Skip to content
On Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, a group of Irish nationalists proclaimed the establishment of the Irish Republic and, along with some 1,600 followers, staged a rebellion against the British government. The rebels seized prominent buildings, most notably the Dublin Post Office, and clashed with British troops. Within a week, the insurrection had been suppressed and more than 2,000 people were dead or injured.
The leaders of the rebellion were executed. Initially, there was little support from the Irish people for the Easter Rising. However, public opinion later shifted and the brutally executed leaders were hailed as martyrs for the cause of Irish freedom.
In the 1918 general election to the parliament of the United Kingdom, the Sinn Fein political party (whose goal was to establish an independent republic) won a majority of the Irish seats. The Sinn Fein members then refused to sit in the UK Parliament, and in January 1919 met in Dublin to convene an Irish Parliament and declare Ireland’s independence. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) then launched a guerilla war against the British government and its forces in Ireland.
Following a July 1921 cease-fire, the two sides signed a treaty in December that called for the establishment of the Irish Free State, a self-governing nation of the British Commonwealth. Ireland’s six northern counties opted out of the Free State and remained with the United Kingdom. The fully independent Republic of Ireland (consisting of the 26 counties in the southern and western part of the Island) was formally proclaimed on Easter Monday, April 18, 1949.