Mythes et Héros / Myths and Heroes : Heroes of Irish Independence - Anglais - Terminale ES

Mythes et Héros / Myths and Heroes : Heroes of Irish Independence - Anglais - Terminale ES

digiSchool Bac ES met à votre disposition ce cours d'anglais, rédigé par notre professeur, sur la notion "Mythes et Héros"(Myths and Heroes).

Dans ce cours, vous vous intéresserez aux héros de l'indépendance de l'Irlande, à savoir James Connolly, patrick Pearse, Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, mais aussi Arthur Griffith et Bobby Sands.

Téléchargez gratuitement ci-dessous ce cours d'Anglais sur les héros de l'indépendance de l'Irlande.

Mythes et Héros / Myths and Heroes : Heroes of Irish Independence - Anglais - Terminale ES

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Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, after Great Britain. It is divided into four provinces: Connacht /ˈkɒnɔːt/, Leinster /ˈlɛnstə/, Munster /ˈmʌnstə/ and Ulster /ˈʌlstə/.

What defines Ireland? Is its identity based on its wild landscapes, pubs, music, shamrocks or leprechauns? Nowadays, a postcard Ireland is often what comes to mind when people picture Ireland. But there is a reason that Ireland is politically divided between the Republic of Ireland, also called Éire, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.


Historical background

The English Ireland: the British domination over the Irish

The history of Ireland has been shaped by its relations with Britain. Over centuries, England tried to dominate Ireland politically, economically and religiously. The Irish were imposed to speak English and obey English laws and customs. On a religious level, Ireland was Catholic and Britain was Protestant. Penal Laws forbade Catholics to vote or practice their religion. Such laws remained in effect until 1829. At the end of the 17th century began the plantation of Ulster. The plantation was a process by which thousands of English and Scottish settlers confiscated lands from the Irish, in order to control Ireland. Irish peasants were tenants under British landlords, producing cereals, potatoes and livestock but potatoes were the only product they could keep for themselves. The other products were used for paying rent and exported to Great Britain. These exportations continued during the Great Famine that struck Ireland from 1845 to 1849. The cause of famine was potato blight, which ravaged potato crops throughout Europe. About one million Irish died and another million immigrated, especially to the United States. The Irish accused the United Kingdom to have voluntary abandoned them: “The Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the famine”. John Mitchel, 1860.


To the independence

The end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century saw a revival of Irish nationalism and the creation of several movements, such as the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The aim was to maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland and to prepare a general rising against British occupation. In 1905 was founded Sinn Féin /ʃɪn ˈfeɪn/, a political party inspired by the revival of the Gaelic culture. Sinn Féin means “we ourselves” in Irish and its policy was to boycott the Parliament of Westminster, to passively resist to British occupation and to organise an independent economy.


The Easter Rising

The Easter Rising, also known as the Easter Rebellion, was an armed insurrection that happened in Dublin during Easter Week in 1916. The purpose was to establish an independent Irish Republic. The Proclamation of the Irish Republic was read from outside the General Post Office (GPO) in Dublin, announcing the establishment of an Irish Republic under a provisional government. Elsewhere in Dublin, armed men had taken over key points. The Rising lasted six days and was ended in failure. Many leaders were executed by British authorities and others were arrested.


Heroes of the Irish independence

Here are some of the many men who played a major role for Ireland.


James Connolly (1868 – 1916)

Born in Edinburgh to parents who had escaped Ireland during the Great Famine, James Connolly was deeply embedded in socialism. He was the one to create the Irish Citizen Army, in order to protect the Irish working-class and strikers. He took part of the Easter Rising but was wounded on the third day of the Rising. He was executed by British authorities on May 9th1916.


Patrick Pearse (1879 – 1916)

Irish teacher, writer, nationalist and political activist, Patrick Pearse was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising. It was Pearse who read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic from outside the GPO. After six days of fighting, he pronounced the surrender. He was arrested by British authorities and executed on the morning of May 3rd 1916.


Michael Collins (1890 – 1922)

Michael Collins was an Irish soldier and politician who dedicated his life to the Irish struggle for independence. He fought alongside members of the Easter Rising leadership and like many other rebels, he was imprisoned, although he was released a few months later. In 1919, he was designated Minister of Home Affairs of Dáil Éireann /ËŒdɔɪl ˈɛərÉ’n/, the Irish Parliament proclaimed by the members of Sinn Féin themselves, and eventually he was appointed Minister of Finance. Collins was most famous for his leadership of the republican military campaign against Britain through the IRA. As a true leader, he represented a threat for British authorities. In 1921, he was designated to negotiate a peace treaty in London which resulted in the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The treaty concluded the War of Independence. It provided the establishment of the Irish Free State, although Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom. This agreement to the partition of Ireland escalated into a civil war that lasted two years. The republican movement was divided into those who supported and those who opposed the treaty. On August 1922, Michael Collins was assassinated by anti-treaty forces in an ambush in County Cork.


Éamon de Valera (1882 – 1975)

Born in New York City, Éamon de Valera is considered the Father of the Free Irish Nation. He led a political career in Ireland and defended the Irish nationalist movement. He was one of the actors of the Easter Rising. Because he was American, he was not executed but imprisoned by British authorities. In 1919, he was nominated Prime Minister of Dáil Éireann. He encouraged Irish nationalists to take arms which led to the War of Independence. In 1921, he joined the anti-treaty nationalists who were opposed to Michael Collins. In 1926, he created Fianna Fáil /ËŒfiːənÉ™ ˈfɔɪl/, a new political party and eventually in 1959 he became President of the Republic of Ireland, which has been a Republic since 1937. He presided over the nation until 1973 and died two years later, on August 29th 1975.


Arthur Griffith (1871 – 1922)

Irish journalist and politician, Arthur Griffith is the one who founded Sinn Féin in 1905. He looked unfavourably on the use of violence to claim independence and refused to take part to the Easter Rising. Yet he was arrested by British authorities who believed that Sinn Féin was responsible for the Rising. His arrest reinforced the influence of Sinn Féin and once Griffith was released, he became the President of the political party. In 1919, he was appointed as leader of the Dáil Éireann. In 1921, he negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty with Michael Collins. Like Collins, he supported the treaty. In spite of his increasing influence, he died of a stroke on August 22nd 1922.


Bobby Sands (1954 – 1981)

Born in Northern Ireland to Catholic parents, Bobby Sands grew up in a conflictual context that violently opposed Catholics and Protestants. Very much influenced by this situation, he became one of the prominent activist leaders of the IRA. In 1977, he was condemned to 14 years in prison for possession of firearms. Three years later, he started a hunger strike in order to alert the general public to the IRA’s actions and to the attitude of the London government in Northern Ireland. Other members of the IRA decided to start a hunger strike too. Catholics suggested that Sands could be a depute candidate and eventually he won the 1981 elections. Faced with this unexpected situation, the London government voted the Representation of the People Act that forbade prisoners to be elected while they were imprisoned. Sand continued his hunger strike but his health deteriorated. He died on May 5th 1981 after a 65-day hunger strike. The announcement of his death was on the front page of newspapers. Bobby Sands and the other members of the IRA were considered martyrs in Northern Ireland as well as in the rest of the world.


And after ?

Those men were important figures who dedicated their lives to the Irish struggle for independence. Like many others, they claimed the establishment of a Free Irish Nation by any means, no longer dominated by the British Crown.

There are a lot of tributes to those men who played a significant role in the history and politics of Ireland, such as memorials, museums, murals, status, films, songs, and so many others. In a sense, it is a way to honour their memories.

Michael Collis (1997)


Mural of Bobby Sands in Belfast


After a long struggle for independence and a period of Troubles in Northern Ireland in the late 1960’s, which was the result of the opposition between nationalists who wanted Northern Ireland to be part of the Republic of Ireland and unionists who wanted to remain part of the United Kingdom, tensions have calmed. Yet, since the United Kingdom has left Europe after Brexit, we could possibly imagine that Northern Ireland will be ratified to the Republic of Ireland. If it happens, will it be through violence like in the past, or will it be a peaceful process? Who could be the new heroes of the Northern Irish independence?

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