Educational Travel Lesson Plans

Ireland and the Easter Rising of 1916



Through the investigation of primary and secondary sources, students here will identify, understand and be able to explain the Eastern Rising of 1916, including the reasons behind the Rising, what happened during the six day rebellion, and finally how the legacy of the Rising is seen by the Irish people today.


European History

World History

Grade Level



90 minutes

Tour Links

  • General Post Office, Dublin
  • Kilmainham Gaol Museum, Dublin

Essential Questions

  • What was the Easter Rising of 1916?
  • Why did the Irish want independence from Great Britain? 
  • Why did the United Kingdom want to hold on to Ireland? 
  • What was the Sinn Fein movement? 
  • What did those involved want? 
  • What was the Irish Republican Brotherhood?
  • What was the Irish Republican Army?
  • Who was Michael Collins?

Key Terms

  • Easter Rising
  • General Post Office, Dublin
  • Home Rule
  • Irish Republican Army
  • Irish Republican Brotherhood
  • Michael Collins
  • Patrick Pearse
  • Sinn Fein


IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom. 

Having organized and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organization, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organizations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory. 

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonor it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its velour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government:

Proclamation of the Irish Republic (also known as the Easter Proclamation), 1916

On Easter Sunday, 24 April 1916, rebels from the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Irish Volunteers took over selected sites in Dublin in an armed rebellion designed to end British rule in Ireland.  Declaring themselves as the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic, they raised an Irish flag over the General Post Office.  The “Rising” as it can to be known, lasted six days and cost over 400 deaths and over 2500 wounded.  After six days, the British Army surrounded the General Post Office where the rebels were holed up.  After a period of shelling, insurgent leaders finally accepted unconditional surrender.  The Easter Rising was over.  Its leaders were court-martialed and executed by the British government. 

But the Easter Rebellion was just the beginning, not the end.  Within a year, a new organization, Sinn Fein (Gaelic for “We Ourselves”) arose and led the drive for independence.  After a three-year war for independence, the Irish Free State was granted independence in 1922. 

Through the investigation of primary and secondary sources, students here will identify, understand and be able to explain the Eastern Rising of 1916, including the reasons behind the Rising, what happened during the six day rebellion, and finally how the legacy of the Rising is seen by the Irish people today.

educational tour image
  1. Students will identify, understand and be able to explain the reasons behind the Easter Rising of 1916.
  2. Students will identify, understand and be able to explain the details behind the Easter Rising of 1916.
  3. Students will identify, understand and be able to explain the legacy of the Easter Rising of 1916 and how the people of Ireland see the Rising today.

To view resource web pages, download the lesson plan PDF above.

I. Anticipatory Set

  • Writing / Question: What’s the difference between rebels and patriots? (5 min)
  • Handouts – Copies of documents and readings from the websites listed. (5 min)

II. Body of Lesson

  • Lecture / PPT – The Easter Rising of 1916 (20 min)
  • Video – The Easter Rising 1916 – Fergal Keane Documentary (10 min)
  • Independent Activity – Students read the articles and sources on the Easter Rising of 1916, taking notes as appropriate.  (20 min)
  • Suggestion: Have the students read some of these articles and sources for homework before class.
  • Group Activity – Socratic Seminar: Discussion on Ester Rising of 1916 and its legacy. (15 min)

III. Closure

  • Exit Ticket / Assessment – Short Essay: Explain in detail the Easter Rising of 1916, what brought about the rebellion, and what legacy the Rising has in Ireland today.


On tour: Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square, Dublin

While on tour, students can visit the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square at the northern end of O’Connell St. in Dublin (less than 1000 meters walk from the General Post Office – behind Rotunda Hospital).  The garden, established in 1966 on the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising, is dedicated to those who lost their lives fighting for Irish independence, not just in the Eastern Rising of 1916, but in a number of other famous uprisings from 1798-1921.  On the stone wall of the garden is a 1976 poem (in both English and Gaelic) by Irish writer Liam Mac Uistin titled “We Saw a Vision.”  To show how much has changed since the Eastern Rising, in 2011, Queen Elizabeth II laid a wreath in the garden during her state visit.  Please let students know that the garden is intended as a place of quiet remembrance.


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