Liverpool

Liverpool's volunteers who fought in the Easter Uprising

George King Image copyright Museum of Liverpool
Image caption George King, aged 20, wearing the Liverpool Irish Volunteer uniform

The stories of volunteers from Liverpool who fought in the Easter Uprising in Dublin in 1916 are being told at an exhibition in the city.

The Liverpool Irish Volunteers were 50 young men and women who took up arms as part of the rebellion to overthrow British rule in Ireland.

The Republican flag that was raised over the General Post Office was done so by Joe Gleeson, a Liverpool man.

Photographs, medals and letters show why the volunteers took action.

Teachers and journalists, clerks and dockers were united by their commitment to Irish independence.

Image copyright Museum of Liverpool
Image caption The King brothers. George, Patrick and John, all took part in the rebellion, where John was severely wounded. Their younger brother, Edward, also fought in the Irish War of Independence

The exhibition - compiled by Liverpool Easter 1916 Commemoration Committee - also features the King brothers. George, Patrick and John King crossed the Irish Sea to fight in the rebellion.

Dr Kevin McNamara said the archive material unearthed from descendants, families and the libraries of Liverpool shone a spotlight on a "forgotten chapter" in the city's history.

He said the exhibition provides "a focal point enabling people to explore the motivations of the men and women who travelled to Ireland and the reactions of those in Liverpool when they returned".

"It is a significant chapter both in Ireland's history but also in the shared heritage this city has with Ireland".

The display at the Museum of Liverpool is part of events in the city to mark the centenary of the battle for independence in Ireland.

Some of the Liverpool Irish Volunteers went on to take part in the Irish War of Independence (1919-21) and the Irish Civil War (1922-23).

Others returned home and continued to meet at the Irish Centre in Liverpool's Mount Pleasant until the 1980s.

The Easter Rising was quelled within six days by British troops, but despite its failure it is seen as a significant stepping stone to the eventual creation of the Republic of Ireland and the partition of Ireland.

More than 450 people were killed and 2,500 injured during the fighting.

Image copyright Museum of Liverpool
Image caption Piaras Béaslaí was born in Liverpool in 1881 and was a writer who spoke fluent Irish. He was a founder member of the Irish Volunteers. He was a Member of the Irish Parliament from 1918-26

What's in the exhibition?

Image copyright Museum of Liverpool
Image caption Private George King’s court martial 1917. George and Patrick both refused to obey orders or wear a British uniform. They were sentenced to six months detention
  • Tom Craven's diary. Tom established a garrison for English Volunteers at Kimmage near Dublin early in 1916
  • The story of John, Patrick and George King, three brothers who took part in the Rising
  • The women who were heavily involved in the military action with some fighting alongside the men in the rebel garrisons
  • Patrick Reid's medals. Patrick was only 16 when he fought in the Rising, based at the GPO

1916 Easter Rising: the Liverpool connection opens at the Museum of Liverpool on 20 April

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