Connolly was born in the Cowgate area of Edinburgh, Scotland, to Irish parents. He left school for working life at the age of 11. He also took a role in Scottish and American politics. He was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World and founder of the Irish Socialist Republican Party. With James Larkin, he was centrally involved in the Dublin lock-out of 1913, as a result of which the two men formed the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) that year. He opposed British rule in Ireland, and was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916. He was executed by firing squad following the Rising.