Saturday 20 January 2018

Action packed 1916 events programme

By david looby

1916 Commemoration chairman Eddie Breen
1916 Commemoration chairman Eddie Breen
Director of Services John Carley

The major role County Wexford played in the 1916 Rebellion will be reflected in an action packed programme of events next year, which was revealed at the meeting.

Director of Services John Carley stressed the need for a suitable and dignified programme of events, one organised under chairman Eddie Breen.

'The programme is wide ranging and covers arts, culture commemoration and celebration of those who played their part in the events of 1916. The proposed programme seeks to remember, reconcile, present, imagine and celebrate the events of this period.'

The official launch of the programme takes place in mid-October, along with the launch of a dedicated website:

Mr Carley outlined how the 1916 Rising in County Wexford was the most significant event outside Dublin in terms of longevity, the numbers of people involved and the extent of territorial control exercised. 'Irish Volunteers forces assumed control of Enniscorthy on April 27 and before the weekend extended their influence to the entire northern half of the county. The control lasted until May 1 when Enniscorthy was the last area to surrender in the country.'

Mr Carley said the commemoration programme was headed up by former county manager, Eddie Breen and involved years of preparations.

'He ensured that this is the people's programme. We have reached out to a number of Wexford associations throughout the world.'

€30,000 was allocated to the programme this year and a further €30,000 is expected to be provided next year.

Mr Carley said a Wexford composed piece of music could be performed around the world during the Easter commemoration week.

'Also in December four Wexford people living abroad will return to talk about how they view the 1916 Rising. Anne Doyle has agreed to front this. Wexford was one of only four counties chosen for this project which will be televised.'

Against this dramatic backdrop the events have been organised. On Thursday morning, April 27, some 150 Volunteers assembled outside the arms depot at Keegan's house in Irish Street and took possession of the Athenaeum, setting up headquarters there. On Monday, May 1, 2,000 English troops entered Enniscorthy and 375 people were arrested. The following events have been organised: County Wexford Easter Monday Commemoration and wreath laying, with parade and celebrations, on Easter Monday, March 28, at Abbey Square, Enniscorthy; Ceremony to commemorate Michael O'Hanrahan who was born in New Ross and executed as an Irish Volunteer in Dublin in 1916, to take place in Brennan's Lane, off South Street, on Easter weekend; the unveiling of a special commissioned portrait in memory of Mr O'Hanrahan, together with details of his life; a ceremony dedicating a memorial garden to all Wexford men and women who took part in the 1916 Rising will take place in Enniscorthy during Easter week; a ceremony to commemorate Robert 'Bob' Brennan, an Irish Volunteer leader in County Wexford in 1916 and who was later appointed Ireland's first Minister in the USA in 1934 will take place in Wexford during Easter week; the official reopening of the Athenaeum headquarters takes place during Easter Week at Castle Street, Enniscorthy, in Spring 2016; a ceremony to commemorate all Wexford men and women who participated in the 1916 Rising will take place in Gorey during Easter week; a ceremony of respect to the national flag will be held in Enniscorthy during Easter week; the presentation of scrolls to the relatives of the Irish Volunteers and Cumman na mBan who took part in the 1916 Rising in Enniscorthy takes place during Easter Week 1916 and the restoration of the original 1916 Enniscorthy Irish Volunteers Battalion Flag takes place in Enniscorthy during Easter week.

Other plans for Easter week include walking tours presenting the history of 1916 in Enniscorthy, a presentation of documents and artefacts from the era at Enniscorthy Library, a Cumman na mBan Tea Party historical re-enactment at Enniscorthy Castle, a lecture on the rise of the Irish Volunteers at Enniscorthy Library on October 8 and a lecture on the art of Sean Keating on October 13; a British Intelligence lecture at Wexford Library on October 22 and a lecture on William Butler Yeats at the library on October 27, a historical lecture by Helen Ashdown entitled 'The Other Rising - Enniscorthy in 1916' at Enniscorthy Library on November 12; an illustrated Historical Lecture takes place at Bunclody Library on March 3, while a County Wexford 1916 Conference marking the last date Padraig Pearse visited Enniscorthy takes place on March 5 at the Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy. A 1916 exhibition opens at Gorey Library early next year and there will be a year long 1916 Exhibition at Enniscorthy Castle and The Athenaeum. 1916 oral history recordings will be available at Wexford libraries and there will be a 1916 era Battle Re-enactment at Abbey Square, Enniscorthy, on Easter Monday, March 28.

Reflecting on the central place of the Irish language had in the ideals of the Revolutionary Generation and celebrating language through a diverse programme of eventsm, there will be historical workshops in Wexford and Enniscorthy libraries. A 1916 Song Project will be released at The Presentation Centre, Enniscorthy, in early 2016. A County Wexford 1916 schools pack bilingual teaching resource will enable primary and secondary school students to learn about the events of this momentous year this October.

Cherish The Children: A New Year's Day choral concert involving choirs from all over the county and including the debut of a commissioned 1916 choral piece takes place on New Year's Day at St Aidan's Cathedral, Enniscorthy. A documentary film about Cumann na mBan created and produced by County Wexford Youth Theatre will form part of the County Wexford 1916 Exhibition and will be available on Youtube. The National Opera House will be the venue for a County Wexford 1916 Pageant and Tribute incorporating drama, dance and poetry with an audio visual display of 1916 related events and dramatic recreation of many of the speeches of the time during Easter week. There will be a presentation to the descendents of the Irish Volunteers and Cumman na mBan.

Wexford People

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