This coin was specially created and issued in 1966 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland, 1916. The side of the coin features the lettering ‘eiri amac na casca’ that means 1916 Easter Rising. The letter runs around the entire sides of the coin.
The first side of the coin features the facial side profile of Padraig Pearse who was one of the leaders in the Easter Rising. The second side of the coin shows the mythical Irish hero Cú Chulainn. The design of the Cú Chulainn is based off a statue created by Oliver Sheppard that sits in the General Post Office in Dublin.
An interesting trait that this coin has is the fact that it was the only Irish coin in modern circulation that does not feature the Irish Harp on either of the sides. It was also the only coin to feature a person of historical or political significance.
The coins are popular currently and I expect that they will grow in popularity as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising this weekend.
The Easter Rising:
The Easter Rising was the start of Ireland’s stepping stone to a Republic. The rising took place throughout Dublin from the 24th April 1916 to the 30th April 1916. Approximately 1,200 men and women from the Irish Volunteers, the trade union groups, the Irish Citizen Army and the women’s group Cumman na mban spread throughout Dublin taking over landmarks such as the GPO and Boland’s Mill.
Seven men planned the rising in secret. These include Tom Clarke, Sean McDermott, Padraig Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, Joseph Plunkett, James Connolly and Eamon Ceannt. These men were members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and formed a military council. They were also the signatories of the Irish Proclamation.
With the failure of attempt of Roger Casement to deliver arms and ammunition after being caught by the British Army in Cork, the rising plans were revealed to Eoin MacNeill, who tried to call off the rebellion. He failed and the rising went ahead.
The rising took place throughout Dublin. The Nationalists occupied the General Post Office, the four courts, Boland’s Mill, St Stephens Green and Jacobs biscuit factory.
The GPO was surrounded by British troops and resulted in approximately 450 people being killed, 300 of those were civilians. Padraig Pearse issued an unconditional surrender. This event was a catalyst for the war of independence, civil war and the declaration of the republic in 1949.
The Irish public did not support the rising at first. However, with the executions of those who signed the proclamation held in secret at Kilmainham Gaol, many people turned their support for Sinn Fein and they became known as martyrs.
Padraig Pearse: A brief introduction:
Padraig Pearse joined the Gaelic League at the age of 21. He wanted to help promote the Irish traditions and language. He was also editior of the Irish newspaper An Claidheamh Solais (The Sword of Light). He founded St Enda’s college in 1908 in order to promote the Irish language. The school spoke both Irish and English.
He came into the view of the Irish republic after his speech at O Donovan Rossa funeral in 1915. He quoted ‘Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.’ His views became more militant due to the influence of O Donovan Rossa. He is a founder of the Irish Volunteers and an author of the Proclamation of Independence. He was executed in 1916 at Kilmainham Gaol. Pearse is buried in Arbour Hill County Dublin along side James Connolly and John McBride.
Today, Pearse Street is named after him in his honor.
I will be posting many more 1916 sites and places of commemoration that are available to visit in Dublin in upcoming blogs. If you enjoyed this blog, be sure to check out my other travel blogs here or scroll down on this page for more categories. Be sure to follow my Instagram @conalphoto for updates on my blogs, announcements and giveaways.