21/12/1916 Lloyd George closes Frongoch, university of Irish rebellion

After the suppression of the Easter Rising, the British authorities in Ireland were left with a large number of rebel prisoners. The round-up that followed the revolt added to their ranks. These were removed from Ireland and interned in Wales at a former prisoner of war camp in Frongoch.

Since then the British have been unsure what to do with these internees. The initial response to the Rising was harsh, with rebels being executed after trial by court martial. This however created problems with Irish public opinion and the courts martial were halted. The British abandoned the idea of subjecting any more of the rebels to trial and held them in Frongoch under wartime emergency powers.

Holding all these people together at Frongoch has had unintended consequences. The inmates of Frongoch have become increasingly unruly and uncooperative with their captors. The round-up hauled in many people of relatively mild nationalist views, but throwing them together with more committed rebels has led to their increased radicalisation. Now they start to plan the next steps in the struggle to separate Ireland from the United Kingdom. Belatedly the British realise that they have effectively created a university of rebellion.

So now Lloyd George, the Welsh prime minister of Britain, decides to close Frongoch. The rebels will be sent home before Christmas, arriving back in Ireland in batches, to minimise the likelihood of their being greeted by anti-British demonstrations.

image source:

Frongoch (Irish Independent)

see also:

Frongoch and 1916: Recreating a Lost Landscape (online exhibition by Inspiring Ireland)

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