In preparing this blog, I realise how little I know about the 1916 Proclamation, the Signatories and the Easter Rising. While this blog only touches the tip of the story of the Proclamation I hope it is of interest to some and creates a dialogue to learn some more fascinating tip-bits from other Wild Geese!
The Irish Proclamation, one of the most important documents from Irish history, as mainly written by Padraig Pearse, who read it out under the portico of the GPO just before noon on Easter Monday 1916. The Proclamation declared Ireland as a sovereign independent Republic. Copies of the proclamation were then pasted on buildings around Dublin city centre.
A thousand copies of the proclamation had been printed in secret at Liberty Hall on the night before and morning of Easter Monday 1916, in time for the start of the Rising. Added to the very tight deadline for printing, there were problems with the design and layout of the original document, which the typesetters and printers did well to overcome considering the tension and danger they were in.
Three typesetters were used: Willie O’Brien, Michael Molloy and Christopher Brady. All had difficulty with the supply of type letters and lack of same size or font, which resulted in the text of the final document being mismatched. The document had to be printed in two halves due to the lack of type set, the top half of the document was printed first and then the bottom section was printed on the same paper.
The document measured 20 x 30” (a popular theatre poster size of the time), white in colour with a greyish tinge. The paper used was actually quite a poor quality, it was thin and easily tore, supplied by the Swift Brook Paper Mill in Saggart, County Dublin, who had a reputation for quality paper, but the paper provided in 1916 was poorer than the Mill’s normal quality as the linen normally used in the production of paper was used for bandages during the Great War, which meant all paper produced at the time was a poorer quality.
It is thought there are about 30 to 50 of the original 1,000 copies still in existence. The actual original signed Irish Proclamation was never found and was more than likely destroyed during the surrender or soon after. Seán T. O’Kelly, who participated in the 1916 Rising and who became president of Ireland, presented his copy to the Irish parliament building and is on display in Leinster House.
Other original copies of the Irish Proclamation can be seen in the National Print Museum in Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, National Museum of Ireland in Dublin and in the GPO Museum.
Every year on Easter Sunday, as part of the 1916 Rising commemorations, an officer of the Irish Defence Forces reads the Irish Proclamation outside the GPO.
Signatories to the Irish Proclamation 1916
Thomas James Clarke
- First signatory of the Irish Proclamation due to his seniority.
- Born on the Isle of Wight, 1857.
- Father was a soldier in the British army.
- Spent time in America as a young man where he joined Clann na nGael, later to return to America his connection to Clann na nGael brought him to a strong position in the revolutionary movement in Ireland.
- Served a 15 year prison term for his part in a bombing campaign in London, 1883-1898.
- Treasurer of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and a member of the Supreme Council from 1915.
- Easter Rising, occupied the GPO.
- Executed 3rd May 1916.
- Born in Leitrim, 1884.
- Emigrated to Glasgow in 1900, then to Belfast in 1902.
- Member of the Gaelic League.
- Joined Republic Brotherhood in 1906 when in Belfast.
- Moved to Dublin in 1908.
- Became manager of IRB’s newspaper ‘Irish Freedom’ in 1910.
- Afflicted with polio in 1912.
- Drafted onto military committee of IRB I 1915.
- Easter Rising, occupied the GPO.
- Executed 12th May 1916.
- Born in Dublin, 1879.
- Interested in Irish culture since a teenager.
- 1896 became a member of the Executive Committee of the Gaelic League.
- Graduated from the Royal University 1901, degree in Arts & Law.
- Published extensively in both Irish and English.
- Became editor of the newspaper of the Gaelic League ‘An Claidheamh Soluis’.
- Founder member of the Irish Volunteers and the author of the Proclamation of Independence.
- Present in the GPO during the Rising, Commander in Chief of the Irish forces.
- Executed on 3rd May 1916.
- Born in Edinburgh in 1868.
- Was a member of the British army, stint in Ireland.
- Returned to Scotland and the strong Irish presence in Edinburgh developed Connelly’s interest in Irish politics in the mid 1890s.
- Emigrated to Dublin in 1896.
- Founded the Irish Socialist Republication Party.
- Spent time in America before returning to Ireland to campaign for worker’s rights with James Larkin.
- Also campaigned against religious bigotry.
- Co-founder of the Irish Citizen Army in 1913.
- Easter Rising, appointed Commandant-General of the Dublin forces, leader of the group who occupied the GPO. Wounded during their Easter Rising.
- Executed sitting in a chair as unable to stand due to his wounds, 12 May 1916. Last of the leaders to be executed.
- Born in Tipperary, 1878.
- Moved to Dublin to study, became a teacher and founded St. Enda’s school with Padraig Pearse.
- Position at the English Department, University College Dublin
- Wrote play ‘When the Dawn is Come’, produced at the Abbey.
- Appointed director of training for the Irish Volunteers in 1914.
- Appointed to the IRB military committee in 1916
- Easter Rising, Commander of the Second Battalion of Volunteers, occupied Jacob’s biscuit factory.
- Executed 3rd May 1916
- Born in Galway, 1891
- Employed by the Dublin Corporation
- Co-founder of the Irish Volunteers, involved in the Howth gun-running operation in 1914
- Interest in Irish culture, Irish language and history
- Played the Uileann Pipes
- Easter Rising, Commander of the Fourth Battalion of Irish Volunteers, taking possession of the South Dublin Union (now St. James’ Hospital)
- Executed on 8th May 1916.
Joseph Mary Plunkett
- Born in Dublin, 1887.
- Son of a papal count, educated in England, returned to Ireland and graduated from U.C.D. in 1909.
- Travelled for two years before returning to Dublin in 1911.
- Love of literature and became editor of the Irish Review. With MacDonagh and Edward Martyn he established an Irish National Theatre.
- Joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913.
- Became a member of the IRB in 1914.
- Travelled to Germany to meet Roger Casement in 1915.
- Appointed Director of Military Operations during the Rising, with overall responsibility for military strategy.
- Easter Rising, occupied the GPO.
- While imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol following the surrender he married Grace Gifford.
- Executed on 4th May 1916
Framed 1916 Proclamation, 18" x 14", €55.90
Review: "Delighted with the gift which I purchased for a birthday present. Would definitely recommend this website."
Mounted Proclamation, 10" x 12", €16
Review: "Excellent service from Totally Irish Gifts. Fast delivery, beautiful gift wrapping."
Proclamation Art Mounted, 13" x 10", €20
Review "Was very pleased with this product, very good quality and prompt delivery."
Proclamation Hurl, 24" Ash Hurl, €30
Review "Being an ex-pat living abroad, its always difficult to get gifts to family and friends for special occasions. I purchased this gift last minute. It was processed and delivered within two days and a very happy father was had for father's day. Thank you team!"
1916 Commemorative Coin, €34.50
Review: "Gift for my Dad and he is delighted with it. Service was excellent. Very quick turnaround."
Prices correct at time of blog, prices on our website may increase or go on sale at different times during the year.
Sign up to receive our Newsletter to keep up-to-date on special off...