The number and variety of Easter commemorative events taking place this weekend is at a record as the 26 County state attempts to make up for the years when it ignored the 1916 anniversary.
The main state events of the 1916 centenary take place in Dublin this weekend, with the centrepiece - the city centre parade and GPO wreath-laying - happening on Sunday.
The actual day of the start of the rebellion may have been on 24 April in 1916, but most of the official ceremonies and parades are taking place over Easter. Around half a million people are expected in the city over Sunday morning and afternoon.
The Easter Sunday Parade is the main event of the day and of the weekend. This year’s event will stretch for 4.5km through central Dublin and will involve more than 3,700 members of the 26 County army.
The parade will start at 10am at Stephen’s Green and finish at Bolton Street at around 3. The main commemoration ceremony happens outside the GPO at noon, where the parade will pause.
The President will lay a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland during the ceremony and there will be a minute’s silence for those who died. The National Flag on top of the GPO will then be raised to full mast and the ceremony will conclude with the playing of the National Anthem. There will also be a fly-past by the Air Corps.
There’ll also be a three-part wreath-laying ceremony at Glasnevin at 9.30am, and one at Kilmainham Gaol at 10.30am to be attended by the President.
The Taoiseach is hosting a State Reception with 2,000 relatives and 1,000 other guests at Dublin Castle.
The main state event of today [Saturday] is a ceremony with music and poetry at the Garden of Remembrance at the top of O’Connell Street, to be attended by the President. There’s also a State Event for 1916 Relatives taking place at the RDS, with around 4,000 people attending.
On Monday, wreath-laying ceremonies will take place at six iconic sites associated with the Rising, with a government minister presiding over each one. The ceremonies take place at 1.15pm, the time when the first shots of the Rising were fired in 1916.
The events take place at Boland’s Mill, the Jacobs Factory (now the National Archives), Dublin Castle/City Hall, The Four Courts, the Royal College of Surgeons, Moore Street and St. James’s Hospital.
Sinn Fein has already begun its 1916 Commemorations with a rally to celebrate the lives of the executed leaders and role of the Irish diaspora in the Rising.”
Friday’s march (pictured) included re-enactments performed by members of the Cabra Historical Society. Assembling in the shadow of the grounds at Kilmainham where several 1916 rebels were executed including James Connolly, marchers headed across the River Liffey to Arbour Hill, where party leader Gerry Adams addressed the crowd.
Mr Adams said the 1916 proclamation of independence “remains the mission statement for Irish republicans today”. He said the centenary of the Easter Rising was “an historic opportunity to look realistically towards ending partition and sectarianism and division” and to “see how we can make the united, independent Ireland envisaged in 1916 a reality”.
He added that a united Ireland “means the unity of the people of this island, including those who see themselves as British”.
“That is why Irish governments must pursue every avenue to promote all-Ireland co-operation and to build relationships between all our people,” he said. “This must include genuine efforts to outreach to the unionists on the basis of equality.”
A commemoration of the Irish Citizen Army is being held by the party today, with a march from old Abbey St to St Stephens Green. The main commemoration in Dublin takes place from Berkeley Road Church at 1.30 pm going to St Pauls, Glasnevin.
Sinn Fein members will also take part in march organised by Belfast National Graves at noon on Sunday. The march will start at Hamill Street from 11.30am in the Lower Falls area before making its way to Milltown Cemetery.
Scores of other events are being organised or supported by the party and those interested are urged to contact their local organisation for details.
In other events, the National Republican Commemoration Committee, which is supported by the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association and a number of prominent republicans, has invited those committed to the continuing fight for Irish freedom to join in a commemoration of Ireland’s martyred dead in Coalisland on Easter Sunday 2016.
The event takes place in Coalisland at 3pm on Easter Sunday, starting at Clonoe Chapel and concluding at St Patrick’s Hall -- a site of special significance for republicans where volunteers who were meant to take part in the rising gathered, before eventually being ordered to return home.
A statement from the committee described the Easter Rising of 1916 as an “unfinished revolution”. They said: “While we have listened to the opinions of those who state that the time is not right for a continuation of revolution by any and all means, it is our opinion that while the denial of national self-determination and British occupation continue, so too will armed revolution. Those who remain true to the ideals and principles of the 1916 Proclamation, need to publicly re-dedicate ourselves to the achievement of that vision.”
32 COUNTY SOVEREIGNTY MOVEMENT
The national commemoration supported by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement will take place in Dublin on Easter Monday at 12pm, from The Garden of Rememberance to the final resting place of the signatories of the Proclamation in Arbour Hill Cemetery.
The committee said: “The Centenary of the 1916 Rebellion and the establishment of the Sovereign Republic of Eire is of the upmost importance to republican and socialist activists and indeed to the majority of Irish people. Given the relentless revisionism of the state and its media outlets to downplay, dilute and misrepresent the aims and objectives of the men and women of 1916 it is imperative that the core political message of 1916 is heard.”
The socialist republican party, eirigi, is marking this year’s Easter commemoration in Belfast with a parade organised under the auspices of the Irish Republican Commemoration Committee. It will assemble on Easter Monday at 1.00pm on the Falls Road, close to the house where executed 1916 leader, James Connolly, once lived with family and make its way to Milltown cemetery. The main oration will be delivered by Belfast republican, Bernard Fox.
A spokesperson for the organising committee, Martine Jackson, said, “As has been the practice at our previous commemorations in Belfast, the emphasis will be solely on remembering all those who gave their lives as a result of the long struggle, across many generations, to achieve full political, social and economic freedom in Ireland.”
The 1916 Societies have also already begun their centenary Celebrations with an event to remember the first actions of the 1916 Easter Rising. The commemoration, organised by the Thomas Behan Society Kildare, took place in Colt Wood, County Laois, on Good Friday where Volunteers who carried out the first actions of the 1916 Rising were commemorated. It was on Easter Sunday night 1916 that Laois Volunteers, acting on the orders of Padraig Pearse, demolished the railway to prevent the British getting reinforcements to Dublin from the south. The firing of the first shot of the 1916 Rising followed the demolition.
The organisation is holding their main commemorative parade from the GPO to Arbour Hill is this Saturday, March 26th at 12pm, organised by the Sean Heuston Society.
The IRSM is holding both a Dublin and Belfast march and commemoration this year. The party assembles for their annual Easter march at the founding place of the republican socialist movement, Liberty Hall, Dublin on Saturday March 26th at 12:30 for a march to the GPO. The calendar anniversary of the Easter rising will be marked with the traditional Belfast parade and commemoration on Sunday April 24th. All members and supporters are asked to assemble at Dunville Park, Falls Road, Belfast at 11am on that date, for a march to the Republican Socialist plot in Milltown cemetery where our annual commemorative event will be held.
The Republican Sinn Fein ‘1916 National Centenary Committee’ has announced that it will mark the calendar 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising next month in Dublin on Saturday 23rd April 2016 - those attending are requested to assemble at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square, from where a parade will leave at 1.45pm for the GPO in O’Connell Street.
The annual Dublin RSF Easter Commemoration will be held on Easter Monday, 28th March 2016. Those attending are asked to assemble at the Garden of Remembrance from where, at 2pm, the parade will leave for the GPO. It is also holding an annual parade in Lurgan, County Armagh, at 1pm today [Saturday].
The Republican Network for Unity will also hold its annual Na Fianna hEireann commemoration at Ardoyne Avenue in north Belfast today at 2pm. On Sunday, the Dundalk 1916-2016 Centenary Association in conjunction with RNU Dundalk are hosting a commemorative march to mark the sacrifice of all those who fell in pursuit of the Republic, and to rally against the continued occupation of the Six Counties. Assemble at Market Square at 10.30am and proceed to the republican plot at St Patrick’s cemetery.