Kilmainham Gaol text Collection title

Historical Context

prisoners

Prisoners being marched to Kilmainham in the wake of the Easter Rising.

The years from the first passage of the Irish Home Rule Bill in 1912 to the ending of the Civil War in 1923 transformed Ireland completely. While a myriad of forces would shape Ireland during these years including the effects of World War One, the competing ideologies of Unionism, Nationalism and Republicanism, it is perhaps the 1916 Rising, and in particular the British response to it, that did much to radicalise Irish public opinion.

The aim of these pages is to explore and explain the history of the period that led to the large scale imprisonment of Irish men and women in the 1916-18 period. In specifically focusing on the legal processes that were used to arrest and imprison the Irish there is an explainer as to how the judicial process worked in such a period of upheaval. As the autograph books displayed here cover a variety of different prisons and places of incarceration, there is a piece on the various sites, their history and how the Irish prisoners came to be in a particular location at any given time. Finally, there is a focus on the prisoners themselves that looks at who they were and what their days were like inside the walls of the various prisons.

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