1916-2016. Eighth Series of Definitive Stamps

07/02/2016

On Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, around 1,000 poorly-armed members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers, Irish Citizen Army and Cumann na mBan occupied the centre of Dublin and proclaimed the establishment of an Irish Republic. The rebellion ended within six days, leaving almost 500 dead, and much of the city-centre in ruins.

In response, the British authorities executed sixteen of the rebel leaders and imprisoned over 3,000 suspects. Although a military failure, the Easter Rising transformed Ireland by bringing about popular support for an independent Irish republic.

In January, 2016 An Post will introduce 1916-2016, the Eighth Definitive Stamps Series based on the Centenary of the Easter Rising. This set of stamps will commemorate a hugely significant event in the history of our country which ultimately led to the founding of the modern Irish Republic. The set of sixteen stamps will be available for one year only and will issue on the Stamps on a Roll (SOAR) format. New National (GPO stamp) and International Booklets (Roger Casement stamp), and a coil of 100 self-adhesive stamps featuring images of an extract from The Proclamation, and the Irish Republic flag, will also be available. In addition, four First Day Covers, strips of stamps and self-adhesive pairs will be available in January. Later in the year, an exciting range of souvenir product will also be introduced.  The stamps will feature Augmented Reality, and when scanned by a smartphone with the CEE Explorer App installed, will give internet access to gpowitnesshistory.ie and background information on the Rising.

These stamps have been grouped into four categories: Leaders and Icons; Participants; Easter Week; and The Aftermath. Although each image represents an individual subject, the themes also reflect a chronological progression from the lead-up to the Rising through to its aftermath. The stamps have been devised as a coherent collection rather than sixteen individual images.

Leaders and Icons features seven leaders. Thomas J. Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, P.H. Pearse, Éamonn Ceannt, James Connolly and Joseph Plunkett signed the Proclamation of Independence for the Irish Republic, which was read in front of the GPO on Easter Monday, 1916. The Irish Republic flag completes this set of four stamps. (NOTE In relation to the Leaders, they have been grouped according to the three organisations identified in the Proclamation as organising the Rising – The Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers. There is a clear logic behind this grouping, and it does not reflect a value judgement about the relative importance of the seven individuals).

Thomas James Clarke, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland. Seán Mac Diarmada, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland. Éamonn Ceannt, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland Patrick Henry Pearse, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland, Joseph Mary Plunkett, image courtesy of the Military Archives, Thomas MacDonagh, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland James Connolly, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland. Starry Plough Flag, image reproduced with the kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland The Irish Republic Flag, image reproduced with the kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland

The category, Participants, highlights the breadth of forces involved in the fighting. Dublin Metropolitan Police Constable James O’Brien and rebel Sean Connolly became the Rising’s first two fatalities. The image of the Malone brothers demonstrates the complexity of Irish identities and responses to the war and the Rising. Lieutenant Michael Malone fought with the Irish Volunteers and was killed during the battle of Mount Street Bridge. His brother, Sergeant William Malone, of the 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was killed in the battle of Ypres, in May 1915. Dr Kathleen Lynn and Elizabeth O’Farrell represent the role played by female combatants. Dr Lynn was a medical campaigner and suffragist, and an officer with the Irish Citizen Army. Cumann na mBan member, Elizabeth O’Farrell, played a prominent role in the general surrender. Emphasising the role of the rank-and-file, the image featuring Jack Doyle and Tom McGrath is one of only two surviving photographs of the rebels taken inside the General Post Office during Easter Week.  

Constable James O’Brien, courtesy of Kilmainham Gaol Museum reference number KMGLM 2015.0675. Sean Connolly, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland Michael Malone, image courtesy of Mercier Press Archives, Cork. William Malone, image courtesy of Willie Malone Dr Kathleen Lynn, image courtesy of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Elizabeth O’Farrell, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland Jack Doyle and Tom McGrath, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Easter Week includes stamps featuring an extract from The Proclamation, and incorporates the wider civilian experiences. John F (Seán) Foster, was among the youngest of the forty children killed during Easter Week. Louisa Nolan risked her life tending to the wounded at the battle of Mount Street Bridge. Sir Francis Fletcher-Vane and Francis Sheehy-Skeffington relates to one of the most infamous incidents of the rebellion, the killing of several civilians, including Sheehy-Skeffington, on the orders of Captain J. C. Bowen-Colthurst.

The Proclamation, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland Seán Foster, image courtesy of Terence O’Neill Louisa Nolan, image courtesy of Mirrorpix Sir Francis Fletcher-Vane, image courtesy of the Working Class Movement Library, Salford, UK. Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, image reproduced with the kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland

The category, The Aftermath, focuses on the consequences of the Rising. The GPO Sackville Street features the most iconic location of the Easter Rising. Children gathering timber for firewood demonstrates how ordinary people were caught up in the events of Easter Week and also illustrates the poverty of the era. The image of two unidentified Prisoners highlights the role of rebels from ordinary backgrounds. Sixteen of the most prominent rebels were singled out for execution in the aftermath of the rebellion, including former member of the British consular service, Roger Casement, who had previously won international recognition as a result of his humanitarian work in the Belgian Congo and South America.  

Prisoners from Richmond Barracks, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland Children gathering timber for fuel, image courtesy of Mercier Press Archives, Cork GPO, Sackville Street, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland Roger Casement, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

An Post gratefully acknowledges the contribution of eminent Historians, Dr Fearghal McGarry and Lar Joye in the development of this series.



IMAGE CREDITS
Theme 1 – Leaders and Icons
Stamp 1
Thomas James Clarke, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland
Seán Mac Diarmada, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland
Éamonn Ceannt, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Stamp 2
Patrick Henry Pearse, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland
Joseph Mary Plunkett, image courtesy of the Military Archives
Thomas MacDonagh, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Stamp 3
James Connolly, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland
Starry Plough Flag, image reproduced with the kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland

Stamp 4
The Irish Republic Flag, image reproduced with the kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland

Theme 2 – Participants
Stamp 5
Constable James O’Brien, courtesy of Kilmainham Gaol Museum reference number KMGLM 2015.0675
Sean Connolly, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Stamp 6
Michael Malone, image courtesy of Mercier Press Archives, Cork
William Malone, image courtesy of Willie Malone

Stamp 7
Dr Kathleen Lynn, image courtesy of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
Elizabeth O’Farrell, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Stamp 8
Jack Doyle and Tom McGrath, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland


Theme 3 – Easter Week
Stamp 9
The Proclamation, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Stamp 10
Seán Foster, image courtesy of Terence O’Neill

Stamp 11
Louisa Nolan, image courtesy of Mirrorpix

Stamp 12
Sir Francis Fletcher-Vane, image courtesy of the Working Class Movement Library, Salford, UK
Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, image reproduced with the kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland

Theme 4 – The Aftermath
Stamp 13
GPO, Sackville Street, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Stamp 14
Children gathering timber for fuel, image courtesy of Mercier Press Archives, Cork

Stamp 15
Prisoners from Richmond Barracks, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Stamp 16 - Roger Casement, image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

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