Getting ready for the 100th anniversary of Easter 1916

Michael O hEanaighIt may still be just under a year away but Donegal County Council is already preparing plans to mark the historic 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

At national level a body called Ireland 2016 has been set up to coordinate activities. Ireland 2016, led by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, will develop, coordinate and deliver a programme of activity to honour and remember those who fought and those who died in the 1916 Rising, to reflect on the legacy of that period and to look towards our future

At local level Donegal County Council, through its Commemorative Strategy Group, is in the process of compiling a comprehensive programme to mark the anniversary next April.


Michael O’hEanaigh, Director of Community, Culture and Development Planning, is also the county coordinator for the local events says the eventual programme aims to represent the culmination of their combined efforts in conjunction with a cross section of community and voluntary organisations, as well as the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

“This commemoration provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our past, to examine the issues in a dignified way and, in those moments of reflection, seek to better understand the motivating factors which led to the founding of this great Nation.

2016 Commemorations 379 x 269“Our commemoration will endeavour to voice the various stories surrounding the Rising both here in Donegal and at national level, in a space removed from that time. It will provide us with an opportunity to examine what occurred one hundred years ago, but will also allow us to think about what we, as a nation, want to achieve over the next one hundred years – and the kind of society that we want for our children,” he said.

A meeting will be held at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny on Tuesday next, May 19 at 7.30pm to facilitate ground up initiatives so that local communities and interested parties can get involved and put their own shape on the commemorations as we move towards 2016.

All welcome and interested participants are kindly requested to register their interest to attend by emailing Anne McElchar at

It is envisaged these will include the development of a number of flagship projects to provide an appropriate legacy and to this end organise a series of commemorative lectures focusing on various themes or events of the period.

Mr O’hEanaigh revealed that there were a number of proposals in the pipeline to embrace the 1916 Rising on a number of levels.

It is also planned to carry out an audit and compile a listing of published and unpublished material relating to the period and make these available on the Donegal County Council website, the Library Service website and other relevant sites.

It is also hoped to provide a core collection of relevant fiction and non-fiction books in public library collections; facilitate schools competitions relating to the event; eencourage and facilitate research on the period in particular on the role of Donegal, Donegal people and their material culture; promote and support appropriate commemorative events that are being organised locally and nationally.

The committee are also looking to develop an Education Study Pack on theme of Donegal in 1916; organise a weekend festival of Irish and English folk music as well as encourage Heritage Week events relating to the Rising in particular those that consider the social, cultural, economic and political environment of the decade.

“Donegal’s anniversary celebrations will provide an open invitation to everyone, of all ages, both here and overseas, to join in a year of commemoration, conversation and exploration – through the arts, through historical research and exposition, through the Irish language, through education and children’s events – from which a new and more expansive sense of Irish identity can emerge, he said.

A full programme of events in Donegal will be published shortly.



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