Ireland celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising on March 27th. (The rising actually started on April 24th, 1916.) The Rising started the process of gaining Ireland its independence from the United Kingdom. The revolt was not popular in Ireland and the British easily suppressed it, but the heavy-handed British response after the violence mobilized Ireland in favor of independence. The rest was history.
But was it inevitable? There was a Home Rule deal on the table in 1914 that was highly favorable to Ireland. Moreover, the U.K. was in the process of creating the modern welfare state; the bill kept National Insurance in U.K. hands. Ireland could take it back ... but why would it want to? It was a pretty good deal. Ireland would have kept fiscal stabilizers, a full banking union and access to centrally-funded social insurance.
On the other hand, history. The U.K. was slow to enfranchise Catholics, it tolerated discrimination until the bitter end, and the Famine. Memories of wrongs on that scale run deep. Moreover, the final 1914 home rule bill excluded northern Ireland for six years, which would have likely become permanent and become a running sore. It is entirely plausible that at some point after 1916 the United Kingdom would have split up despite any advantages for the residents of Ireland.
So here is my question: had Britain been more intelligent in the aftermath of the Easter Rising and avoided the idiotic Conscription Crisis of 1918, would Ireland have remained part of the United Kingdom through the Second World War? Or was Home Rule destined to fail once the First World War postponed its implementation?
P.S. I have read Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-22, by Ronan Fanning. He makes a solid case that partition was inevitable but does not really address the question of whether southern Irish independence was inevitable. He argues that no British government would have implemented the act (even without the war) but I do not quite grok why he believes that. Since I do not unfortunately regularly talk with Irish historians, this post is an honest call for schooling.