State prepares for largest ever Easter Centenary programme to mark 100th anniversary of 1916 Rising
At a press conference today (Wednesday 23rd March) to announce details of the major commemorative events for Easter, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, said that the 2016 Easter Sunday parade and series of commemorative events to be held this weekend, will be the largest ever staged in the history of the State.
The series of State ceremonial events will begin on Easter Saturday, with a ceremony in the Garden of Remembrance, and will culminate on Easter Monday night with Centenary, a TV spectacular to be broadcast at home and abroad, produced by RTÉ in collaboration with the State’s Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.
This year’s Easter Sunday Parade will stretch for 4.5km and will involve more than 3,700 members of the Defence Forces, our Emergency Services and Army veterans. RTÉ Reflecting the Rising, in partnership with Ireland 2016, the largest public cultural event to ever be staged in the city centre, will be held in Dublin on Easter Monday.
Minister Heather Humphreys TD outlined the details of the events at a press conference this morning, where she was joined by Anne Graham (Chief Executive Officer, National Transport Authority), Brendan Kenny (Assistant Chief Executive, Dublin City Council), Glen Killane (Managing Director, RTÉ Television), Vice Admiral Mark Mellett (Chief of Staff, Defence Forces) and John Twomey, Deputy Commissioner of An Garda Síochána.
Speaking at the briefing, Minister Heather Humphreys said: “This weekend will be the focal point of our Centenary Year, as we stage our largest ever Easter Sunday parade and a series of State ceremonial and cultural events to commemorate the events of Easter Week 1916, which ultimately led to our independence.
“We are expecting hundreds of thousands of people to come to Dublin city centre throughout the course of the weekend, and we are doing all we can to ensure as many people as possible can enjoy the occasion. People are encouraged to take public transport and to check out all access routes on www.ireland.ie. There will be 22 viewing screens along the parade route on Easter Sunday, with five other setback areas, where families can congregate.
“Each day of the weekend is anchored in a respectful commemorative ceremony, to remember those who lost their lives in the pursuit of self determination and democracy. While Sunday will be a day of solemn reflection, on Monday we will celebrate our Irishness, our diversity and our national identity in an incredible array of artistic, historical and culture events.
“The scale of this weekend’s programme of events is unprecedented, and I would like to acknowledge the huge amount of preparation and hard work which has been done by all arms of the State, including the Defence Forces and the Gardaí, as well as staff working right across Government.
“100 years on from 1916, Ireland is a democracy which has stood the test of time, despite considerable challenges. This weekend we will honour the courage and ideals that characterised the events and people of 1916, while also reflecting on our entire history and the diverse national identity which makes us Irish today.”
Event highlights over the weekend include:
- State Ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance (Saturday 26th March, 12 noon) to remember and honour those who gave their lives for Irish freedom.
- State event for Relatives of participants in the 1916 Rising (Saturday 26th March, RDS 6pm) which will include a keynote address by President Michael D. Higgins and a special performance of the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Macalla 1916
- State Ceremony in three parts at Glasnevin Cemetery (Sunday 27th March, 9.30am) which includes a wreath-layings at the Sigerson Monument, the grave of Edward Hollywood and the grave of PeadarKearney.
- State Ceremonial event at the Stone Breakers Yard in Kilmainham on the site where the 1916 leaders were executed in Kilmainham Gaol.
- The Easter Centenary Parade which, over a 4.5km route across the city centre, involves over 3,700 personnel from all branches of the Defence Forces, the Gardaí and the emergency services. The State Ceremonial will take place at 12 noon at the GPO, where President Michael D. Higgins will lay a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland.
- The major public event for Easter Monday is RTÉ Reflecting the Rising in partnership with Ireland 2016, at multiple locations around Dublin. It will include more than 500 free talks, exhibitions, debates, film, performances and dramatizations, with six outdoor stages and lots of activities for children and families, in more than 200 venues spanning both sides of Dublin City Centre. The events are happening in five distinct zones around the city – between 11am and 6pm.
- Synchronised wreath-laying ceremonies on Easter Monday (28th March, 1.15pm) at seven 1916 garrison locations around Dublin including Boland’s Mill, Jacob’s Factory (Bishop Street), Dublin Castle/ City Hall, The Four Courts, The Royal College of Surgeons, Moore Street and St. James’ Hospital (South Dublin Union). At the same moment, there will also be four wreath-layings in Athenry, Cork, Enniscorthy and Ashbourne.
Large viewing screens will be in place at the Garden of Remembrance and Glasnevin Cemetery for the public. The ceremony at Stonebreakers Yard will be screened on these as well as there is extremely limited capacity in Kilmainham. The public are also welcome to attend the synchronised wreath-layings in Dublin on Easter Monday.
Full event details of all events and FAQ’s are available at www.ireland.ie