UCD to host major Easter Rising conference in 2016
Event will give global context to 1916 as part of university’s centenary commemorations
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys has launched UCD’s programme for the Easter Rising centenary. The programme includes a major conference providing a global context for the events of 1916. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
UCD is to host a major interdisciplinary conference next year on the Easter Rising’s global context.
The conference is one of at least 25 events the university has planned around the centenary of the Rising.
Beginning this September, Prof Robert Gerwarth, from the UCD School of History and the Royal Irish Academy, will host a public lecture series on the global repercussions of, and responses to, the 1916 Rising.
UCD historian Dr Conor Mulvagh, who is coordinating the university’s Decade of Commemoration centenary coverage, said 1916 was “a relatively uncontroversial commemorative space” and that other commemorations will be more problematic.
Dr Mulvagh said: “At its worst, commemoration can be reductive, simplistic, and downright hagiographical. At its best, commemoration is a fusion of imagination, education, and new information.”
UCD graduates were heavily involved in the Rising. Prof Eoin MacNeill, who countermanded the mobilisation order for Easter Sunday, taught in the university.
Two of the four Dublin battalions occupying the city during Easter week were led by graduates, the 2nd and 3rd, led by Thomas MacDonagh and Éamon de Valera respectively.
Pádraig Pearse was also a graduate of UCD.
UCD academics, including Prof Diarmaid Ferriter and Dr Mulvagh, will be involved in next Monday’s Road to the Rising event in Dublin city centre. The event aims to show how life was lived 100 years ago before the Rising occurred.
In June, Dr Catherine Wilsdon and colleagues from the UCD School of English, Film and Drama will run a two-day event in the National Gallery focusing on the literary career of UCD academic and Proclamation signatory, Thomas MacDonagh, comprising talks, an exhibition and film screenings.
The Laffan Lectures, a series of ten open source online podcasts on the revolutionary period, has already surpassed 50,000 downloads, the university said.
The UCD programme was launched by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys. She was given a tour of the UCD archives, which includes 450 interviews conducted by Ernie O’Malley with people active in the period from the Rising to the end of the civil war.