After a centuries old struggle against colonisation by the British, the Irish Republic was first declared in Easter of 1916. Although the rising was unpopular at the time the execution of the leaders of the uprising led to an upsurge of support for the rebels. After a 6 year war of independence, under the political guidance of Eamon De-Valera and the military direction of Michael Collins, an Irish Free State Treaty offering a limited form of independence “Home Rule” was negotiated with the British Government in 1922.
The Treaty caused division within the republican movement. The hardline Sinn Fein opponents of the treaty led by Eamon De-Valera, wanted to continue to fight for an all Ireland solution, while the more pragmatic Sinn Fein led by Arthur Griffith and Micheal Collins, saw the treaty as a stepping stone to an independent nation. The civil war that followed lasted for just 11 months. (28 June 1922 – 24 May 1923) During that time Arthur Griffith Died after a stroke and Micheal Collins was killed in an ambush.
Eamon DeValera subsequently validated the “Stepping Stone ” argument when between 1932 and 1937 he dismantled British control of Ireland through a series of Constitutional amendments leading eventually to the 1937 Constitution. And in 1948 John A Costelloe declared Ireland a Republic completing the transition from Free State to Independence.
However, there are many in Ireland (too young to have fought in that war) still mentally fighting the civil war, the old hatreds refuse to die and Ireland continues to bleed from its wounds.