Lonely Planet Writer

Ireland commemorates the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising this weekend

This weekend, Ireland will commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, which was a defining moment in the struggle for Irish Independence. The events of that Easter weekend in 1916 began with the reading of the Proclamation of Independence, followed by days of fighting in Dublin that ended with 300 civilian casualties and the execution of 16 leaders of the rebellion.

1916 in Dublin.
1916 in Dublin. Image by National Library of Ireland

There are many events happening in Dublin, as the city was at the heart of the rebellion.

On Saturday, at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin, there will be a ceremony to remember all those who died during the events of 1916. The event will have music and poetry and the Irish president Michael D. Higgins will be in attendance as well as the family members of the 78 Irish volunteers who lost their lives in the Rising. The event is open to the public, but space is very limited.

On Sunday, there will be the Easter Sunday Parade beginning at 10am, which heads through central Dublin and features members of the Defence Forces and army veterans. The parade is followed by a commemoration ceremony at the General Post Office at noon and wreath-laying ceremonies around the city.

The General Post Office in Dublin.
The General Post Office in Dublin. Image by Miguel Ángel Vilela / CC BY 2.0

Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE, will hold an event on Monday, called Reflecting the Rising, throughout the city from 11am to 6pm. That will include talks, exhibitions, live music and theatrical performances, food tasting, games and family entertainment. In Stephen’s Green, the heart of the city, there will be music and a circus, poetry readings, and more. On O’Connell Street, also in the city centre, there will be music and photographic and installation exhibitions about 1916.

According to RTE, the event will be the biggest public history event ever staged in Ireland.

The General Post Office in 1916.
The General Post Office in 1916. Image by The National Library of Ireland

This weekend will also mark the opening of the GPO Witness History Visitor Centre, a brand new permanent visitor attraction at the historic General Post Office on O’Connell Street. The GPO building was an important location during the Rising – rebels stormed the GPO and made it their headquarters – and will now have an immersive exhibition that will transport visitors to the events of 1916 and where they will experience “both sides of the conflict and through the eyes of bystanders caught in the crossfire through electronic touch screens, video, audio visual booths, sound and authentic artefacts”. The exhibit will open to the public beginning on Tuesday.

For anyone not in Dublin this weekend, an online experience with Google Maps will lead armchair travellers on a virtual tour of the history of 1916, narrated by Colin Farrell.