Episode 2-Women of Easter Rising


This episode will talk about five women who contributed to Easter Rising: Constance Markievicz, Kathleen Clarke, Winifred Carney, Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, and Molly Osgood.

Transcript-Episode Two (PDF)

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3


The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend, 2015, Penguin Group

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Green Against Green: the Irish Civil War by Michael Hopkinson, 2004, Gill Books

Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure by J. B. E. Hitte, 2011, Potomac Books

The Battle of Ashbourne

Tuesday 25, April 1916 was a fine, spring day. There had been gentle showers earlier, but the land had dried since then, and the rest of week promised to be warm. After a disastrous start on Easter Sunday, things had gone as smoothly as could be expected for Irish Volunteer, Lieutenant Richard Mulcahy. After reporting to the GPO in Dublin on Monday, he and two other Volunteers were sent into the countryside to destroy the telegraph lines at Howth. Despite one Volunteer needing to be sent back for his rifle and briefly being stopped by the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), they reached their target and easily severed the lines[1]. Mulcahy on his way back to headquarters, stumbled upon the Fingal (5th) battalion, led by the charismatic and courageous Commandant Thomas Ashe. Mulcahy was instantly recognized and made Ashe’s second in command[2]. Together, they would spend a week, utilizing basic guerilla tactics to terrorize British forces in the countryside of Dublin County and capture three different British garrisons. They would end the week, with the Battle of Ashbourne, a desperate struggle that would pit Ashe’s leadership and Mulcahy’s analytical mind against the RIC’s discipline, arms, and experience. The battle, while often overshadows by the drama unfurling within Dublin, would provide a taste of what was to come during the Anglo-Irish War.

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Easter Rising: Surrender and Legacy

Thursday and Friday were some of the bloodiest days during Easter Rising. Cathal Brugha made a brilliant stand on Thursday, during the famous battle for South Dublin Union and Daly held the British forces at the Four Courts from Wednesday to Friday. Most importantly, Commander-in-chief General Sir John Maxwell arrived in Ireland on Friday. General Maxwell, perhaps, did more to ensure the spiritual and political success of the Rising than anyone else.

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Easter Rising-Tuesday and Wednesday

Despite knowing about the upcoming Rising, the British government in Ireland did little to prepare for it. Monday morning there were a total of 400 British soldiers on hand to respond to the rebellion. Townshend claims that there were 100 for each of the four barracks (Richmond, Marlborough, Royal, and Portobello). The rest of the police force had taken advantage of the holiday and had gone to the races. The small force engaged the rebels during Monday afternoon, but were unable to displace the Volunteers. This was a short lived victory for the rebels however, as by Monday night General Lowe had taken command, an additional 150 troops had arrived from Belfast with more reinforcements coming from England, and a colonel had brought up the artillery from Athlone. Lowe’s plan was to establish communication along the Kingsbridge-North Wall-Trinity College line, cutting the city in half, and then isolate the rebel forces from each other.

Martial law was declared that Monday, and the fate of Dublin was left in the military’s hands.

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Easter Rising: Sunday

Easter Rising is one of the most momentous Irish rebellions in its long, tortuous and bloody history. It caught the British by surprise (despite the Castle knowing all there was to know about the planned exertion) and lasted from April 24th to April 29th, before being defeated by the British Army under General Maxwell. It was concentrated mostly in Dublin, with a few engages in the countryside. While the rebellion itself was a failure, the execution of its leaders and the determination of its survivors, turned it into a spiritual and political victory that set the stage for the Anglo-Irish War and the Irish Civil War.

It nearly didn’t happen.

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Book Review: Easter 1916 the Irish Rebellion

Easter 1916 the Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend. Published in 2015 by Penguin

I’m going to start this review with a warning: Charles Townshend is one of my favorite historians. I have read few historians who can take complicated messes and break them down into short, easy to understand chapters within a chapter, while also providing keen analysis and insight in a mostly unbiased way. Additionally, his book, the Rising,  may or may not have saved my ass when writing my graduate paper.

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