Quotes

''There are in every generation those who shrink from the ultimate sacrifice, but there are in every generation those who make it with joy and laughter and these are the salt of the generations.''

All quotations

The themes Patrick Henry Pearse wrote about

Biography

Patrick Henry Pearse (also known as Pádraig Pearse; Irish: Pádraig Anraí Mac Piarais; An Piarsach; 10 November 1879 – 3 May 1916) was an Irish teacher, barrister, poet, writer, nationalist and political activist who was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916. He was declared "President of the Provisional Government" of the Irish Republic in one of the bulletins issued by the Rising's leaders, a status that was however disputed by others associated with the rebellion both then and later. Following the collapse of the Rising and the execution of Pearse, his brother (Willie Pearse), and fourteen other leaders, Pearse came to be seen by many as the embodiment of the rebellion.

Early life and influences

Patrick Pearse and his brother Willie were born at 27 Great Brunswick Street, the street that is named after them today. It was here that their father, James Pearse, established a stone masonry business in the 1850s, a business which flourished and provided the Pearses with a comfortable middle-class upbringing. Pearse's father was a mason and monumental sculptor, and originally a Unitarian from Birmingham in England.

The home life of Patrick Pearse was one where he was surrounded by books. His father had very little formal education, but he was a self-educated man. He had two children from his first marriage, Emily and James (two other children died in infancy). His second wife, Margaret Brady was a native of Dublin, but her father's family were from County Meath and were native Irish speakers. The Irish-speaking influence of Pearse's great-aunt Margaret, together with his schooling at the CBS Westland Row, instilled in him an early love for the Irish language.

In 1896, at the age of sixteen, he joined the Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge), and in 1903 at the age of 23, he became editor of its newspaper An Claidheamh Soluis ("The Sword of Light").

Pearse's earlier heroes were the ancient Gaelic folk heroes such as Cúchulainn, though in his 30s he began to take a strong interest in the leaders of past republican movements, such as the United Irishmen Theobald Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet. Both had been Protestant, but it was from such men as these that the fervently Catholic Pearse drew inspiration for the rebellion of 1916.

In 1900, Pearse was awarded a BA in Modern Languages (Irish, English and French) by the Royal University of Ireland, he had studied for two years privately and for one at University College Dublin. In 1900 he was also awarded the degree of Barrister-at-Law from the King's Inns[9], and was called to the bar in 1901.

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