Century: Home Rule and Ulster's Resistance

Though his opinions were often controversial, Arthur Griffith, the founder of Sinn Féin who would head the Treaty negotiations in 1921, was a major figure in the fight for Irish independence

The introduction by Prime Minister Herbert Asquith of a third effort to grant Home Rule led to a increasingly bitter debate in the House of Commons, with the Unionist politicians hell bent on scuppering the proposal.

As James Joyce's writings reflect, 1912 was a time of unease, with Unionists flocking to sign their anti-Home Rule Covenant in blood and some republicans looking back to an ancient, common Celtic past for inspiration

Social and economic conditions were improving for large sections of Irish society during the early years of the 20th century and the increasing prosperity fuelled a growing desire for political independence.

For a newspaper which largely represented the views of Protestants in southern Ireland, the move to introduce Home Rule was 'a conspiracy to interrupt and destroy the peace and prosperity of Ireland'

In 1912, after it was announced that a Home Rule Bill would be introduced for Ireland, there was turmoil in the North. Unionists gathered in Belfast to protest, old hatreds, welled up and the idea of partition loomed

The Unionist leader sought to maintain all of Ireland in the UK and saw the severing of the 26 counties in 1921 as British government betrayal

After Independence, the moderate Home Rule party was effectively airbrushed out of official Irish history, but it left its mark on politics – North and South

Herbert Asquith, British prime minister from 1908 until 1916, was at the height of his powers when he made a trip to Dublin in 1912 to counter the Conservative opposition's near-treasonous support for Ulster resistance

The distinctive Irish ideology of “nationalism” evolved as an expression of our desire and increasing capacity to rule ourselves, but, like elsewhere, wrapped in all the supposed trappings of nationhood


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