, white and orange. Please wear your Lily pins with sober pride this April and throughout the year.
I take a few moments every July to re-read the Declaration of Independence. This month, perhaps take a moment to re-read the 1916 Proclamation; read it out loud to your family (they’ll love it…). Note that this proclamation is rare in that it clearly speaks of “Irishmen AND Irish WOMEN,” recognizing the equal status and contribution of women in the cause of a free Ireland and in the eyes of the authors.
Also note the unique recognition of the support of Ireland’s “Exiled children in America” (that means YOU). The leaders of 1916 took on fully the issue of sectarian divide, calling out the English (‘ALIEN”) government for fostering animosity (conquer and divide) between the Protestant and Catholic traditions on the Island of Ireland in the fifth paragraph: cherishing ALL of the children of the nation EQUALLY, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an ALIEN Government, which have divided a minority (Protestant) from the majority (Catholic) in the past.
All seven signatories of the Proclamation were executed by the English within weeks of the Rising.
POBLACHT NA hÉIREANN
THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE IRISH REPUBLIC
TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND
IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.
Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.
We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms.
Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.
The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past. all
Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.
We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.
Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government:
THOMAS J. CLARKE
SEAN Mac DIARMADA
P. H. PEARSE