Thousands of people turned out in bright sunshine in Athenry Town Park on Easter Monday to remember the events of 1916.
The two hour ceremony was filled with music, dance and poetry and culminated in a simultaneous wreath-laying as part of Ireland's 2016 Centenary Programme. Athenry was the only location in the west and one of only four locations outside Dublin to have been chosen to host a formal State commemoration for the centenary of 1916.
The commemorative programme commenced on time in front of a huge audience that included the acting Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, Kevin Vickers, Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Maire Whelan, Attorney General, and family members of those who fought for Ireland 100 years ago. The Defence Forces lead the formal State ceremony, which included the reading of the Proclamation and synchronised wreath-laying, with an air corp fly-past bringing the State ceremony to a close.
Speaking after the event Councillor Peter Roche, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, said: “This is a special day for the people of County Galway as they remembered the contribution of the Galway Volunteers and honoured their legacy.”
After this a parade lead by St Patrick’s Band, with a colour party containing over 160 flag and banners, representing the colours of the communities of the county, followed a route through the town centre for the official opening of the 1916 Commemorative Garden at the Backlawn. Then a series of lectures, exhibitions and screenings followed in Athenry Community Hall.
To bring the historic day to a close a free classical music concert was held in the Raheen Woods Hotel. Organisers said the whole day went off 'without a hitch'.