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.
Easter Sunday's Parade will stretch for 4.5km and will involve more than 3,700 members of the Defence Forces, Emergency Services and Army veterans, while on Monday, RTÉ's Reflecting the Rising will be the most ambitious public cultural event that Dublin's City centre has seen.
Minister of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys TD described the weekend ahead as the focal point of the State's 1916 commemorations. “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," she said. "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 26 March, Noon) to remember and honour those who gave their lives for Irish freedom.
- State event for relatives of participants in the 1916 Rising (Saturday 26 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 27 March, 9.30am), which includes a wreath-layings at the Sigerson Monument, the grave of Edward Hollywood and the grave of Peadar Kearney.
- 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 (Sunday 27 March). 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's 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 the north and south 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 (28 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.