to our archive of key writings on republicanism and national liberation
by Irish revolutionaries including Patrick Pearse, James
Connolly, James Fintan Lalor, Robert Emmet, and Wolfe Tone. Here you
will find some of the most important documents in Irish history.
The Easter Rising and the
The Proclamation of the
issued by the rebels of Easter 1916, and
the Democratic Programme
adopted by the First Dail in January 1919 remain pivotal documents for
modern republicanism. Also included here is the Manifesto
on the basis
of which Sinn Féin won its landslide election victory in 1918.
Patrick Pearse began his career as an Irish language activist and
educationalist. However, the reluctance of the London government to
implement the promised measure of Home Rule for Ireland in the face of
unionist resistence pushed him towards a more militant
He was a founding member of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, and joined
the underground Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in 1914. Within a
year he was a member of the organisation's Military Council.
"How Does She Stand" is a collection of three speeches delivered by
Pearse in 1913 and 1914. Commemorating republican heroes of
the past, they are a call to
arms addressed to Pearse's own contemporaries:
Written in the same period, "The
marks a decisive
step in Pearse's transition from immersion in the cultural work of
the language revival and the Gaelic League to an openly revolutionary
In 1915, Pearse delivered his famous Oration at the
Grave of O'Donovan Rossa
funeral of the veteran Fenian. It ended with the memorable words: "The
fools, the fools, the fools! They have left
us our Fenian dead; and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland
unfree shall never be at peace".
By this time, the Military Council of the IRB was making preparations
for a Rising. In the months
leading up to Easter 1916, Pearse wrote a series of
four pamphlets; Ghosts
, and The
. The pamphlets stress the continuity of the
tradition and outline the nature of Ireland's demand for freedom.
Pearse also wrote poetry, including Renunciation
, The Fool
, and The
It was Pearse who authored the 1916 Proclamation, and he was nominated
as both President of the Provisional Government and Commandant-General
of the republican forces by the rebels. Following the defeat of the
rebellion, Pearse was brought before a
British Court Martial, condemned to death, and executed by firing
squad. At the court martial, he gave a speech
his motives and
claiming that the Rising had been a success as it had re-awakened Irish
John Mitchel was born in 1815
in County Derry. He was a member of the Young Ireland group and a
contributor to The Nation. He reacted
with fury to English policy in Ireland
during the famine, and resigned from The
Nation on the grounds that the policy of Young Ireland was not
enough. Mitchel then founded his own
paper, The United Irishman. In its pages he called on
the people to refuse to pay rent and to forcibly
export of food, and justified a policy of armed insurrection.
sixteen editions, The United Irishman was
Mitchel arrested. He was convicted of treason felony and sentenced to
transported for fourteen years. While in captivity he wrote his Jail Journal. In 1853 he escaped from Van Diemen’s Land
in the United
where he spent most of the remainder of his life.
James Fintan Lalor
Lalor was born in 1807 in County Laois.
first a supporter of Daniel O’Connell, he broke with him over his
the English Whig Party and his reluctance to urge Irish tenant farmers
refuse payment of rent and tithes. Against the backdrop of the Great
Lalor wrote a series of articles in The
Nation in 1847 arguing that Ireland
needed full independence, not just Repeal of the Union, and that
nationalists should be ready to resort to physical force if necessary.
following year he founded his own newspaper, The Felon. In
this paper appeared his most influential writings, "The Rights of
and "The Faith of
imprisoned as a result of the
Young Irelanders’ failed rebellion in 1848, but released six months
the grounds of ill-health. He immediately tried to organise another
in Counties Tipperary and Waterford,
leading an attack on the RIC barracks in Cappoquin. Arrested
again, Lalor died in December 1848 and was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery.
Thomas Davis was born at Mallow in Co. Cork
in 1814. He was the leader of the Young Ireland group which left
Repeal Movement over its focus on narrowly Catholic concerns and its
consider using physical force as a means to achieve Irish Independence.
he co-founded The Nation newspaper,
dedicated to reviving Irish national consciousness. Davis’ articles in the paper popularised
the study of Irish history, poetry, language, music and art at a time
the dominant colonial mindset looked on them as inferior to those of England. He argued for the revival of the Irish
language, declaring that “A people without a language is only half a
and was passionately anti-sectarian. The
Nation was read by 250,000 people, and had the largest circulation
newspaper in Ireland at the time. A selection of Davis' articles
also wrote nationalist poetry which stirred popular feeling. His most
popular pieces include "A Nation Once
Again", "The West's Awake",
on the Death of Eoghan Ruadh O'Neill", "Tone's
Grave", and "The Lost Path".
died of scarlet fever aged just 31 in 1845.
joined the United Irishmen while he was a student at Trinity College, and
fled to France following the collapse of their rebellion in 1798. In
to Ireland and together with other revolutionaries such as Thomas
James Hope prepared a new revolt. His Proclamation
out his vision for an Irish republic.
An explosion at
one of Emmet’s arms depots forced him to bring forward the date of the
and the premature rebellion quickly collapsed. Emmet fled into
hiding but was captured and tried for treason. His Speech
from the Dock became one of the great
classics of Irish nationalism. On 20th
September 1803 Emmet was executed
at Thomas Street
in Dublin and his remains secretly buried.
Wolfe Tone was
one of the founders of the Society of United Irishmen in 1791,
along with Thomas
Russell, Napper Tandy and others. The Society's Declaration was
written by Tone to mark the second anniversary of the fall of the
Bastille. The United Irishmen at first aimed simply
and Protestants and to achieve parliamentary reform. However, as it
that this could not be achieved by constitutional methods, they began
establishment of an Irish Republic separate from England and prepare
Anglican, Tone was appointed secretary of the Catholic Committee, which
advocated the enfranchisement of Catholics, in 1792. It was at this
period he wrote An Argument on
Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland,
setting out the argument for religious toleration.
Irishmen decided to seek French aid.
suppression of the Society soon afterwards forced him to emigrate to
where he journeyed to Paris in 1796 to
persuade the French government to send an expedition to assist a rebellion in Ireland. As part of his campaign he wrote two Memorials on the Present State of Ireland.
Tone's arguments proved persuasive, and a fleet with
14,000 soldiers was dispatched in December 1796 and
reached Bantry Bay, but prevented from landing by severe gales. Tone's Address to the People of
Ireland was written at this time.
In October 1798 Tone
accompanied another, smaller,
expedition to Ireland but was captured off the coast of Donegal. Taken to Dublin,
he was court-martialled and sentenced to death by hanging. In his Address to His Court
Martial he justified his actions. Subsequently, to avoid hanging -
a death usually reserved for criminals - Tone committed suicide by
cutting his throat with a razor.