27 March 2016

Ireland Commemorates Easter Rising Centenary

As many as 250,000 people are taking part in a ceremony in Dublin to commemorate 100 years since the Easter Rising.

16/4/2006: Military personal, vehicles and troops march down O'Connell St in the Easter Sunday Parade.   ©Picture: JOHN COGILL

Ireland is marking the centenary of the Easter Rising against British rule with the largest public event in its history.

Up to a quarter of a million people have lined the streets to catch a glimpse of a massive military parade through Dublin.

Nearly 4,000 members of the Defence Forces were taking part, alongside members of the emergency services and Irish Prison Service.

The route of the march was 4.5km in length – 2km longer than the annual St Patrick’s Day parade.

It was Easter 1916 when a poorly armed band seized Dublin’s General Post Office and declared Ireland an independent republic.


Britain crushed the rebellion in less than a week and controversially executed 16 of the men who had led it.

The death sentences turned the tide of public opinion and brought a sense of urgency to Ireland’s demand for independence.

The day of events commemorating the Easter Rising began with Ireland’s President, Michael D Higgins laying a wreath at Kilmainham Gaol, where 14 leaders were shot by firing squad.

The commemorations then moved to the General Post Office on O’Connell Street, where Ireland was proclaimed independent.

Grandstands were erected on the iconic street to accommodate 6,000 people – 5,000 of them descendants of those who participated in the Easter Rising.


Children laid flowers and there was a ceremonial reading of the Proclamation of the Republic – a re-enactment of the actions of rebel leader Patrick Pearse on Easter Monday 1916.

Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny then invited Mr Higgins to lay the wreath “on behalf of the people of Ireland in honour of all those who died”.

A minute’s silence and a flypast by the Irish Air Corps followed, with thousands looking on.

At a gathering in Dublin last night, Mr Higgins said: “For all of us citizens today theirs are stories of great bravery, vision and determination; but they were also, for their loved ones and dependents, stories tinged with sadness, loss and separation.

“The human price paid should not ever be forgotten, should remind us of the great debt of gratitude we owe to all of those who bravely risked their lives a hundred years ago so that future generations of Ireland could grow up as citizens of a free and independent state.”

Northern Ireland’s First Minister, the Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster, declined an invitation to attend the official commemoration in Dublin.

Others have questioned the appropriateness of marking an armed uprising when dissident republicans still pose a threat in Northern Ireland.

Given the threat posed by terrorists, from both home and abroad, security is tight on both sides of the border.

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