Belfast Telegraph

Art installation at president's residence commemorates Easter Rising

A new art installation in honour of the 1916 rebels has been unveiled at Aras an Uachtarain as a permanent testament to the journey towards an inclusive Republic.

The sculpture, Dearcan na nDaoine - The People's Acorn, by artist Rachel Joynt, was placed in the grounds of the president's official residence as part of Easter Rising commemorations.

President Michael D Higgins said: "What we sought was an appropriate and permanent tribute to the women and men whose effort and sacrifice contributed so much to Irish freedom and a symbol that would also serve as an inspiration towards realising the promise of a true republic, which remains a challenge for us all.

"I hope that what we have achieved with this commemorative work is a fitting tribute to the memory and vision of the signatories of the Proclamation, and all those who stood with them. It is, I think, both an accolade to our shared past and a beacon for a brighter future."

Among those at the ceremony were some of the relatives of the signatories of the Proclamation and descendants of others who fought and died in the Rising.

Others at the unveiling included 170 children from seven schools, who contributed their thoughts and wishes for Ireland's future, as well as older people from Lourdes Day Care Centre and the Bealtaine writers' group in Malahide, all of whom wrote thoughts and memories which were placed in a stainless steel time capsule in the sculpture.

The artwork is a giant bronze acorn which contains letters and poems while the shell is impressed with text and used pencils.

Mr Higgins said: "All of the participants in 1916 had come to perceive and recoil from what was a constant theme in the assumptions of the imperialist mind: that those dominated in any colony such as Ireland were lesser in human terms, in language, culture and politics.

"The historical evidence for this view was all around, in the circumstances of housing, hunger, emigration, exclusion and language loss. The cultural freedom allowed was a freedom merely to imitate or ingratiate."

Next year Mr Higgins will install an artwork at Aras an Uachtarain commemorating the 1913 Lockout.

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