The Easter Rising in Ireland, 1916
In November 1913 the Irish Volunteers were formed in Dublin and 4,000 enrolled on that first night. In 1914 Padraig Pearse went to America to raise funds to save his Gaelic school, St. Enda’s. This was achieved and Pearse turned his attention to revolutionary matters.
On his return from America he sought 1,000 rifles from McGarrity. He as assisted by Seán Mac Diarmada, Eamonn Ceannt and Seán Fitzgibbon. Pearse was convinced that the revolutionary force in Ireland had never been better organised or equipped.
His speech in 1914 reflected this, ” It is my matured conviction that, given arms, the Volunteers who have adhered to us as against Redmond may be depended upon to act vigorously, courageously, promptly, and unitedly if the opportunity comes. We are at the moment in an immensely stronger position than ever before. The whole body of Volunteers that has supported our stand against recruiting may be looked upon as a separatist body. In other words, the separatist organisation has been multiplied by a hundred.
In Dublin, we have some 2,500 admirably disciplined, drilled, intelligent, and partly armed men. Nationalist Ireland has never before had such an asset. Our main strength is in Dublin, but large minorities support us everywhere, especially in the towns and in the extreme South and West. We expect to have 150 companies, representing 10,000 to 15,000 men, represented by delegates at next Sunday’s Convention.
This small, compact, perfectly disciplined, determined separatist force is infinitely more valuable than the unwieldy, loosely-held together mixum-gatherum force we had before the split. The Volunteers we have with us now may be relied upon to the death, and we are daily perfecting their fighting effectiveness and mobilisation power. It seems a big thing to say, but I do honestly believe that, with arms for these men, we shall be ready to act with tremendous effect if the war brings us the moment.
The spirit of our Dublin men is wonderful. They would rise tomorrow if we gave the word. A meeting of Dublin officers the other night was as exhilarating as a draught of wine.
We gain daily in the country as Redmond’s treachery or imbecility becomes more manifest. The recruiting campaign has failed utterly, and already he is a discredited politician.”