A programme of more than 1,800 local community events and initiatives has been launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD as part of next year's Ireland 2016 centenary celebration. Ireland 2016 is a year-long programme of activity to commemorate the events of the 1916 Rising, to reflect on Ireland's achievements over the last 100 years and to look towards the nation's future.
Having looked through the programmes for Counties Cork, Carlow and Wicklow, I have to say I'm mightily impressed with the originality and versatility of some of the planned events. There are, as you'd expect, lots of parades and formal ceremonies; exhibitions; plaque, memorial and public art unveilings to honour regional heroes and remember local events from the Revolutionary period, and we are in for a lot of music, song and dance in our streets, squares, parks, community halls and theatres. But there are also some really unusual, even slightly eccentric, events planned.
In addition, genealogical and historical societies and other local heritage groups will be running theme-focussed conferences, publishing commemorative booklets, cleaning up local graveyards, creating apps and designing walking trails and local history brochures.
My weekly events listings are going to be even longer than usual, too, because hundreds of lectures will be presented to explore some of the wider themes and tell the stories of local individuals and groups.
The countdown to 1916 has been a long time a-coming, but it will have arrived in less than 10 weeks. So I'd recommend you take a look at the programme for where you live or where your ancestors lived 100 years ago, and start saving some dates.
The City/County Programmes (aka Local Authority Programmes) are available at www.ireland.ie .
The Global programme can be downloaded here.