The 1916 Centenary Commemorative Medal was presented to serving personnel of the Permanent Defence Force and the Reserve Defence Forces at Dublin Castle, on Sunday 4th December 2016. As part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, personnel on parade were presented with a specially commissioned medal to mark their role in the Centenary year of the Easter Rising. The awarding of the 1916 Centenary Commemorative Medal is a special acknowledgement from the Government to the members of Óglaigh na hÉireann who have served during the centenary year of 2016. The award highlighted the Government’s appreciation of the excellent work undertaken by the members of Óglaigh na hÉireann, both at home and overseas, and the commitment to excellence which is a hallmark of the Defence Forces.
The 1916 Centenary Commemorative Medals were presented by the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, the Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald T.D., Minister with Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney, T.D., and Minister for Health Simon Harris T.D.
The President presented the first medal to the Chief of Staff Vice-Admiral Mark Mellet DSM, and thereafter to seven personnel representing the commissioned and enlisted personnel of the three components of the Defence Forces: Private Ciamh Dollard, Company Quarster-Sergeant Ken Smyth, Warrant Officer Martin Doran, CommandantLar Joye, Captain Áine Gilmore, Private Kevin Maher and Captain Gearóid O’Briain who is the great grandson of Cathal Brugha.
The design of the 1916 Commemorative Medal takes its inspiration from the 1916 Medal and the 1916 Survivors Medal>It consists of bronze circular medal, fashioned in the form of a circle of flame representing the sunburst on which eight points of a star are superimposed. The obverse of the medal consists of a representation of the death scene of the mythical hero Cú Chulainn, partially surrounded by an ancient warrior’s sword belt. On the reverse is the inscription “Seactain Na Cásca 1916” which translates to “Easter Week 1916”. The medal ribbon consists of two vertical panels in green and orange, while the suspension bar bears a Celtic interlaced design.A presentation case accompanied each medal which included a message to each recipient from the Government.
At the ceremony, the President spoke of the 1916 Centenary Commemorative Medal as a very well deserved honour for all members of Óglaigh na hÉireann who have served during this centenary year of 2016 with their customary dignity, pride and respect.
President Higgins said the the event was a fitting acknowledgement for all members of Óglaigh na hÉireann who have served during this centenary year.It is also an opportunity to publicly acknowledge the dedicated and selfless service of the volunteer soldiers, sailors and aircrew of Óglaigh na hÉireann, who have served Ireland and the Irish people since the foundation of the State.
The President highlighted the international reputation of the Defence Forces as UN peace keepers and praised the work of the Naval Service in the Mediterranean. He also praised the role the Defence Forces in the centenary year celebrations and their professionalism.“Today’s ceremony and the medal you are about to be presented with is a fitting and well-deserved tribute, on behalf of the people of Ireland, to you, the women and men of our Defence Forces.”
Speaking about the ceremony the Tánaiste said “I, along with members of the Government and the citizens of our country, have participated in remarkable and moving ceremonies commemorating key events that took place 100 years ago. The awarding of the 1916 Centenary Commemorative Medal is a fitting tribute and thank you from the Government, on behalf of the people of Ireland, to our Defence Forces for their dedication to duty during this commemorative year.”
The ceremony in Dublin Castle will be followed by ceremonies in eleven military installations around the country in December 2016, at which the Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., will present the 1916 Centenary Commemorative medal in the different regions. Minister Kehoe said, “The awarding of the 1916 Centenary Commemorative Medal is a special token of our appreciation for the selfless service of the men and women of Óglaigh na hÉireann, who have been the uniting element in events marking this centenary year of 2016. The solemnity that Defence Forces personnel provide at State commemorations has demonstrated the professionalism and high standards that the Defence Forces apply to all of its roles and missions. Over the coming weeks, I will present this medal to members of our Defence Forces, to wear with pride and in doing so accept the gratitude of the Government and the Irish people.”
Photographs, courtesy of Patrick Hugh Lynch in Our Flickr Album>>
The 1916 Medal
The 1916 Medal was instituted on 24 January 1941 and was issued to persons with recognized military service during Easter Week 1916.This concerned the members of the Irish Volunteers, Irish Citizen Army, Hibernian Rifles, Na Fianna Éireann and Cumann na mBan, or their dependants, whose claim for service during the month of April 1916 had been recognized as “active service” under the Army Pensions Acts of 1924 to 1934.
The 1916 Medal is a bronze circular medal approximately 38 mm in diameter. The design replicates some of the detail on the Army Badge, a sunburst surmounted by an 8-pointed star. The obverse of the medal bears a depiction of the death of Cúchulain, partially surrounded by a sword belt. On the reverse is the inscription: SEAĊTAIN NA CÁSCA 1916, which translates to “Easter Week 1916”. The medal is suspended from a ribbon of half green and half orange, the green to the wearer’s right. At the top of the ribbon is a suspension bar from which the ribbon hangs bearing an interlaced Celtic design.
The 1916 Survivors’ Medal
The 1916 Survivors’ Medal was issued to 968 1916 veterans in 1966, that were alieve on the 50th Anniversary of the Easter Rising. It was issued only to those who had recognized military service during the period. The 1916 Survivors’ Medal is a silver gilt circular medal approximately 35 mm in diameter. The design replicates some of the detail on the Army Badge, a sunburst surmounted by an 8-pointed star. The obverse of the medal bears a depiction of the death of Cúchulain, partially surrounded by a sword belt. On the reverse bears the dates “1916” and “1966” with the inscription: “CÁISC”, which translates to “Easter”. The medal is suspended from a ribbon of green with orange borders and a narrow white stripe down the centre.At the top of the ribbon is a suspension bar from which the ribbon hangs bearing an interlaced Celtic design.
1916 Commemorative Medal