A Crash Course in the Irish Revolutionary Period
Sean O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy is set during three major moments in the Irish Revolutionary Period: The Plough and the Stars during The Easter Rising of 1916, The Shadow of a Gunman during The Irish War of Independence (1919-1921), and Juno and the Paycock during The Irish Civil War (1922-1923).
Together, these three events mark the beginning of the nation of Ireland as we know it today — informing current politics and countless works of literature and art.
Before experiencing these plays in the Power Center, Oct 18-21, 2023, read on for more information to help frame this period in Ireland’s rich history.
Pre-World War I (1880-1914)
After nearly eight centuries under forced British rule, the late 1800s brought a wave of Irish nationalism in the form of The Gaelic Revival, which encouraged the reemergence of the Irish language, and the Irish Literary Renaissance, which revived Irish folklore and other storytelling traditions through new works by famed authors including W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, John Millington Synge, Lady Gregory, and more.
Politically during this time, most Irish nationalists supported the Home Rule Movement, which sought to establish an independent Irish parliament to govern Irish domestic affairs within the United Kingdom.
The plan had many detractors, most notably Republicans (Irish nationalists calling for a full departure from England) and Unionists (primarily Protestant loyalists who wanted to maintain British rule).
However, the Home Rule strategy was most popular, and in 1912, Parliament approved Home Rule to begin in 1914. When World War I broke out, the enactment of Home Rule was postponed for the duration of the conflict.