Irish Stamps: The 1916 Easter Rising Centenary (Definitives)

Eighth Definitive Series

Designing a set of stamps to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin (and elsewhere) was never going to be an easy task but I believe this was a very good attempt at keep as many people happy as possible. This one set of stamps is going to generate criticism for the next 100 years – who should be in, who should be out, and who is more important than someone else!

  • An Post are to be congratulated on doing an excellent job.

Leaders and Icons strip of 4

This ‘strip of 4’ features the seven leaders. Thomas J. Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, Patrick H. Pearse, Éamonn Ceannt, James Connolly and Joseph Plunkett signed the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. The Irish Republic flag completes this category of four stamps.

Irish Definitive Stamps: 8th Series: 1916 Rising Centenary - Leaders & Symbols (4)

Irish Definitive Stamps: 8th Series: 1916 Rising Centenary – Leaders & Symbols (set of 4)

  • The seven signatories of the Proclamation of Independence 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.
    • An Post’s philatelic literature diplomatically states that “There is a clear logic behind this grouping, and it does not reflect a value judgement about the relative importance of the seven individuals.”
    • The leaders of the Irish Volunteers active in the 1916 Easter Rising were, in fact, members of the IRB who had infiltrated the Irish Volunteers in order to ensure their participation
    • The Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Volunteers (Eoin MacNeill) was not aware of the planned insurrection until a few days beforehand and he tried (unsuccessfully) to cancel their taking part.

Participants strip of 4

The category, Participants, highlights the breadth of forces involved in the fighting.

Irish Stamps: 8th Definitive Series - 1916 Rising Centenary - Participants (4)

Irish Stamps: 8th Definitive Series – 1916 Rising Centenary – Participants (set of 4)

  • 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 suffragette, and the Chief Medical Officer with the Irish Citizen Army. She was also the only female garrison commander at the time of the surrender.
    • Cumann na mBan member, Elizabeth O’Farrell, played a prominent role in the general surrender. Cumann na mBan were the women’s branch of the Irish Volunteers and some took part in the fighting.
  • 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 GPO during Easter Week.

Easter Week strip of 4

Easter Week includes stamps featuring a detail from the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, and incorporates the wider civilian experiences.

Irish Stamps: 8th Definitive Series - 1916 Rising Centenary - Easter Week (set of 4)

Irish Stamps: 8th Definitive Series – 1916 Rising Centenary – Easter Week (set of 4)

  • The first stamp design features details of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, as read by Pearse from the steps of the GPO – an act of treason and the main legal reason why all 7 signatories ‘had to be’ executed by the military courts
  • 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 Aftermath strip of 4

The final category, The Aftermath, focuses on the consequences of the Rising.

Irish Stamps: 8th Definitive Series - 1916 Rising Centenary - The Aftermath (set of 4)

Irish Stamps: 8th Definitive Series – 1916 Rising Centenary – The Aftermath (set of 4)

  • The shell of the GPO amidst the almost complete destruction of Sackville Street (now O’Connell 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.

Technical details

Date of Issue: January 21, 2016
Value & Quantity: 16 x 70c
Stamp Design: Zinc Design Consultants
Stamp Size: 56mm x 25mm
Paper: Raflatac Thermal P200
Colour: Multicolour with phosphor tagging
Make – up: Strip of 4 Perforations: 11 x 11.25
Printing Process: HP Indigo high resolution digital print
Printer: Label Art Ltd

The Internet of Things

The stamps feature Augmented Reality, and when scanned by a smartphone with the CEE App installed, will give access to background information on the Rising, and also link customers to www.gpowitnesshistory.ie

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