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Patrick Pearse.

Famous Irish People.

(1879- 1916)

Pearse was born on November 10, 1879 in 27 Pearse Street Dublin, originally called Great Brunswick Street, his mother was Irish, his father an English sculptor. He took a degree in law at the Royal University and King's Inns (though he never practiced) later he took a degree in modern languages from University College, Dublin (1901).

Pearse was passionate about the Irish language, literature and culture, in 1899 he joined the Gaelic League. An Claidheamh Solais (“The Sword of Light”) he soon rose to be leader, The League published a weekly journal in which was published many of his essays, short stories and pamphlets, he became editor of the journal in 1903. The journal and Pearse in particular played a large part in the development of modern Irish literature.

St Enda's College in Rathmines, County Dublin was founded by Pearse his brother William and Thomas MacDonagh in 1908. The college was dedicated to education along the ideals set out by the League

In 1910 Pearse built a cottage on a hill overlooking a small Lough in County Galway. It was used by him for holidays and to improve his Irish The cottage is open to the public.

In November 1913 he joined the leadership of the newly formed Irish Volunteers, a militia group founded in opposition to the Protestant Ulster Volunteer Force.

Pearse's views had become increasingly radical, in July 1914 the joined the supreme council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). With the war raging in Europe the organization perceived an opportunity to force political change in Ireland. Pearse and the leaders planned an uprising to begin on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916. Pearse led the army to the General Post Office building in Sackville Street (now O'Connell Street), Dublin, and read aloud a proclamation announcing the birth of a new Irish republic, this document was signed by Pearse and six others.

British troops crushed the rising. Pearse was tried and sentenced to death under the emergency legislation of the Defense of the Realm Acts. He was executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Goal on May 3, 1916 and was buried in Arbour Hill cemetery.

At the time it is said that the uprising did not enjoy widespread support, the population of Dublin endured great hardship at the time, however the the response to the executions, marked a significant change in the Irish nationalist movement, with more people supporting the cause.

It is evident from Pearse's own writings that he appreciated the importance of martyrdom to any cause. There is no doubt that his defiant idealism was influential in ultimately establishing the Irish Free State in 1921.

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