Easter Rising commemorative programme revealed

Events a ‘once in a lifetime invitation’ to public to participate, says Taoiseach

A year-long Easter Rising commemorative programme with the emphasis on remembrance and reconciliation has been unveiled by the Government.

The programme begins with a commemorative re-enactment of the funeral of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, which takes place on August 1st of this year.

It ends on August 3rd next year with the centenary commemorations to mark the execution of Roger Casement in Pentonville Prison.

The official State programme will have a strong educational element.


Schoolchildren will be asked to come up with their own version of the Proclamation.

March 15th next year has been declared Proclamation Day in schools. Each school will get a new national flag and a copy of the Proclamation.

Rising’s meaning

A new subject, Politics and Society, will be trialled in Irish schools from September next year. All the major academic institutions will be involved in an all-Ireland conference to debate the impact and meaning of the Rising.

The centrepiece events will be held during Easter weekend next year.

On Easter Saturday, a State reception is expected to attract up to 5,000 relatives of those who were involved during Easter week.

The main parade will take place on Easter Sunday from Dublin Castle to Parnell Square.

The Government has confirmed there will be no British royal presence at any of the commemoration events.

British ambassador Dominick Chilcott is expected to take part in a commemorative ceremony at Grangegorman cemetery to remember the British soldiers who died in the Rising, most of whom were actually Irish.

The British Embassy will be funding an exhibition at the National Library entitled World War Ireland which will reflect on the events of 1916 at the Somme and in Ireland.

‘Have pride’

Speaking at the launch this evening, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Irish people should “celebrate and have pride in Ireland’s independence, and to honour those who gave their lives so that the dream of self-determination could be a reality”.

He described the programme as a “once in a lifetime invitation” to the Irish public to participate in events surrounding the Rising commemoration.

The National Library of Ireland is digitising 23,000 different items relating to the seven signatories of the Proclamation.

The National Archives will publish online the 1916 courtmartial files and the Dublin City Metropolitan police surveillance files.

The Garda will host an exhibition to remember the men of the Dublin Metropolitan Police who were killed in the Rising.

Seven signature concerts will take place in the National Concert Hall during Easter Week and a major exhibition will be curated by the National Gallery.

The role of the Irish language will be remembered in the An Teanga Bheo (The Living Language) programme, the highlight of which will be a Rave-lóid 2016, an outdoor entertainment festival organised by Glór na nGael.

International dimension

There will be a substantial international dimension to the Rising commemorations.

The University of Notre Dame is providing $3 million (€2.8 million) towards a three-part television documentary on the Rising, along with a 70-minute feature film.

From May 16th to June 5th next year, the John F Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts in Washington DC will host a three-week festival of Irish arts.

The Irish embassy in London is planning a flagship 2016 event at one of London’s main cultural venues.

Argentina is also planning a major event to remember the links between the two countries, as 2016 marks the bicentenary of Argentine independence.

An international conference will take place in Buenos Aires in 2016 in association with the University of El Salvador and the Irish-Argentine community.

Australia, Brazil and Canada will also host events.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times