The intellectual leader behind the Easter Rising of 1916, Patrick Pearse, born 10 November 1879, had qualified as a lawyer but his interests ranged widely beyond that. He was a proponent of both the revived Irish language and educational reform; combining these interests, he opened a private bilingual school for boys in Dublin, St. Enda’s, in 1908.
He came to notice as an Irish nationalist through his writings — he edited the Gaelic League’s newspaper An Claidheamh Soluis from 1903 to 1909 — and through speeches he made, particularly his eulogies on the anniversary of Wolfe Tone’s death (1913) and at the graveside of the leading Fenian (Irish Republican) Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa (1915):
‘I propose to you then that, here by the grave of this unrepentant Fenian, we renew our baptismal vows; that, here by the grave of this unconquered and unconquerable man, we ask of God, each one for himself, such unshakable purpose, such high and gallant courage, such unbreakable strength of soul as belonged to O’Donovan Rossa. Deliberately here we avow ourselves, as he avowed himself in the dock, Irishmen of one allegiance only. We of the Irish volunteers and you others who are associated with us in today’s task and duty are bound together and must stand together henceforth in brotherly union for the achievement of the freedom of Ireland.’