Belfast Telegraph

Wreath-laying ceremonies mark centenary of the start of 1916 Easter Rising against British rule

By Cate McCurry

Thousands of people gathered in towns and cities across Ireland to mark the start of the 1916 Easter Rising rebellion against British rule which began on Easter Monday 100 years ago.

Simultaneous wreath-laying ceremonies took place in counties Dublin, Cork city, Meath and other locations around the country which played a key role in the Rising.

The wreaths marked the first shots fired during the rebellion.

A number of events were also held in Northern Ireland, including a republican parade in the New Lodge area of north Belfast.

It followed a day after a national day of commemoration when hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Dublin for a huge military parade - the largest in the history of the state.

The Easter Rising was a military failure for the revolutionaries, but it ultimately led to the War of Independence and the creation of the Republic.

More than 450 people were killed and 2,500 injured during the fighting.

Monday's synchronised wreath-laying ceremonies were organised by the Irish Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

They began in Cork on Monday morning, when the acting Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, laid wreaths alongside the lord mayors of County Cork and Cork city.

Wreath-laying was also organised at Rathcross, Ashbourne, County Meath, Abbey Square, Enniscorthy, County Wexford and Athenry, County Galway.

In Galway the day's events included planting of seven oak trees, a reading of the Proclamation and the raising of the national flag.

In Dublin, wreaths were laid at various buildings and landmarks around the Irish capital that became focal points during the rebellion.

Other wreath-laying spots included Boland's Mill, Jacob's Factory, Dublin Castle/City Hall, The Four Courts, Royal College of Surgeons and Moore Street, where rebels took up positions a century ago.

The acting Minister For Environment, Alan Kelly, laid a wreath at Jacob's biscuit factory which was seized by up to 100 Irish Volunteers on that Easter Monday in 1916.

Members of the public who attended the commemoration sang along as a piper played the Irish national anthem Amhrán na bhFiann - The Soldier's Song.

Later, Irish President Michael D Higgins suggested Britain's "imperial triumphalism" be re-examined in the same way as Irish republicanism has been over recent years.

In a keynote speech at an event marking Ireland's Easter Rising against British rule a century ago, Mr Higgins said there has been much discussion of violence by Irish nationalists at the turn of the last century.

But he noted the "supremacist and militarist imperialism" of Britain over the same time had not been reviewed with "the same fault-finding edge".

"In the context of 1916, this imperial triumphalism can be traced, for example, in the language of the (British Army) recruitment campaigns of the time, which evoked mythology, masculinity and religion, and glorified the Irish blood as having 'reddened the earth of every continent'," he said.

"But this is for another day."

Mr Higgins made the remarks at a talk entitled Remembering 1916 at Dublin's Mansion House, home of the first independent parliament in Ireland after the rebellion.

Belfast Telegraph


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