Tag Archives: The Easter Rising Stories

“Christmas in the Historic Years”

In the 1955 The Derry Journal published an article “Christmas in the Historic Years”, by Seumas G. O”Ceallaigh. It documented the festive season in the historic or revolutionary years 1915-1920. Below is what he recalled of 1918.


On November 11th, 1918, the Great War ended, and o November 25th the British Parliament was dissolved. December 14th was Polling Day, and Sinn Fein was working under great difficulties.

Most of its responsible leaders were in jail, arrested under “The German Plot” scare in June of that year.

It seemed impossible that an organisation which was practically leaderless could win a General Election, but in Ireland “the impossible, always happens, and the inevitable never,” as a famous Trinity-man once remarked.

Father O’Flanagan, the famous Roscommon patriot priest, who had preached eloquently at Rome before the Pope and who in his day was one of the most noted preachers in Ireland, took over the leadership of the Election Campaign.

He visited the Irish towns and villages, and the result was, as we all know, a resounding victory for Sinn Fein, who came back from the polls with over 70 seats. Before the election they had held only three.

Christmas Day, 1918 saw bonfires burning on every hillside, tricolours flying from tree-tops, and the nation watching and waiting for the first freely elected Irish Parliament since the Confederation of Kilkenny, over 300 years before.

The Derry Journal, December 21st 1955


The Derry Journal, December 21st 1955

The Easter Rising Stories YouTube Channel by Marcus Howard

Women in the Anti Conscription Campaign of 1918

Anti-conscription Pledge

“Denying the right of the British Government to enforce Compulsory service in this Country we pledge ourselves solemnly to one another to resist Conscription by the most effective means at our disposal.”

Above is the wording of the Anti-conscription Pledge devised in April 1918. During the summer after a major offensive by the Germans in April there was a  conscription crisis in Britain. Ireland had been exempt from enforced conscription since 1915. To read more about how it came about:

Within weeks of the World War One beginning in the summer of 1914, there were already some who, fearing that conscription was likely, emigrated from Ireland. From the summer of 1915 compulsory military service had become a live possibility. Read more

The papers contained many articles as the one below in The Irish Independent of 25 June 1918:

“Irishmen Soldiers

In future Irishmen crossing to Great Britain for munition or Government work will be called up for military service in the same manner as other British Subjects, Mr. Beck told a questioner in Parliament yesterday but Irishmen in munition factories will not be compulsorily recruited before they are given an opportunity of returning to Ireland.

It was stated that 40,000 had crossed since Oct. 1916, but that the undertaking given to them would be unaltered at present. “The new decision – which Mr. Beck told Mr. Lough he didn’t think would require legislation – will not affect those brought across by the Ministry of Labour. or those holding employment Exchange certificates.

Sir Edward Carson put a couple of questions about hose men being younger than men called up for service, and Mr. Beck had no doubt many for them were. The men referred to would be liable to military service only for administrative action protecting them on the ground that they came over in response to a Government request.”

The women of Ireland did not want to see their sons partaking in a war that was not of their making.

To find out more watch the informative YouTube video; Filmed by Marcus Howard. Liz Gillis gives a talk on women in the 1918 Anti Conscription Campaign. The talk was filmed at the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Anti Conscription Conference in The Mansion House. Liz Gillis is a historian, author and researcher having written “The Fall of Dublin”, “Women of the Irish Revolution”, “The Hales Brothers and the Irish Revolution” and “May 25th: The Burning of the Custom House 1921”.




Irish Independent 25 June 1918
Irish Citizen 06 July 1918