A century after Ireland’s momentous Easter Rising, heartfelt commemorations are taking place countrywide during 2016. In honour of the people who played a key role in what ultimately led to Ireland’s independence, cultural hubs in Dublin and beyond are hosting an array of exhibitions and events. And the Lodge at Ashford Castle will be hosting its own 1916 Centenary celebrations, offering guests to the estate an even greater cultural experience.
Following on from the remorse many Irish felt after WWII, members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood joined forces with the Irish Citizen Army to try to secure a separate Irish Republic, freeing the country from British rule. On Easter Monday, Dublin’s General Post Office became their headquarters, and this is where they laid out their aspirations for a free country in which people of every class and religion could achieve their full potential. After occupying buildings across Dublin for a week, they were eventually forced to surrender. But on April 24th the Proclamation of the Irish Republic was signed, and while the course that followed was far from smooth, these actions eventually led to Irish Independence.
As such a historically significant event for people across Ireland, the 100th anniversary will commemorate the sacrifices these people made and reflect on the events that took place, while also celebrating Ireland of the present day. Historical, cultural and artistic activities are being hosted, offering visitors an insight into the journey Ireland took to Independence within five themes; Remembering, Reconciling, Presenting, Imagining and Celebrating.
During your time in Dublin, delve into this significant period in Irish history and its impact on Ireland today by visiting Who Do We Think We Are? Exploring Collective Identities, presented by the National Museum of Ireland, the Museum of Decorative Arts and History, and the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.
As Easter weekend was when the Rising took place, this date will mark many of the commemorations. On 26th March, a ceremony is set to take place in Dublin’s peaceful Garden of Remembrance at Parnell Square. And from 28th March to 3rd April, a series of seven concerts will pay tribute to the cultural journey Ireland has taken over the past 100 years. Entitled Imagining Home, these concerts will be performed at Dublin’s National Concert Hall.
From late April, members of the public will also be able to visit the new centre for Ireland’s military archives at the Cathal Brugha Barracks in Dublin. An official opening ceremony for these archives will take place on 26th April, followed by the opening of Richmond Barracks on 2nd May.
While staying on the Ashford Estate, guests can travel into Galway to see more of the commemorations. By venturing over to Connemara, visitors can explore the summer home of Padraig Pearse, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising. Here, in the idyllic Connemara countryside, the cottage has been restored with the construction of a visitor centre on-site. Irish Republican Eamonn Ceannt, who also played an important role in the Easter Rising, will be remembered in Galway, too, with a series of events in June. As Ceannt was known for his piping skills, uilleann and bagpipers from Ireland, the United States and Scotland will perform throughout each day of the commemorative event.
On 28th March, The Lodge at Ashford Castle will also be hosting a 100th anniversary celebration, offering an exclusive four-course menu designed to reflect the food that would have been served in hotels at the time – expect salmon mousse blinis, lamb cutlets and rhubarb flummery, all served within Wilde’s Restaurant. After the meal, guests will have the chance to see the Lodge’s traditional “Trad by the Lake” Irish music show, enabling visitors to experience true Irish culture and be a part of the 1916 Centenary celebrations during their time in Ireland.
Image credits: Cover photo and Centenary celebrations images © Ireland 2016. The Garden of Remembrance in Dublin statue © Flickr / William Murphy. The Garden of Remembrance in Dublin © Flickr / William Murphy. Pearse’s Cottage © Flickr / Liam Moloney.