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2016 Commemoration Events

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Throughout 2016, events will commemorate the people & buildings that set the stage for Easter Week 1916, an armed rebellion that shaped Ireland’s future. During this week, volunteer forces occupied locations around Dublin in a bid for an independent Ireland. Now, 100 years on, a diverse calendar of events tells the stories of the Rising & gives an opportunity for reflection. Whether your ancestors were involved, or you simply love delving into history, here are some key events to look out for...

Throughout 2016, a centenary celebration will take place to commemorate what can easily be regarded as the most pivotal moment in Irish history. The Easter Rising of 1916 paved the way towards Irish independence and the restructuring of the nation, while liberating its people and reviving cultural and national identity. It’s an incredibly important moment for the people of Ireland to share, and if you’re lucky enough to be joining them during the festivities, you’re in for an unforgettable experience. A series of events will commemorate the people and buildings that set the stage for Easter Week 1916, and here’s just a small taster of what to expect in the weeks surrounding the centenary celebrations.

Kilmainham Gaol and Courthouse

Once a prison that held some of the most famous political and military leaders in Irish history, the now unoccupied Kilmainham Gaol and its adjoining courthouse will be a central point in the 2016 Centenary Programme. 14 leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed in the Stonebreakers’ Yard at Kilmainham Gaol. Open all year round, the museum includes an exhibition detailing the history of the prison and its inhabitants, as well as a guided tour and has been voted the number 1 attraction in Dublin by TripAdvisor fans. In 2016, the recently refurbished courthouse – where decisions that sealed the fate of many were made – will be opened to the public.

2016 Commemoration Events
2016 Commemoration Events

GPO Witness History

O’Connell Street’s best-known landmark, the General Post Office (GPO), was designed in 1818 by Armagh architect Francis Johnston. It went on to play a central role in the Easter Rising of 1916, serving as the rebels’ main headquarters. The street suffered widespread damage during the Rising and subsequent Irish Civil War, and had to be substantially rebuilt in the 1920s. It’s fitting then that this iconic building will open a Witness History exhibition and visitor centre in 2016. From 25 March, visitors can dive into its history and tales of real people in extraordinary circumstances.

Explore the women of the 1916 Rising

On International Women’s Day this 8 March, you’ll find a series of events in the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and the nearby National Museum of Decorative Arts and History commemorating the women who took part in the 1916 Easter Rising. On the first day of the Rising, 40 members of Cumann na mBan (the Irish women’s council) entered the General Post Office (GPO) and fought alongside their male counterparts, as well as in strongholds across the city. Meanwhile at Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, you can join a tour celebrating the women of Cumann na mBan with visits to the final resting places of Constance Markievicz and Elizabeth O’Farrell, two key figures in the Rising.

Women of the Rising image via 
Richmond Barracks

2016 Commemoration Events
2016 Commemoration Events

Easter Week Remembered

Located at the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History, a new exhibition opening in spring will explore the dramatic events of the 1916 Easter Rising, as well as the impact it had on the city, its citizens and on the Irish nation itself. For the first time, experience the story of Easter Week 1916 through an impressive 15,000 piece collection, including the original Proclamation, a document issued by the Irish volunteers that marked the beginning of the Rising. Alongside this, there’ll also be the flag of the Irish Republic that flew above the General Post Office, as well as many personal objects including guns, uniforms and diaries.

National Museum of Decorative Arts and History image via 
100 Objects

1916 Easter Rising exhibition

Following the six day Rising, both civilians and those who participated in the fight for independence were laid to rest at Glasnevin Cemetery, approximately 3km from the city centre. As part of their exhibition opening 10 March, the Glasnevin Trust is collating information on the 485 people who lost their lives during the Rising. If you have a relative who was killed in the Easter Rising, the Glasnevin Trust invites you to share their story here. Meanwhile on Mondays and Sundays, join the Revolutionary Tour and visit the graves of those who strove for Irish independence over the years, including politician Charles Stewart Parnell, Maude Gonne MacBride, Daniel O'Connell, Éamon DeValera and Michael Collins. Don’t miss the re-enactment of Padraig Pearse’s rousing graveside oration which occurred in the lead up to Easter Week 1916, at the grave of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa every day from March through to December.

2016 Commemoration Events
2016 Commemoration Events

Easter Sunday Parade

As Easter Sunday falls on 27 March in 2016, on this day a poignant parade and ceremony commemorating the events and people of the Rising will begin at Dublin Castle at 11:45. Starting with a fly past by the Air Corps, the Army, Navy, UN Veterans and Gardaí (Irish police force) will lead the procession through Dame Street, making their way towards the GPO on O’Connell Street for 12 noon. Once there, the national flag will be lowered, an Army officer in uniform will read the Proclamation (as Padraig Pearse did in 1916), and the President of Ireland will lay a wreath which will be followed by a minute’s silence for all those who lost their lives. As the National Flag is raised to full mast, participants and spectators will join voices to sing Ireland’s National Anthem.

Easter Sunday Parade image via 
Decade of Centenaries

Richmond Barracks

Built in 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars, this British-built barracks took many forms over its 200 years. Many Irishmen were stationed at Richmond Barracks before being sent to the front lines of WWI and after the Rising, 3,000 suspected rebels were held there before being sent to prison camps overseas, or sentenced to death. At its multimedia exhibition centre – opening on 2 May – visitors will learn how the barracks was inextricably woven into the city’s history. They’ll also discover lost stories from the building, which later functioned as a housing estate and school.

Detainees at Richmond Barracks image via 
Dublin City Council

2016 Commemoration Events
2016 Commemoration Events

Liberty Hall Ceremony

On 29 March in collaboration with the Trade Union Movement, an official State ceremonial event will take place at Liberty Hall. This building has played an important role in Irish history, and was very much at the centre of planning for the Rising. Indeed, it was used for storage of guns, ammunition, homemade bombs, and grenades during Easter Week. Outside you’ll see a statue of James Connolly, a socialist leader who was one of the seven signatories of the Proclamation. [LINK TO 7 SIGNATORIES ARTICLE] RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcaster, will cover this event online and on TV.

James Connolly image via 
Patrick Comerford