Galway County Council has major plans to mark the anniversary of the Easter Rising next year. A large crowd gathered at County Hall earlier this week for the launch of the local authority’s 1916 centenary programme. The commemorations encompass a number of themes including remembering, reconciling, presenting, imagining, and celebrating.
The county council’s programme is one of the largest in the country, with more than 150 events planned. It includes the largest Irish language strand to reflect on the central place of our native language in the ideals of the revolutionary generation and in Galway.
This diverse programme also includes formal commemorative events, focused on remembering and honouring those who took part in the Easter Rising, and especially those with strong ties to the county. The programme also offers a range of history-based activities and initiatives, designed to deepen and broaden our understanding of the events of 1916 and that pivotal period in our history.
One of the highlights of the programme is a State ceremonial event in Athenry on Easter Monday 2016. This is in recognition of the historical significance of the town and the surrounding areas in relation to the events of 1916. Athenry will be one of only four locations outside of Dublin to participate in synchronised wreath-laying ceremonies. This televised State event will be held at 1.15pm - the time that the first shots of the 1916 Rising were fired.
A County Galway 1916 Rising Heritage Trail will also be developed. Various sites in the county relating to the Rising and the people associated with it will be documented. A brochure will be produced which will give the reader/visitor an insight into the events, places, and people associated with Easter Week.
Elsewhere, the Eamonn Ceannt Symposium will take place on the centenary of the death of Ceannt, at his birthplace in Ballymoe. The symposium will seek to examine various facets of his life including his membership of the Gaelic League, the co-founding of Cumann na bPíobairí with Edward Martyn and his role in the 1916 Rising.
Meanwhile, Teagasc, in partnership with the council will host a National 1916-2016 event, next June, commemorating farming and country life 1916-2016 at Teagasc, Mellows Campus in Athenry. The campus at Athenry has a strong connection with the Easter Rising and is named after Liam Mellows, the leader of the Rising in Galway. Some 500 volunteers, including Mellow’s himself, camped at the farmyard on Tuesday April 25, 1916.
Council CEO Kevin Kelly says the centenary programme has been developed over a period of two years and the events planned reflect Galway’s strong ties to the leaders of the Rising and the contribution of local men and women to the events of Easter week 1916.
“The plans recognise the special significance of the centenary year to the relatives of the volunteers, while affording both young and old the opportunity to participate. I am confident that the people and communities of Galway will avail of the many opportunities over the coming year to play an active part, as we as a county collectively remember, reflect and commemorate the events of 1916 with pride and respect.”