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Patrick Pearse

Patrick (Pádraic, Pádraig) Pearse (Mac Piarais), teacher, writer, and Irish nationalist leader, was born Patrick Henry Pearse in 1879 in Dublin, his father being a Cornish artisan/stonemason. Pearse was educated by the Christian Brothers, and Conor Cruise O'Brien writes that the influence of one of the Brothers, Brother Canice Craven, pushed young Patrick towards a nationalist zealotry that might otherwise not have been inculcated, particularly since Pearse's father was only a moderate Home Rule supporter at best, and the degree of Pearse's mother's nationalism while his father was alive was limited. Pearse joined the Gaelic League in 1895, soon becoming one of its leaders. He taught the Irish language, and wrote stories and poems in both Irish and English, his best-known English poem being "The Wayfarer". In 1908, Pearse founded his own school, St Enda's, through which he did much to preserve native culture, encouraging the use of the language and participation in traditional Irish sports, and taking the boys on trips to the west of Ireland. In 1915 he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood[?] and was the architect of the new constitution proclaimed by the leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916. Along with most of the other leaders, including his brother Willie, he surrendered when it became apparent that victory was impossible, and was court-martialled and [both brothers were] executed by firing squad.

In her biography of Pearse, Ruth Dudley Edwards[?] claimed that Pearse had latent homosexual tendencies, though she did not suggest, nor did she rule out the possibility, that he was a sexually active homosexual. Her claim, though controversial and condemned by some republicans, was supported by many historians who noted the distinct homoerotic nature of some of his poetry, in contrast to the complete absence of any heterosexual aspect to Pearse's life, whether in terms of relationships, his writings or imagery in his poetry. By the end of the twentieth century, many historians automatically presumed that Pearse, like Casement and other figures associated with the independence movement (notably Eoin O'Duffy) was gay.

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