the Easter Rising 100 years on

ImageColm Tóibín,Anne Enright, Roddy Doyle, etc., at The Guardian:

In the early hours of the Thursday of Easter week 1916 my grandfather came into the front bedroom of the small house in Enniscorthy. His sons woke and watched as he lifted some of the floorboards and removed a rifle. The Rising in Dublin had begun on Monday, but outside Dublin there was confusion. To get a clear idea of what was happening, a man called Paul Galligan had gone by bicycle the 75 miles from Enniscorthy to Dublin, arriving on Easter Sunday. The following day he met with three of the leaders of the Dublin Rebellion in the General Post Office. He was told to go back home to Enniscorthy and instruct the other members of the movement to take the town and hold the railway line, thus stopping British forces from getting from Rosslare to Dublin. He rode back to Enniscorthy by a circuitous route so he would not be detained, arriving on the Wednesday. The Rising in Enniscorthy began the following morning. Between 100 and 200 took part at the beginning, although more joined later. Compared to Dublin, the Enniscorthy Rising was small. No one was killed; two or three were wounded; no buildings were destroyed. “We had one day of blissful freedom,” one of the Enniscorthy leaders said. (The Rising lasted just a few days.) But perhaps its real importance came when the Rebellion ended. The British arrested almost 300 people in Enniscorthy and its environs. One of these – Séamus Doyle – was even sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted. In later years, he lived in a house close to ours and devoted himself to the growing of roses and grumbling about boys who kicked their football into his garden.

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