New movements in Ireland - The Buildup to the 1916 Rising
New Cultural Movements
The culture of a country are some of the non-physical
characteristics that make a country distinctive. Some examples
Art and Literature
This was the fear that Ireland was becoming more like
England every day – if we didn’t do something about it
we would be unfit to govern ourselves
Most Unionists had no problem with this but Nationalists
didn’t like it and set up organisations to halt the spread of
Did they succeed?
Gaelic Athletic Association
Set up by a Clare teacher named Michael Cusack in 1884
As well as establishing a new sport, it gave Irish men (always
men at this time) a chance to run a national organisation
Set up in 1893 by Douglas Hyde (who later became 1st
President of Ireland) and Eoin MacNeill. Wanted to end the
decline in people speaking the Irish language
It was also felt that Protestants and Catholics could cooperate
to revive the language – wishful thinking!
The Organisation published a paper called An Claidheamh
Soluis (Sword of Light) promoting the Irish Language
Still in existence today
The Literary Revival
WB Yeats and other poets and playwrights began writing plays
about Irish topics in the 1890s – up to this point most plays
were about English issues and topics (e.g. Shakespeare)
Yeats helped Lady Gregory set up the Abbey Theatre in 1904 –
at last Ireland had a theatre dedicated to promoting Irish plays
Most famous play was The Playboy of the Western World –
riots broke out in Dublin when it was first performed!
New Political Movements
Sinn Fein – set up in 1905 by Arthur Griffith. Same party is still
in existence today (current leader is Gerry Adams)
“Sinn Fein” means “ourselves alone” – wanted independence
from Britain but at the beginning was committed to peaceful
means (no IRA around in 1905).
Thought Irish people should just set up their own Parliament
in Dublin and ignore the British
Willing to keep the King as head of state so Unionists would
feel comfortable in an independent Ireland.
For many poor people it did not matter if Ireland was free or
not – they just wanted their living conditions to improve
There were people who wanted to end the poverty that
affected these people – they were known as Socialists
Some Socialists wanted to have a revolution to get rid of the
old system – James Connolly was one of these people
Statue of Connolly near Connolly Station
Other Socialists, like Jim Larkin wanted workers to form Trade
Unions. A trade union is a group of workers who act together
to improve their wages and living conditions.
Larkin set up the ITGWU to work for better wages. Workers
then went on strike (stopped working) to force their employers
to grant a pay rise
Biggest strike – 1913 lockout
Connolly formed Irish Citizen Army to protect
Workers from police attack
At the beginning of the 20th Century women had no right to
vote in Ireland – Feminists wanted to change that.
Hanna Sheehy Skeffington was the most prominent feminist.
She campaigned for “suffrage” – the right to vote
Peaceful and violent protests were used to give people the
right to vote.
Voting rights was finally granted to women in 1918 after World