How the lives of working-class people improved thanks to the 1916 Rising

Examples of the ways revolution made life better for the poor in Ireland

1916 rising

The 1916 Rising, as we all know, was about Freedom.

Wolfe Tone told us all about Freedom, as did John Mitchel, even though Mitchel’s concept of Freedom didn’t quite extend to those Africans whose slavery he worked tirelessly to defend in America.

And Pearse explained at the grave of O’Donovan Rossa that anyone who disagreed with Tone and Mitchel was nothing short of a blasphemer.

But anyway, let’s talk about Freedom, and in particular, let’s talk about the freedom of the poor, of the workers, of the oppressed, since there isn’t any other sort of freedom worth a penny bag of sweets.

Here, we won’t talk about concepts like Nationhood, since those great notions never put so much as a boiled spud on a poor man’s table  or a shoe on the foot of a poor man’s child.

Instead, let us talk about the pressing issues of the poor. Food. Shelter. Health. Money.

I intend to draw up a list of all the practical ways in which the poor directly benefited as a result of the 1916 Rising, but I’ll do it with the help of the readers.  We’ll make a list together.

Please feel free to provide examples.

What were the tangible ways in which poor people found themselves better off following the 1916 Rising?


23 thoughts on “How the lives of working-class people improved thanks to the 1916 Rising

  1. No bother, I’ll start with this. The summer of 1916 was especially warm and the autumn was mild right up to December. Surely, this meant less money spent on heating the tenements.

  2. For Balance….might also be worth a List of things that dis-improved, I am not fully sure but Divorce?, Reduced Pension?, More Censorship? Contraception?

  3. Emmmm I don’t hold with 1916 improving anything conservative middle class privilege blowing up the GPO which meant that women and families went without payment for men serving during WW1.That lot were the forerunners to the lot we have today, blinkered twits.

  4. The spontaneous looting probably had a short term benefit for the inner city Dublin poor. But that pseudo aristocrat Yeats might have shouted, “You have disgraced yourselves again!”

  5. Maybe they got some work helping to rebuild the mess that was caused by the rising. Other than that i have no idea.

  6. ‘The only difference between being part of the United Kingdom and being independent is, with one you get a crown on your eviction notice and with the other you get a harp’.

  7. The lives of Irish working class people changed in ways that the lives of the Palestinian working classes have not changed .

  8. It’s actually hilarious when you hear Irish politicians trying to copy various systems that are in place in various sectors in the UK. It’s almost as if, as if…..

  9. The breath of a perspective unhindered by 600 years of arrested development.

    The chance at self determination  facilitating  a natural and more
    Scandinavian societal evolution…… leading to a fair distribution of wealth and a nation’s agreement to the   retention of national assets.

    The guilt free desertion of an unwashed car in the driveway.

    A floundered church unable to impose it’s hierarchy, dependant doctrine.

    A nation’s culture not dependant on alcohol or hallucinogens .

    Unencumbered methods of queueing .

  10. You’ve been seen washing your car…

    And seriously, was your question about the change to a working class Dub’s life resulting from 2 ? weeks of “revolution ” ?

  11. Or maybe if they had been all of an ilk as with Connolly’s Citizen Army which marched from Liberty Hall under the flag of the starry plough….
    A possible Irish version of the Bolshevik Revolution might have happened ………in my dreams. Pierce and his,.I suppose very brave men and women who fought, , were led by a ‘ backroom’ Irish Pseudo Aristocracy who included many good Priests and Bishops who kept Ireland for the shop keepers, the farmers and the Church. Collectively, the property owners who a couple of generations previously had ruled by dictat. Our very own right wing hierarchy. They had no intention of letting ‘the land’ fall to the plebs. Later on they killed the rise of the soviets in Limerick and a few other pockets of socialism. All resistance was dead …by the late 1920’s……we live in their shadow…..(jaysus, I’m such a joyous creature this day…….)

  12. The 1919 Soviet in Limerick had nothing to do with socialism. It was in direct response to the city being effectively shut down by the British authorities. The exchange of goods and services for the soviet currency required the cooperation of businesses and customers alike. I’m sure all parties were relieved to see the city reopen to normal commercial activities.

    The most effective way to improve the lot of working class people is through education, but in class ridden societies ones background means more than ones ability.

  13. In 1895, cilfden, Connemara was a desperately poor , isolated part of Ireland.

    Chief Secretary Arthur Balfour pushed through a bill to build a railway. The construction provided welcome employment. In 1907, Marconi identified clifden to be a technology hub. Employing 400 directly and another 1500 indirectly, things were looking up for Connemara.
    Then 1916 happened.
    In 1922, the brave boys of the IRA decided that Guglielmo Marconi was a Brit, and so blew up the transmitting station. About 2000 were made unemployed. They blew up the railway, by then essential for the farming and fishing industry.
    And so back to poverty for another 40 years, ending with the destruction of the railway.
    Not a good start to independence.

    “The opening of the transatlantic radio station in Clifden took place on 17 October 1907, thus fulfilling the ambitious dream of Marconi to establish a regular radio link between the coasts of the old and the new continent. The 300 acreage needed for the construction were purchased in 1905 by the Kendall family of Derrygimlagh.
    Being one of the largest industrial parks in Ireland in those years, the station gave a major boost to the area, creating new jobs. Among the 400 people who worked in the station, the most famous was certainly Jack Phillips, the heroic radiotelegrapher who kept on sending SOS messages until the sinking of “Titanic”.
    Attacked by the IRA forces in 1922, the plant was badly damaged and Marconi wasn’t even refunded by the Government. The station never reverted to its complete efficiency and was gradually dismissed within a few years.”

  14. US TV court drama…. defending attorney interrupts

    = “ objection , leading the witness “

    That’s what you’re at kid .

    Yeah , & sentiment is understandable what with loads of irrelevant and inaccurate remembrances – everyone’s got an agenda innit !

    But to trivialize the 700 years of oppression ……. the existential pain – the butchers apron – the black and tans = the tain bo chiuile – Finn McChuill – The death of a language = the slaughter of innocents – the hedge school – wrap the green flag round me boys – bloody Sunday the 1st – the red coats – Oliver Plunket nearly a saint after losing the head – the ruination of place names – mushy peas – tabloids – 1798 – when Ireland takes its place among the nations – the wild swans – a terrible beauty – the booming famine wheat exports – Manchester United ……


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