James Connolly & The Re-Conquest of Ireland
James Connolly was an Irish republican, socialist, and trade union leader. Born to Irish parents in the Cowgate area of Edinburgh, Scotland, Connolly left school for working life at the age of 11, and became involved in socialist politics in the 1880s.
Although mainly known for his position in Irish socialist and republican politics, he also took a role in Scottish and American politics. He was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World and founder of the Irish Socialist Republican Party. With James Larkin, he was centrally involved in the Dublin lock-out of 1913, as a result of which the two men formed the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) that year; they also founded the Irish Labour Party along with William O’Brien. Connolly was the long term right-hand man to Larkin in the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU) until taking over leadership of both the union and its military wing the ICA upon Larkin’s departure for the United States, then leading both until his death.
He opposed British rule in Ireland, and was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916, commanding the Irish Citizen Army throughout. Following the defeat of the Easter Rising and the arrest of the majority of its leaders, he was taken to Kilmainham Gaol and executed by firing squad for his part in its proceedings.