Wexford embarks on very ambitious 1916 Rising programme

By David Tucker

Published 17/11/2015 | 00:00

Billy Heffernan, Ray Murphy, Bridget Murphy, Seamus Corrigan, Niall Holohan and Tom Corrigan at the launch at Wexford County Council buildings in Carricklawn, Wexford.
Billy Heffernan, Ray Murphy, Bridget Murphy, Seamus Corrigan, Niall Holohan and Tom Corrigan at the launch at Wexford County Council buildings in Carricklawn, Wexford.
Edel Kelly, Maria Nolan, Oisin O'Brien, Kit Jones, Alan Jones, Annie Digilpin and James Kelly.
Cllr Paddy Kavanagh handed the chain of the Chairman of the 1916 Commerations to Sean Doyle

OUTSIDE of Dublin, Wexford - and particularly Enniscorthy - the Easter 1916 Rising in town and county was the most significant and long-lived in the country.

So it's fitting that the county council should embark on a very ambitious and comprehensive programme of events to commemorate the turbulent and historic events that moulded our local and national history a century ago.

With appropriately uniformed and booted re-enactors, both men and women - including members of Cumman na mBan - and others in period civilian garb adding to the atmosphere at the county hall, the local authority last week launched in 1916 Centenary Programme, which mirrors the national commemorations which reflects the themes of remembering, reconciling, presenting, imagining and celebrating.

Among the large gathering at the county buildings were members of the families of some of those who had taken part in the Rising.

The leaders of the Rising in Enniscorthy included Robert Brennan, a onetime resident of Georges Street in Wexford town, Seamus Doyle, Seamus Rafter, Michael de Lacey, Peter P. Galligan, Richard F. King and Sean Etchingham. They were men of stature and some went on to play leading roles in the county and the country, among them Robert Brennan who became Irish Ambassador to the USA.

Following the surrender all the Enniscorthy leaders were sentenced to death, sentences which were later commuted.

County Wexford's plans for the Rising commemorations will run over the course of a year and follow the seven strands of the national commemorations: Ceremonial, Historical Reflection, An Teanga Bheo - the Irish language, Youth and Imganination, Cultural Expression, Community Participation and Global and Diaspora.

Asked about the importance of the 1916 commemorations, County Council Chairman Tony Dempsey said: 'We should inspire young people to try to live up the ideals of 1916 and the main ideals, in my opinion, are liberty and equality.

'The main reflection of 1916 commemoration is that all the children of the nation should be inspired equally and that it will adopted by our young people to do a better job than we did.'

Highlights of the programme include a range of ceremonial events, historical lectures, conferences and literary publications on various aspects of 1916: The schools packs, exhibitions, concerts, film recordings, 1916-themed song and poetry compilation, the dedication of a memorial garden, restoration of the Athenaeum - the focal point of the Rising in Enniscorthy - and the Easter Monday celebration in the town which will form part of a select national weath laying ceremony. followed by Ireland's largest 1916 based battle re-enactment.

In its centenary programme, the council says: 'The County Wexford 1916 Centenary Commemoration aims to be respectful of the past and inspiring for the future.. Let us proudly commemorate the 1916 Rising with a complete absence of misgivings.'

Full details of the programme are available online at enniscorthy1916.ie

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