Thursday 13 November 2014

1916 centenary initiative – Ireland 1916 – launched

Garden of Remembrance, Dublin
A national initiative to mark the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising was launched last night at the GPO in Dublin. It is to be led by the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, which will develop, coordinate and deliver a programme of activity to honour and remember those who fought and those who died in the 1916 Rising, to reflect on the legacy of that period and to look towards Ireland's future.

A number of formal State events will be held over Easter weekend 2016, including a military ceremony to be led by 1916 relatives on Easter Sunday, 27 March 2016. Other key events will include a special State Reception for relatives on Saturday, 26 March, and a commemoration at Arbour Hill on Sunday 24 April 24, to mark the date of the Rising.

Ireland 2016 is based on five intersecting themes:
  • Remember: recalling shared history on the island of Ireland;
  • Reconcile: honouring all who have built peace and brought people together;
  • Imagine:  releasing the creativity of Irish people, in particular, young people;
  • Present: creatively showing the nation's achievements to the world;
  • Celebrate:  family, community and friendship and the renewal of a commitment to the Proclamation's ideals of liberty and equality. 
Ireland 2016 will encompass a range of initiatives including:
  • Permanent Reminders: €22 million in 2015 for seven flagship capital projects to be developed by Easter 2016
  • State Events: national ceremonies, parades and events will take place to remember those who participated in the Rising and will involve the relatives
  • Culture Programme: A rich cultural programme will be developed in co-operation with Ireland's National Cultural Institutions, the Arts Council and Culture Ireland
  • Young People: A special Education Commemorative Programme will be prepared with the Department of Education and Skills
  • Community: The Department of Arts will lead an extensive consultation programme with local government and community groups to facilitate ground-up initiatives across the country
  • Diaspora: Through the Embassy network, talks, exhibitions, seminars and cultural events will be held to present Ireland 2016 to the world
  • Language: a number of projects are being progressed to reflect the esteem with which the Irish language was held by the 1916 Leaders
  • Commemorative Stamps: A special set of commemorative stamps and a series of coins will be issued.
Further details on Ireland 2016 are available on a new website – – and there's also a downloadable pdf format brochure.

At the formal launch, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, said: '2016 presents us with a once-in-a-century opportunity to create events of celebration and remembrance that are of value in themselves but that also contribute to a greater sense of who we are, what we want to be as a people, what achievements we aspire to for ourselves and for our children.

'The formal State events of the Easter weekend and the centenary itself are the focal points of our commemoration programme. But we need 2016 to be much more than that. 2016 can be a year when we remember our shared history on these islands, reflect on our achievements and our failings and re-imagine our future.

'Remembrance on its own is insufficient to honour the ideals and achievements of the men and women who proclaimed our Republic. We can best honour the past by reflecting deeply and seriously on the present, by exploring and celebrating our achievements, and by creatively re-imagining how we should aspire to the ideal of the Republic as proclaimed in 1916.'