Easter Rising commemorations: 50 events for 2016

Centenary of 1916 Rising marked by official ceremonies and hundreds of local initiatives

Mary Hannon (10) wears her great-grandfather’s Old IRA service medal, with Lieut Stephen Cunningham and Sgt Amy Hopkins. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Mary Hannon (10) wears her great-grandfather’s Old IRA service medal, with Lieut Stephen Cunningham and Sgt Amy Hopkins. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times


1. Culture: On January 30th, Lorcán Mac Mathúna presents 1916 Visionaries and Their Words , new traditional music compositions based on the writings of the seven signatories of the Proclamation, at the Temple Bar Tradfest in Dublin. The show will then be presented in Ennis, Co Clare, for  Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, which takes place in August.

2.  Women: On March 8th, International Women’s Day, there will be a ceremony to commemorate the role of women in the events of  1916, at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8. The programme includes a keynote address by President Michael D Higgins and a performance by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra of music and song on the subject of Women in 1916.

3. Ceremony: There will be a remembrance ceremony on Easter Saturday, March 26th, in the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, transmitted live by RTÉ. Later that day there will be a State event in the RDS for relatives of those who participated in the Rising, which will also be attended by the President.

4. Ceremony and parade: The Easter Sunday events begin at 11.30am on March 27th with the reading of the 1916 Proclamation under the GPO portico by a Defence Forces officer. The President will then lay a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland, followed by a minute’s silence for all those who died. The national flag above the GPO will be raised to full mast and the national anthem played. The parade, led by the Defence Forces in full military display, will begin at St Stephen’s Green, pass the GPO and continue to Parnell Square. It will conclude with an Air Corps flypast and a 21-gun salute. That evening there will be a State reception at Dublin Castle for 3,000 guests, at the Taoiseach’s invitation.

5. Ceremony: On March 29th, there will be a State ceremony at Liberty Hall, Dublin, to commemorate the role of the Irish Citizen Army and James Connolly.

6. Academia: The universities and institutes of technology have developed extensive academic programmes for 2016. A highlight will be a national conference on 1916 and its impact on the life of the nation, hosted by NUI Galway in November 2016.

7. Exhibition: The National Museum will open a major 1916 exhibition at Collins Barracks, Dublin, on March 3rd, examining the events of Easter Week in detail. Called Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising , the exhibition will “explore the ideas, movements and personalities of early 20th-century Ireland, the dramatic events of Easter Week, the impact it had on the city and its citizens and the Irish nation as a whole”.

8.  Exhibition: On March 10th, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum’s 1916 exhibition will open. See glasnevintrust.ie.

9.  Exhibitions: Cork’s Crawford Art Gallery will hold a number of exhibitions during the year, including  Diverging Loyalties (June 4th-August 27th) and 1916 in Contemporary Art (June 24th-August 24th). See crawfordartgallery.ie

10. Youth: Proclamation Day on March 15th, 2016, is at the heart of the Youth and Imagination strand. All educational institutions, including pre-schools, schools and further and higher education institutions, will participate. The day will start with the raising of the flag and a reading of the Proclamation.


11. Ceremony: On April 10th, at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin, there will be a State event to mark the 18th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement.

12. Archive: The Military Archives in Dublin, including the Military Service Pensions Collection, will be officially opened on April 26th.

13. Culture: On January 26th, at the Little Museum of Dublin on St Stephen’s Green, Irish artist Fergal McCarthy will respond to the centenary of the Easter Rising with a new exhibition of drawings illustrating the story of 1916 and its impact on the country over the past 100 years, in captivating black-and-white drawings with accompanying text.

14. Youth: Another highlight of the youth programme will be the Abbey Theatre’s touring production of Me, Mollser to 5th and 6th classes in primary schools across the country.  Me, Mollser is a play based on a character from Seán O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars.

15. Culture: A new production of The Plough and the Stars premieres at the Abbey and runs from March 9th to April 23rd.

16.  Family: April 24th is a “family day” to mark the 1916 events that took place in Fingal including re-enactments, live performances and the unveiling of a public art commission. Swords Castle, Dublin.

17.  Culture:  Imagining Home, at the National Concert Hall between March 28th and April 3rd. This series of seven themed concerts marks 100 years of Ireland, beginning at 8pm on Monday with Imagining Home: America, featuring Irish and US musicians Rosanne Cash, Paul Brady, Maura O’Connell, Rodney Crowell, Andy Irvine, Tim O’Brien, and Mick Moloney. See nch.ie

18.  Culture The Nation’s Voice concert on March 27th gathers dozens of the country’s best choirs for a free, televised concert featuring a specially commissioned piece by Shaun Davey and Paul Muldoon. This partnership with RTÉ, the Arts Council, Music Generation and the Association of Irish Choirs takes place at Collins Barracks, National Museum of Ireland, Dublin. artscouncil.ie

19. Irish language: The Irish language strand of the programme includes  Comhrá 2016, one of the many Conradh na Gaeilge events. It is a series of seminars throughout the year to commemorate the importance of the Irish language at home and overseas, as well as the role of Conradh na Gaeilge and the cultural revival as a source of inspiration for the 1916 Rising.

20.   Irish language: On March 4th, Rith, a 32-county relay race begins in Kildare and finishes on March14th at the GPO in Dublin.


21.  Irish language: Ravelóid 2016, an outdoor entertainment festival, organised by Glór na nGael, will take place on June 10th and 11th.

22. Diaspora: The University of Notre Dame documentary on the Rising, 1916 The Irish Rebellion , narrated by Liam Neeson, will be screened at the National Concert Hall on March 16th and transmitted live to audiences overseas through our embassy network. See www.nch.ie.

23. Community: Street Feast is an annual initiative that aims to bring back life to Irish streets and build community spirit. The idea is to get people across Ireland to sit down to a lunch with their neighbours. On Sunday June 12th, 2016, a nationwide family-friendly street party will take place, a chance to meet neighbours and friends, and an opportunity for people to mark the centenary in their own place.

24. Exhibition: In Carlow, an ambitious collaborative theatre and music project involving Carlow Youth Theatre, AspiroChoir and Music Generation Carlow will be staged from January 12th to February 23rd.

25.  Film: Town Hall Cavan Arts Space will present a series of world films and art films from the 1916 era as part of the Re-imagining Cavan in 1916 event on April 23rd, 2016.

26. Literary: A series of literature workshops with national schools in Cavan will allow children the opportunity to examine the writings of Ireland’s past poets and writers, encouraging them to produce similar ideas based on their own experiences and feelings.

27. Conference: In June, a conference in Cavan’s Johnston Central Library will honour the memory of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, a pacifist republican, who was born in Bailieborough. Sheehy- Skeffington was trying to prevent looting in Dublin city centre on the evening of Tuesday, April 25th, 1916, when he was arrested by Capt JC Bowen-Colthurst, on whose instructions he was killed the following morning.

28. Culture: In Clare, the annual Peadar Clancy Cultural Festival will dedicate a plaque and garden area to his memory during the weekend of July 15th-17th, 2016. Clancy was a hugely influential participant in the Easter Rising and in the War of Independence.

29. Culture: The Ennis Book Club Festival has invited prominent historians and commentators Diarmaid Ferriter, Caitríona Crowe and Susan McKay to participate in the festival in 2016. The festival, which runs from March 4th- 6th, will also include poetry readings and music performed by the Vanbrugh Quartet reflecting on, among other themes, the importance of national identity.

30. Culture: In Cork city, dance group Firkin Crane is producing a new multidisciplinary dance theatre work for 2016 examining our ever-changing relationship with our history and the question of how the Ireland of 2016 relates to the ideals of Ireland in 1916 . May 20th and 21st.


31. Culture: The Triskel Arts Centre in Cork will host a major visual arts installation over Easter weekend of March 26th and 27th by artist Aideen Barry, grandniece of Tom Barry, exploring the position of women in Ireland across almost 100 years of independence.

32. Ceremony: All of the prominent figures and indeed many of the lesser-known figures of the Rising will be remembered in 2016. In Castlelyons, Co Cork, on May 9th there will be a major community ceremonial event for Thomas Kent, one of the executed leaders of 1916.

33. Festival:  The flagship event in Galway city’s programme will be the Remembering Éamonn Ceannt festival, which will take place from June 13th to 19th. This will be a week-long celebration of musician, teacher and revolutionary Éamonn Ceannt throughout the city. Ceannt’s role in the Easter Rising and his cultural and political legacy will be explored and celebrated in a series of concerts, conferences and seminars, along with visits to sites of relevance to his life. It will culminate in an international parade of pipes and pipers through the streets of Galway, with bands, musicians and performers from Ireland, north America and Europe. Galway County Council will also launch the Éamonn Ceannt scholarships and the Pádraig Pearse Gaeltacht scholarships, in recognition of the strong ties to the county that the two men had.

34. Diaspora: Donegal and Galway are among the many counties hosting diaspora conferences. The Donegal conference – in Bundoran from January 13th to 17th – is a collaboration between Drew University (New Jersey) and the Institute of Study Abroad Ireland, which promotes cultural and educational travel to Ireland.

35. Diaspora: Galway will host the Emigration and Our Galway County Diaspora conference in September, providing insights into the factors that contributed to the emigration of so many people to various parts of the world.

36. Diaspora: The New York Leitrim diaspora, who march under the Seán Mac Diarmada banner on St Patrick’s Day, will highlight connections between New York and Leitrim and the 2016  commemoration.

37. Culture: Donegal has a particularly strong arts component in its programme. The Regional Cultural Centre and Earagail Arts Festival are organising Irish and English Folk, from July 14th to 17th. This will explore the relationship between Ireland and England through folk song and music.

38. Culture: Internationally renowned artist Willie Doherty, who was born in Derry but has strong Donegal connections, will make a new video artwork for the centenary, which will be shown in Donegal and Dublin, and in London in 2017. It is scheduled to premiere at the Earagail Arts Festival on July 14th-17th.

39.  Exhibition: Most of the events of the Rising occurred in Dublin so it’s hardly surprising that Dublin City Council will undertake a huge number of initiatives, among them a special exhibition telling the story of Dublin’s firefighters during Easter Week 1916, when the city centre was razed and Dublin’s streets became a battlefield.

40. Culture:  Aisling: Dreaming Again , a Dublin City Council- supported initiative, is an integrated arts-heritage, celebratory and commemorative programme in the north Liberties area around Seán Heuston’s Mendicity Institution garrison, from March 25th to May 8th.


41. Twinning: The Lord Mayor of Dublin is inviting cities in the US twinned with Irish cities, counties and towns to come to Ireland in April, providing an opportunity to celebrate the unique relationship between the US and Ireland through city-to-city relationships.

42. Culture: The capital will also have a rich programme of local arts events. In September, the Séamus Ennis Centre in north Fingal will have an extensive programme of events, including a 1916 song project, themed screenings of period films supplied by the IFI, and An Céilí Mhór, a major outdoor traditional music event.

43. Culture: The Draíocht Arts Centre in Blanchardstown is creating a programme which includes the One Book, One Fingal project, based on the children’s book Friend or Foe by Brian Gallagher. The project culminates in a three-month exhibition from April to June.

44. Re-enactment:  Things might have been very different had Roger Casement succeeded in landing a shipment of arms at Banna Strand, Co Kerry. Among the many events in Limerick will be a re-enactment of a march by 300 Irish Volunteers from eight villages to Glenquin Castle to receive a shipment of arms which, of course, never arrived.

45. Exhibition: Kerry County Council is creating a major exhibition, Sir Roger Casement: A  Revolutionary Journey , tracing Casement’s path from servant of the crown to Irish nationalist, to the gallows in Pentonville Prison . It opens on April 21st.

46. Cross-Border: The programmes also contain several cross-Border initiatives and commemorative events that aim to remember members of the British army and the RIC who died in 1916. The Pushkin Trust, in partnership with Longford’s primary schools, will participate in an initiative, which runs until June, to create projects that remember/celebrate “all those who have brought peace to our land”.

47. Lecture: In Louth, Dundalk Library is hosting a lecture on The Life and Times of Constable Charles McGee , who was killed in the course of a Volunteer action at Castlebellingham on April 24th, 1916.

48. Women: A programme of events at the county library in Roscommon on September 15th and 16th called Revolutionaries In Their Own Right: Women and Revolution will look at the role and contribution of women from Cumann na mBan, Inghinidhe na hÉireann, the Irish Women’s Franchise League, and central and local figures active in committees and communities in Co Roscommon.

49. Women:  The annual Sligo Field Club conference from May 12th-14th will look at Countess Markievicz and other women involved in 1916.

50. Exhibition: An exhibition curated by historian Conor Dodd in Deansgrange Cemetery, Co Dublin, where more than 100 people who were involved in the Rising are buried, will tell the story of the Rising using the people and personal experiences of those associated with the area now covered by Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown.  It includes about 170 people in all. It runs from February 1st to September 30th.

For details of these and many more events taking place in 2016 see the official Ireland 2016 website at ireland.ie

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