For some inexplicable reason, ever since I was a teenager, I’ve always wanted to visit Dublin. I’ve had a green shirt with a clover since I was 17. I got it in Germany. It tore last year. Seemed like a sign. It probably wasn’t. But I went to Dublin anyway and had the best time. Below is a story I heard during a guided tour I took there.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone! Lá fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh
In history lessons you may have heard about the Easter Rising of 1916, a rebellion that resulted in bloodshed, executions and eventually (eventually!) the Republic of Ireland. What you may not know, is that this uprising was only a thing because of a sequence of ridiculous, almost incomprehensible screwups on both sides.
This is what happened:
The Irish rebels didn’t want to be governed by the British anymore (a pain that is shared by countries across the globe, even today). They planned a rebellion and ordered some weaponry from Germany.
On Good Friday 1916, the British intercepted a German ship, carrying loads (+/- 20.000) of weapons and bullets meant for the rebels and their uprising. Obviously a tough blow to the rebels. Reactions:
– “Hey, you know, maybe we should not do this uprising right now, seeing that our loot got taken and all that. How about it?” – Eoin MacNeill, head of the Irish Volunteers
– “Yeah man, sounds about right.” – most people
– “No way dude. Believing is achieving! We march on Monday.” – James Connelly and Thomas Clarke, blissfully unaware of the proverb ‘quit while you’re ahead’
That was probably not exactly how they phrased it, but you get the picture.
At 11 am (Is it just me who finds it hilarious that a thing called ‘uprising’ starts so late?) about 1200 members of the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army gathered across Dublin. They were strong, they were fierce, they believed in and fighted for an independent Ireland, but to get to the city centre, they dutifully paid their tram fare. I for one always appreciate it when uprisers are good civilians.
They then occupied some key strongholds throughout Dublin, hoisted the tricolour flag at the General Post Office and proclaimed the independent Irish republic.
A mere 25 (!) Irish Citizen Army members seized the headquarters of the British government’s administration in Ireland, Dublin Castle.
This begs the question: how can 25 rebels take Dublin Castle?
Some days before, the British had kinda sensed that something was off (confiscating all those weapons a few days earlier made them a bit iffy) and they were fully ready and armed to quench an insurrection on Easter Sunday.
When no attack came on Sunday, sergeants must have thought “Phew! Dodged a bullet there!”. They promptly gave the soldiers defending Dublin Castle a much-deserved day off to watch the Easter Monday horse races at the Fairyhouse Racecourse, leaving Dublin Castle nearly undefended.
The rebels walked in and were the heroes of the day!Well, actually, they weren’t. Many Dubliners had family members fighting for the British in Europe and were less than eager to support the rebels. Some threw stones. The general public only started liking the rebels again after the uprising was crushed and the rebels were hanged. Can’t catch a break.
PS: Disappointed that this post was not language-related? Go on then. Did you know the word shamrock has nothing to do with rocks, but is derived from the Irish word ‘seamróg’, meaning ‘little clover’?
PPS: My soundtrack while writing this post was this song on eternal repeat. I would recommend it.