Thousands due to attend Lockout commemoration

President Michael D Higgins will be the guest of honour at climax of centenary events

Police charge during the transportation strike in Dublin in 1913. Photograph: Getty

Police charge during the transportation strike in Dublin in 1913. Photograph: Getty

Sat, Aug 31, 2013, 07:52

Thousands of people are expected to line the streets of Dublin this afternoon for the official State commemoration of the Dublin Lockout.

President Michael D Higgins will attend the event, which includes a wreath-laying ceremony, an enactment of the Lockout events and readings from James Plunkett’s classic novel Strumpet City.

Those attending will hear an actor dressed as Jim Larkin address the crowds from a 1913-era tram.

Bloody Sunday

The events will take place 100 years to the day police baton-charged crowds on Sackville (now O’Connell) Street injuring 600 strikers in what became known as Bloody Sunday.

Hundreds of people will dress up in period costumes for the occasion with some dressing as dockers, others as Jacobs workers and still more as the poor of Dublin. This part of the event is being organised by the North Inner City Heritage Group with Dublin Council of Trade Unions.

The commemoration will begin at 12.30pm when Mr Higgins arrives on O’Connell Street to lay a wreath at the statue of Jim Larkin.

Larkin’s speech

Actors Bryan Murray and Angela Harding, who both starred in the RTÉ adaptation of Strumpet City, will read extracts from the novel.

The President is expected to remain as a spectator for a dramatisation of Larkin’s famous speech from a hotel window off O’Connell Street, his subsequent arrest and the riot that led to a police baton charge that resulted in more than 300 injuries.

The event is being co-ordinated by the 1913 Lockout Commemoration Committee whose members are Joe O’Flynn (Siptu general secretary), Sally Anne Kinahan (Irish Congress of Trade Unions assistant general secretary) and Pádraig Yeates (historian and expert on the 1913 Lockout).

Wreath-laying

There will also be a wreath-laying ceremony involving the general secretaries of Irish, British, European and international trade union movements, followed by a minute’s silence.

A re-enactment will take place at the Prince’s Street entrance of An Post where extracts will be read from James Plunkett’s play The Risen People and from Larkin’s famous speech which is commemorated on his statue: “The great only appear great because we are on our knees. Let us rise.”

Baton charge

The re-enactment will include the arrest of Larkin and the Dublin Metropolitan Police baton charge. The final part of the re-enactment will be a frieze to replicate the 1913 photo of Bloody Sunday.

The city centre will remain open for business tomorrow, including all car parks such as Arnotts’ car park, but no buses will run on O’Connell Street between 11am and 3pm.

Buses diverted

During the hours of the commemoration, buses whose route brings them along O’Connell Street will continue to operate but will be diverted through streets close to O’Connell Street such as Marlborough Street and Gardiner Street. The Luas Red Line will operate as normal.