Dead of Easter Week to be remembered at Good Friday service

Annual reading at Unitarian Church includes dead of Northern Ireland conflict

Unitarian Church at St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Unitarian Church at St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


For the first time, this year’s Good Friday ceremony at Dublin’s Unitarian Church on St Stephen’s Green will mark the dead of 1916, as well as those who died in the more recent conflict in Northern Ireland.

It will do so in separate ceremonies. Beginning at 11.15am, members of the congregation and the public present will read from the pulpit the names of all those – rebels, civilians, soldiers and policemen – who died in Ireland in Easter week 1916, and as a consequence of the Rising.

Then, at midday, the usual ceremony will take place as members of the congregation will read names of the more than 3,500 people who died as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland, ending with Belfast prison officer Adrian Ismay who died last week from injuries received in a car bomb attack earlier this month.

Among the readers this year will be Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Críona Ní Dhálaigh, Provost of Trinity College Dublin Prof Patrick Prendergast, President of the Royal Irish Academy Prof Mary Daly, and broadcaster Joe Duffy, who has written a book on the 40 children killed in Easter Week. Also taking part in the readings will be members of the Justice for the Forgotten group.

Minister of the Dublin Unitarian Church Rev Bridget Spain will introduce both services and end each with a prayer for the dead.

The double act of commemoration is the only religious service of its kind in Ireland and will be the 16th year of the ‘reading of the names’ service for all those who died in the Northern Ireland conflict. It starts with John Patrick Scullion, a Catholic storeman shot by the UVF in West Belfast in 1966.

The list of dead in the Northern Ireland conflict includes British soldiers, IRA members, loyalist paramilitaries, Irish and Ulster policemen and women, gardaí, part-time UDR men, prison officers, civil rights marchers, judges, businessmen, farmers, taxi drivers, social workers, children of all ages, people killed walking home from the pub, while watching football on television, while attending church, on trains, out walking, shopping, visiting London, those who died in Birmingham, Dublin, Monaghan, Belfast, Derry, Omagh, and a score of other towns and villages.