Ireland: Remembering September 18, 1914


Copyright © Shutterstock. All Rights Reserved

August 14, 2014 20:31 EDT

The centenary of Ireland’s achievement of Home Rule deserves to be remembered.

I greatly enjoyed reading Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, a former professor of history at University College, Dublin.He demonstrates the huge difficulties that had to be overcome in winning Home Rule for Ireland in September 1914.

There was deep-seated anti-Catholic prejudice to be overcome in both the Conservative and Liberal Parties. Moreover, there was an underlying assumption in some quarters that the Catholic Irish could not be trusted to govern themselves, or to respect the property rights of the Protestant minority in southern Ireland. This prejudice had strong support in the upper reaches of the British Army.

Also ranged against Home Rule were the Ulster Unionists who had armed themselves in the Ulster Volunteer Force, with little or no interference from the government. Their goal was to prevent Ulster counties coming under a Home Rule parliament in Dublin, but they were used to resist Home Rule more generally.

A third obstacle was the House of Lords, which had a veto on all legislation, and where there was an overwhelming majority against Home Rule. This could not be overcome unless either the veto was removed or hundreds of new Lords were appointed, who were selected on the basis that they were committed to Home Rule.

Without the threat of force, but relying on skillful and determined parliamentary tactics, the Irish Party, between 1910-14, succeeded in having Home Rule passed and the House of Lords veto removed.

The centenary of this achievement is on September 18. It deserves to be commemorated with more attention than the 1916 rebellion.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

David Soanes /


Only Fair Observer members can comment. Please login to comment.
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Atul Singh
Atul Singh
9 years ago

William Butler Yeats immortalized the Easter 1916 Uprising. I remember reading it as a school boy and it brought tears to my eyes. Now that I am a grown up and have studied some history, I find Mr. Bruton’s argument about Irish Home Rule as a more important event compelling.

Support Fair Observer

We rely on your support for our independence, diversity and quality.

For more than 10 years, Fair Observer has been free, fair and independent. No billionaire owns us, no advertisers control us. We are a reader-supported nonprofit. Unlike many other publications, we keep our content free for readers regardless of where they live or whether they can afford to pay. We have no paywalls and no ads.

In the post-truth era of fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles, we publish a plurality of perspectives from around the world. Anyone can publish with us, but everyone goes through a rigorous editorial process. So, you get fact-checked, well-reasoned content instead of noise.

We publish 2,500+ voices from 90+ countries. We also conduct education and training programs on subjects ranging from digital media and journalism to writing and critical thinking. This doesn’t come cheap. Servers, editors, trainers and web developers cost money.
Please consider supporting us on a regular basis as a recurring donor or a sustaining member.

Will you support FO’s journalism?

We rely on your support for our independence, diversity and quality.

Donation Cycle

Donation Amount

The IRS recognizes Fair Observer as a section 501(c)(3) registered public charity (EIN: 46-4070943), enabling you to claim a tax deduction.

Make Sense of the World

Unique Insights from 2,500+ Contributors in 90+ Countries

Support Fair Observer

Support Fair Observer by becoming a sustaining member

Become a Member