Reconciliation ceremony to mark the centenary of the end of the Civil War

Event to celebrate Ireland’s entry into the League of Nations in 1923 will close the Decade of Centenaries

A national service for commemoration for all those who died in the Civil War will be held as part of the final stages of the Decade of Centenaries.

The event, at a date to be decided, is likely to be held in the Garden of Remembrance.

It will follow on from a low-profile concert last September at the National Concert Hall which was meant to be the national commemoration for the Civil War.

There have been calls for a State apology for some of the executions carried out during the Civil War and also for the events in Kerry in 1923 when republican prisoners were tied to landmines and killed.


Previously, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he will give due consideration on how best to mark the end of the Civil War which occurred in May 1923. In presenting the new programme, he stated that a lot of history had not been “easy or uncontested”, but it had been remembered respectfully throughout the Decade of Centenaries.

The end of the Decade (2012-2023) will be marked by events to celebrate the Irish Free State’s admission to the League of Nations in September.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said Ireland’s entry into the League was a “significant and hugely positive step forward by the State into the international arena” and was the correct event to end the Decade of Centenaries.

There will be also be events to mark the key cultural milestone in Ireland that occurred in 1923 – the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to WB Yeats in November of that year.

University College Cork (UCC) will embark on digitally mapping Irish Civil War fatalities and delivering a related Web-based resource and an outreach programme designed to showcase the research.

The project team at UCC will develop a comprehensive database of Civil War fatalities, an interactive map of the fatalities, and a contextualisation piece to examine the impact of the conflict in different locations and phases of the Civil War.

In the autumn, IMMA will present a major museum-wide exhibition entitled Mobilise the Poets: Self-Determination, A Global Perspective to mark a century since the partition of Ireland and the subsequent formation of the Irish Free State in 1922.

This exhibition will focus on the role of art and artists in relation to nation-building and statecraft, bringing together a range of Irish and international works, both modern and contemporary, that explore and illuminate the shared experiences of the new states formed in the wake of the first World War.

Expert Advisory Group (EAG) on centenary commemorations chairman Dr Maurice Manning said the decade has been a success and confounded those who believed it would be divisive and polarising.

“I think we can say now that the sceptics were wrong. The past decade has been a rich one in Irish historiography. Much of the work to date has been truly ground-breaking – and it will continue.

“The last word – for the present – on this topic I leave to the renowned historian Simon Schama who wrote recently in the Financial Times that the two countries in Europe who have best handled their recent history are Germany and Ireland. Unlike other countries, we have not sought to weaponise our history, but have treated it with respect.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times