50 things to do this Easter Weekend
Want to remember the 1916 Rising this weekend? Or avoid it altogether?
A huge range of 1916 centenary events are on in Dublin and around the country on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, from formal ceremonies to casual cultural activities. Some of the more popular events are sold out; in this list we have generally highlighted events that, at time of going to press, are still accessible. You can get more information about these and other events at ireland.ie.
Historical events in Dublin
Reflecting the Rising
This “large-scale multilocation public event” is on Easter Monday, 11am-6pm, with talks, tours, music, dance, street art, street theatre, and moments of reflection and celebration. Taking place in eight zones in the city centre, the event is a public invitation “to commemorate, to celebrate and to understand this significant moment in our collective history”. There are family zones at St Stephen’s Green, Earlsfort Terrace, Merrion Square and Smithfield.
Find out more and book free tickets at rte.ie
Imagining home: America
The National Concert Hall’s series of concerts kicks off with a look across the Atlantic, with Irish and American musicians coming together to perform. Roseanne Cash, Paul Brady and Maura O’Connell feature, along with Andy Irvine, Mick Moloney and Tim O’Brien.
National Concert Hall, Easter Monday 8pm, from €22.50; nch.ie
A Nation’s Voice
A 1,100-strong choir performs work composed by Shaun Davey and Paul Muldoon with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra at the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History. Plus orchestral works by Seán Ó Riada and Bill Whelan and Handel’s Messiah.
Collins Barracks, Easter Sunday, 2.15pm. Free but ticketed via a lottery. See 1916.rte.ie
Easter Sunday commemoration parade
The main parade led by the Defence Forces starts at St Stephen’s Green and finishes on Bolton Street after passing along Kevin Street, Patrick Street, Thomas Street, Parliament Street, Dame Street, Westmoreland Street and O’Connell Street.
Dublin city centre, Easter Sunday 10am. Free
The Dublin balladeer does a strong line in taut, emotional tunes that are forceful in their simplicity. His performances are often extraordinarily intense; this centenary celebration one will probably be more than usually highly charged.
Vicar Street, Easter Sunday, €32; vicarstreet.ie
A Dublin Bus tour in association with the remarkable Anu theatre company offers more than just a guide with a microphone. This is an immersive and entertaining experience, seeking to bring some of the drama of Easter Week to life.
Dublin Bus head office, O'Connell Street, daily at 10.30am, 1pm, 3pm; evening tours on Tues, Thur, Fri, Sat at 7pm, 9pm; €25; dublinsightseeing.ie
RTÉ is deeply involved in the centenary, with a events around the capital. This programme, one of its showpieces, ties together song, reflection, and cultural celebrations; it will be broadcast live, along with some recorded inserts.
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Easter Monday, RTÉ One, RTÉ Player, 9.35pm; rte.ie
The Plough and the Stars
There’s a sense that the Abbey’s centenary programme is not so much carrying on regardless as carrying on a little gingerly in the aftermath of the bashing the national theatre got from the Waking the Feminists movement. The Plough and the Stars runs until April 23rd, with a sign-language-interpreted performance on April 14th and an audio-described and captioned performance on April 16th.
Abbey Theatre, Monday-Saturday plus matinees Wednesday and Saturday; from €13; abbeytheatre.ie
Feminism and Suffrage: The First Decades/Peig Sayers, Panti Bliss, and the Women of 1916
Micheline Sheehy Skeffington and Felicity Hayes McCoy look at suffrage and Irish women in two hours of talks. From Peig to Panti looks like a decent chat.
DIT Aungier Street, Easter Monday, 11am-1pm, free but ticketed from 1916.rte.ie
The Story of Teacher, Sniper and Socialist Margaret Skinnider
Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh hosts this talk, also featuring Sylvia Brown, a former pupil of Skinnider, a sniper and gunrunner shot during the Rising while trying to burn down houses on Harcourt Street.
RSCI, Easter Monday 5-6pm, free tickets from 1916.rte.ie
A Country Is Born: A Cartoon History of the Easter Rising
One of Ireland’s most interesting artists, Fergal McCarthy, has made a cartoon history of the Easter Rising that is equal parts accessible, entertaining and insightful. If you fancy your history articulated illustratively, then this is for you.
Little Museum of Dublin, St Stephen’s Green, daily 9.30am-5pm, €14 for two adults and three children; littlemuseum.ie
WB Yeats readings
Take the opportunity to hang out in the beautiful reading room of the National Library of Ireland on Easter Monday, when there will be readings of WB Yeats’s work, as well as other events and talks throughout the day. There’s also the Signatories exhibition, and the manuscript of Yeats’s Easter 1916 will be on display.
National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Easter Monday 11am-6pm, free but some events ticketed, nli.ie/1916.rte.ie
Ali White’s play, directed by Sarah Fitzgibbon, is, in brief, a retelling of The Plough and the Stars through the eyes of the youngest character, Mollser.
Abbey Theatre, Easter Monday 2pm, free tickets from abbeytheatre.ie
Google Street View tour
Can’t get to Dublin? Check out Google’s Street View tour and immerse yourself in Dublin, both modern and old, with headphones on and Colin Farrell’s dulcet tones guiding you along.
Left Behind: Songs of the Easter Widows
Michelle O’Rourke and Simon O’Connor bring to life the personal stories of the wives of the 1916 rebel leaders through song. We know the letters those leaders wrote, but experiencing things from another side should be very affecting.
Unitarian Church, Easter Monday, free tickets from 1916.rte.ie
St Stephen’s Green tented village
The tented village will feature 1916 professions such as barbers, bakers and embroiders. The bandstand will have music from Booka Brass Band, Dublin Gospel Choir, Prison Love and others, plus aerial entertainment from Dublin Circus Project and more.
St Stephen’s Green, Easter Monday, all day, free; 1916.rte.ie
Easter Sunday sees wreath-laying ceremonies at Glasnevin Cemetery and Kilmainham Gaol; Easter Monday features simultaneous wreath-laying ceremonies, at 1.15pm, at Bolands Mill, the Jacob’s factory (now the National Archives), Dublin Castle, Four Courts, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Moore Street and St James’s Hospital.
Easter Sunday and Monday, various locations, free but check for access, ireland.ie
Lower Fitzwilliam Street Big Stage
The RTÉ Radio 1 presenter Shane Byrne hosts a day of music from some excellent Irish acts, so this might be a good place to park yourself and catch Lisa O’Neill, Mick Flannery, Orla Gartland, The Academic, Kila and more
Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Easter Monday, all day, free; 1916.rte.ie
A play about Roger Casement by Arnold Thomas Fanning. Saturday’s performance features a postshow discussion with Martina Devlin, Dr Eibhear Walshe and Mary Moynihan of Smashing Times Theatre Company.
New Theatre, Temple Bar, until April 2nd, €16 from thenewtheatre.com
It was jarring when some Dublin postboxes were turned red overnight, but it’s all to coincide with the GPO’s Witness History exhibition. Find a postbox around the city, free-text the word on the side of the box, and you’ll be sent a video that shows what that post box witnessed in Easter Week 1916.
Various locations, any day, free, more from gpowitnesshistory.ie
Eating and drinking in Dublin
Grab a coffee
Dublin is falling over itself with great neighbourhood cafes, so get some caffeine into you while you take in the commemoration celebrations. Little Bird, on South Circular Road, twins a cafe with a yoga studio. Legit, on Meath Street, comes with treats baked by its French owner. Bang Bang, in Phibsborough, does a good ring donut and vintage tweed blazer rack. Love Supreme, in Stoneybatter, has excellent sausage rolls. For bigger spaces, check out Blas, at the Chocolate Factory on King’s Inns Street, and Urbanity in Smithfield.
Lala Poutine, which serves the Canadian comfort food of gravy-soaked chips and cheese curds, has graduated from market stalls to a shiny new food truck.
Follow @Lalapoutineirl on Twitter to see where it’ll be serving its €6 classic poutine next
Try a new bar
PT Sims, on South Great George’s Street, Zozimus, on Anne’s Lane, and the Rag Trader, on Drury Street, are all new bars in the capital worth a try, and no better time to do so than on a bank-holiday weekend.
Since Jaipur closed, Dublin city centre is strangely devoid of decent Indian restaurants, save for the excellent curries at Madina, on Mary Street. Enter Pickle, on Camden Street, an area currently heaving under the weight of restaurants, cafes and bars.
43 Camden Street, Tuesday-Sunday, picklerestaurant.com
New-school fish and chips
For a more adventurous one-and-one there are plenty of new places to choose from in Dublin. Try Fish Shop, at Queen Street in Smithfield, Klaw, in Temple Bar, Catch 22, on South Anne Street, or Fish Shack, on Parliament Street. For brunch go big or go home with the Cure at Super Miss Sue: two Bloody Marys, two beers, oysters, devilled eggs, crab claws, shrimp, mussels, clams, and crudites for €55.
Historical events outside Dublin
Kathleen Lynn: Insider on the outside Mayo Arts Collective presents an exhibition on the suffragette, labour activist and nationalist Kathleen Lynn. With several artists taking part, and the added relevance of this being in her home county, this is definitely worth a look.
Ballina Arts Centre and four other locations across Co Mayo, until April 30th, free; see ballinaartscentre.com
Patrick Pearse’s cottage In the heart of Connemara, Patrick Pearse’s cottage has been restored to give visitors an idea of what was his summer residence – and summer school for pupils of St Enda’s – was like.
Inbhear, near Rosmuc Village, Co Galway; daily until December 1st 10am-5pm, €4; heritageireland.ie
From a Whisper to a Roar: Exploring the Untold Story of Monaghan 1916
An exhibition about the lives of Monaghan people caught up in the Rising, as well as those who fought in the British army during the Battle of Somme.
Monaghan County Museum, Monday to Friday, free; monaghan.ie
A Proclamation reading and re-enactment of scenes at the South Dublin Union during the Rising.
Saturday, Market Square and Community Centre, Monasterevin, Co Kildare, free; ireland.ie
Neil Jordan’s biopic of Collins has been re-released for its 20th anniversary, so if you fancy a bit of Liam Neeson over Easter weekend check out this Irish classic.
Various locations, all weekend, various prices; entertainment.ie
Following performances at the Barbican, in London, earlier this month and another at the RDS this weekend, the harpist, composer and conductor Michael Rooney brings Macalla to Drogheda.
The TLT, Drogheda, Co Louth, Easter Sunday, €25 from thetlt.ie
Keep the Home Fires Burning
Galway Percy French Society and Patrick Kavanagh Western Association come together for an evening of music, poetry and song inspired by Irish poets and the first World War.
Roscommon Arts Centre, Holy Saturday 8pm, €10; roscommonartscentre.ie
Songs of Revolution
Frances Black and Andy Irvine head north for Féile an Earraigh. The Devenish, Belfast, Holy Saturday 7pm, £10 (€12.50).
A Great Arrangement
Patrick Talbot’s new play draws on correspondence between Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan, as well as on speeches.
Gardens Theatre, Cork, until April 2nd, €20; corkcity1916.ie
Blue Raincoat theatre company gives Ernest Shackleton the theatrical treatment in this production, which tells that story of survival using video, movement and puppets.
Factory Performance Space, Sligo, until April 2nd, 8pm; blueraincoat.com
Revisit the 1980s through John Carney’s lens. A film with easily accessible nostalgia, throwback tunes, Dublin: you get the picture.
Nationwide, various prices
The Queen of Ireland
In cinemas this film about the drag performer Panti Bliss had the biggest ever opening for an Irish documentary. If you haven’t seen it yet Easter Sunday is your chance. Watching this touching picture is one way to see how far the country has come in 100 years.
RTÉ2, Sunday 10pm; rte.ie
Think there’s no life left in the courtroom drama? Think again thanks to Chaitanya Tamhane’s stunning debut film, made with an amateur cast and crew. One of the best movies of last year, it took Dublin International Film Festival by storm.
IFI, Temple Bar, Dublin, Holy Saturday until Thursday, March 31st, various times, ifi.ie
There’s talent in this threesome of indie, loungey, harmony-driven R’n’B, which can veer delightfully all over the place.
Cyprus Avenue, Cork, Saturday, €13.50; cyprusavenue.ie
Take a hike
Dublin Walking Festival has everything from full-moon night walks near Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, to historic walks in the Dublin Mountains around Massy’s Wood and the Hell Fire Club. Various locations until Easter Sunday, adults €12, children €5, from hilltoptreks.ie
Find a forest
Spice up a family walk with a little orienteering. Coillte, the State forestry company, has created permanent orienteering courses at some of its most scenic forest parks, including Barnaslingan and Ticknock, in Co Dublin. Course guides are free to download from coillteoutdoors.ie
On your bike
Purpose-built mountain-bike trails at Ticknock or at Ballinastoe, near Roundwood.
Dublin and Wicklow, every day, bike rental €40 from biking.ie
Music for the digital generation
RTÉ Pulse and DIT come together for a DJ and radio-presenting workshop for 10- to 15-year-olds.
Biscuit Theatre, DIT Aungier Street, Monday, 11am-noon, free tickets from 1916.rte.ie
Put the needle on the record
Galway’s Community Skratch Games celebrate 10 years of bringing the best DJ battles to the City of the Tribes. Events kick off at 4pm, and it’s free in. Get down early as it’s likely to be packed from the get go.
Bierhaus, Galway, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday from 4pm, free, bit.ly/1Rnsrjs
Put Yourself in the Picture
Celebrating the children of 2016, the Ark children’s cultural centre is inviting children aged four and over to create a portrait of themselves using drawing, photography and writing. Portrait artists will be giving tips.
The Ark, Temple Bar, Easter Monday from 11am; free tickets from ark.ie
Barnardos Easter egg hunt
Attention hungry eggsplorers: Cadbury is on hand in Dublin to dole out Easter eggs, as well as family entertainment, in aid of the children’s charity.
Merrion Square, Holy Saturday 10.30am-1pm and 2-4.30pm, €5 per person or €20 for a family; easter.cadbury.ie
With alcohol sales still banned on Good Friday, dance-music fans can save their weekend energy for the dubstep pioneer Skream (Holy Saturday) and the Swedish house DJ Axel Boman (Easter Sunday), who come to Dublin to help you sweat out those Creme Egg calories.
District 8, Francis Street, from €17; more at district8dublin.com
The North Wall series
An ongoing photography project capturing the lives of people living, working and playing in and around the North Wall. Paul Kelly’s stark black-and-white photographs of everyday life are captivating.
Paul Kelly Gallery, CHQ, until April 1st, free, paulkellyphotographer.com
Bollywood Night 2016
For something completely different, how about a Bollywood night, featuring DJ G-One, plus local Indian DJ Gladi Singh? The tunes, dancing and Indian snacks are included in the ticket price.
Pygmalion, South William Street, Holy Saturday from 7pm, from €8; pyg.ie
Easter Sunday Masses take place in all parishes, but to hear some fine music while you worship get to Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral for 9.30am, when the voices of the Palestrina Choir will accompany Mass by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (who has warned of access problems and parking restrictions in the city due to the commemorations). Some 1916 rebels got Mass on Easter Sunday in the Pro-Cathedral; others attended confession there on Easter Monday.
Pro-Cathedral, Marlborough Street, Dublin, 9.30am, dublindiocese.ie