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Patrick Henry Pearse


Writer, educationalist, and signatory of the 1916 Proclamation, Patrick Pearse was born on Great Brunswick Street in 1879. Although he studied law and was called to the bar in 1901, Pearse dedicated most of his early life to cultural and educational pursuits. He founded the New Ireland Literary Society in 1897 and, having joined the Gaelic League a year earlier, became editor of the Claidheamh Soluis newspaper in 1903. He lectured in Irish at University College Dublin and, in 1908, established St Enda’s College, with the intention of providing a modern and distinctively Irish education for boys. Initially a supporter of Home Rule, Pearse’s nationalist views became more radical as the years progressed. He played a leading role in the foundation of Irish Volunteers in November 1913 and joined the IRB a month later. After making a famous oration at the funeral of Jeremiah O’Donovan-Rossa, Pearse was elected to the Supreme Council of the IRB in September 1915 and joined the Military Council, with whom he contributed in the planning of an insurrection. He was chosen by the council to be President of the Provisional Government and Commander in Chief during the Easter Rising. He was stationed at the rebels’ GPO headquarters, where he read out the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, a document which he had largely written. After a week of heavy fighting, Pearse signed an unconditional surrender to the British Army and was executed in Kilmainham Gaol on the 3rd May, 1916.

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