1916 centenary: Tributes paid at Glasnevin Cemetery

Amhrán na bhFiann composer and creator of tricolour among those remembered

The composer of Amhrán na bhFiann and the creator of the tricolour were remembered on Sunday as part of the 2016 commemorations.

Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys was joined by British and French dignitaries as wreaths were laid at the graves of Peader Kearney and Edward Hollywood in Glasnevin cemetery.

Edward Hollywood (1814-1873) was a silk weaver from the Liberties in Dublin who put together the Irish tricolour flag in 1848, and Peadar Kearney (1883-1942) wrote the lyrics to Amhrán na bhFiann.

Ms Humphreys questioned how they would have felt knowing their efforts were being honoured. She pondered if Hollywood could have dreamt that this year more than 4,000 such tricolours would be presented by the Defence Forces to primary and secondary school children all across this country.


“Equally, our national anthem was written by a republican and has its roots in a revolutionary spirit,” she said.

“Could Peadar Kearney have anticipated that the words he wrote in 1907 would one day be our national anthem? Would he have been surprised that his work would find such acclaim?”

Mr Kearney’s great-grandson Dualta O’ Broinn sang Amhrán na bhFiann by his great-grandfather’s grave.

The family of Mr Kearney said it was an exceptionally proud day for them.

“It is great that he is recognised for his contribution because you don’t hear so much. We are proud every day but today we feel extra proud,” his grandson Peadar said.

“What would he think of this considering he died in poverty? He had a hard life and I wonder what would he think of all this fuss. He would be chuffed to bits I think.”

The ceremonies at Glasnevin on the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising began a nationwide day of remembrance.

The centre piece of the events at Glasnevin was the raising of the tricolour by members of the Irish Defence Forces and the playing of the national anthem by a lone piper in the main courtyard of the cemetery.

Ms Humphreys said the commemorations had allowed the country to appreciate the price paid by Irish men and women for independence.

She said this was a moment for reflection on what inspired the Rising – a vision of a better Ireland, with equal rights and opportunities.

“Today we honour those who acted with sincerity in their quest for independence despite the consequences.”

At the Sigerson memorial in the cemetery, Ms Humphreys laid a green, laurel wreath in memory of all who served in Easter Week 1916.

She was followed by the British ambassador to Ireland Dominick Chilcott who laid a green wreath with white flowers.

The wreath-laying ceremony was followed by a minute’s silence, a piper’s lament, the last post, the raising of the tricolour, reveille, and the national anthem.

The French ambassador to Ireland Jean-Pierre Thébault, Minister of State at the Department of Arts Joe McHugh and acting Minister of State at the Department of Justice Aodhán Ó Ríordáin were also present.