This paper examines perceptions and representations of Irish divisions, their roots and their implications. The proclamation’s guarantee of civil and religious liberty ‘oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past….’ reflected the views of Patrick Pearse, Eoin MacNeill and others. While it might be interpreted as an attempt to bury the hatchet, it could also be seen as naïve if not delusional, and it certainly glossed over many difficulties. However, the creative ambiguity of advanced nationalist rhetoric did not go unchallenged. Tension clearly existed between republicans’ claim to the allegiance of all Irish men and women and advanced nationalists’ strong focus on Irish cultural identity. The tendency towards evasion was exacerbated by a propensity to think in terms of destiny rather than strategy; the result was, inevitably, profound disappointment when partition occurred and endured.