100 years ago in Ireland…
I’ve just released my new novel entitled Swearing Allegiance. Some people have asked me why I wrote a book about WWI, using an Irish family in the central roles. Why not British? they asked. Well now, as the Irish say, there were two reasons. The first is that I have Irish blood running through my veins. My grandfather, David, was an Irish Catholic, who loved to sing Irish rebel songs. He also loved to shout insults at protestant marchers in Glasgow during the Orange walk days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning him for his religious and political ideals. I was just a little girl and didn’t know what all the fuss was about. But I did love those Irish songs.
The second reason is because this month marks the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, also known as the Easter Rebellion. It was an armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter week, April 1916. The Rising was launched by Irish Republicans to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic while the United Kingdom was heavily engaged in World War I. It was the most significant uprising in Ireland since the rebellion of 1798, and the first armed action of the Irish revolutionary period.
Organised by seven members of the Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Rising began on Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, and lasted for six days. Members of the Irish volunteers — led by schoolmaster and Irish language activist Patrick Pearse, joined by the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly, and 200 women of Cumann na mBan — seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed an Irish Republic.
You can imagine what happened. The British Army brought in thousands of reinforcements as well as artillery and a gunboat. There was fierce street fighting on the routes into the city centre, where the rebels put up stiff resistance, slowing the British advance and inflicting heavy casualties. Elsewhere in Dublin, the fighting mainly consisted of sniping and long-range gun battles. The main rebel positions were gradually surrounded and bombarded with artillery.
With much greater numbers and heavier weapons, the British Army suppressed the Rising, and Pearse agreed to an unconditional surrender on Saturday 29 April. After the surrender the country remained under martial law. About 3,500 people were taken prisoner by the British, many of whom had played no part in the Rising, and 1,800 of them were sent to interment camps or prisons in Britain. Most of the leaders of the Rising were executed following court martials……
I’d love to tell you more but I’m pretty sure you’re going to hear about the rebellion that shocked Ireland and the world, many times over, during the next few weeks.
Now I’m not selling my book here but if you want to learn more about those tumultuous times, through the eyes of an Irish family, read Swearing Allegiance.
Writing this book was a pretty wild ride. The characters did not go down the paths they were meant to travel. One of the main protagonists was a bit of a jerk until I got him/her into line, and I found myself feeling very emotional when putting a couple of dear people into the trenches on The Western Front. All in all it was a heartfelt project. Let’s hope readers find it an engrossing read.
Available on all Amazon sites.