Image (Above): "The Irish Flag," Government of Ireland, 2014
While exploring possible topics for this year’s theme, “Conflict and Compromise,” we wanted to study an event in history that was relatively unknown while possessing significant international influence. In addition, we both have a common passion for understanding the complexities behind how things came to be. Nothing fit these criteria better than Ireland’s extensive fight for independence, which is cluttered with an immense amount of conflicts and compromises. Upon discovering the Easter Rising, we were fascinated by the Irish rebels’ vision for a free country and their desire to make this vision a reality.
We began our research by studying the history of the Irish nationalist movement, starting from the late 18th century. With the aid of multiple archives, books, and different collections, we began to understand the intricacies of the Irish’s struggle. We collected many of our quotes and images from primary documents in these collections and started to widen our knowledge on the Rising. We expanded our knowledge further when studying the international effects and the Sinn Féin party through interviews, articles and newspapers. From our research, we were able to understand how the Rising was much more than a small domestic conflict; it was a key puzzle piece in shaping Irish history.
We chose to compete in the website category because we were provided with the most amount of student-composed words than any other category, which meant that creating a website was most suitable in illustrating our interpretation of the Easter Rising. In addition, creating a website suited our strengths of design and technology, allowing us to express our ideas of the Rising in an interactive way. We also enjoyed the benefit of being able to work on our entry anytime, anywhere, without the hassles of meeting up every time a change had to be made. Following this, we decided to collaborate together in the group category because our personalities complimented each other well and we were both equally passionate about creating a National History Day project.
Our project relates to this year’s theme of conflict and compromise because Easter Rising started as a failed rebellion that turned into a symbolic sign of change and affirmation against the British forces. Though the revolt was short-lived, the conflict was still apparent through the rebels’ passion of separating their nation from Britain. Though many of the rebel leaders were executed, their passion would drive Éamon de Valera’s nationalistic campaign to success. The compromise of excusing Éamon de Valera from execution proved to be revolutionary. Prior to the Rising, the thought of an emancipated Ireland would have been a dream to the Irish public. With many wanting to make this dream a reality, they supported Éamon de Valera’s independence movement. Led by de Valera and the Sinn Féin party, the rebels’ perception of an independent Ireland came into existence and inspired many other movements around the globe. Ultimately, the failure of Easter Rising was transformed into a compromise that fulfilled Patrick Pearse’s ideology: “Ireland Unfree Shall Never Be At Peace!”