Atch, out of interest, what do you call the British Isles?
If you mean me personally, I call them the British Isles, I don't have any problem with that. I just see it as a geographic term. The official term these days is "These Islands" but nobody uses it in ordinary speech. Most Irish people say 'Ireland and England' or 'Ireland and the UK'.
I agree with you about the interpretation of success, yes it was successful in as much as the aftermath was so clumsily handled by the British authorities that it turned public opinion very much against them and in favour of the rebels paving the way for the War of Independence. I think people tend to forget or just not be aware that by that time in Irish history many Irish people accepted being British in the same way as the Scots and the Welsh. They might have preferred to have a sovereign, independent nation but being British citizens was 'normal'.
Regarding conscription, the Brits passed the conscription law in 1918 but it was never enforced. Typical of their insensitivity considering that so many Irish had volunteered and indeed given their lives. Of course there were already a lot of Irish in the British army anyway at the outbreak of war.
Yes, their contribution was huge. In fact if you read the witness statements from the Irish Bureau of Military history there's one from Dan Breen who was a key figure in the War of Independence though his name is not well known perhaps outside Ireland. Breen said that it was his mother who imbued him with the spirit of nationalism and rebellion and that it was the women who kept alive the idea of fighting for independence whilst the men just talked about it over a pint. If you look at many of the men who were leaders of the movement, they had all lost their fathers at an early age and were raised by their mothers including Michael Collins, De Valera and indeed Dan Breen whom I just referred to.
Of course Cumann na mBan was an amazing movement and they were very important in the War of Independence too. They were probably fairly unique at the time in Europe. Michael Collins insisted that if they were going to be members of the Volunteers they had to do the same training as the men, military drill, handle firearms etc. and be ready to fight.
There's an interesting parallel in the way that the Easter Rising and Warsaw Uprising are commemorated, though.
Our commemorations have always been very low key, except for the fiftieth anniversary and the centenary year and the vibe of that was quite gentle if you know what I mean. Of course we don't really commemorate the War of Independence at all.
The one big event relating to the War of Independence was in 2001 when they exhumed the remains of 'The Forgotten Ten' who were executed by the British. They had been buried within the grounds of Mountjoy Prison. They were given a state funeral and re-interred in Glasnevin Cemetery. That was a public holiday and the whole thing was televised. There were tens of thousands of people along the funeral route and the atmosphere in the country was very solemn that day. Seeing that long, long line of hearses go by and crowds applauding, saying thank you to those men who gave their lives for us.