Launch of 2016 Centenary Programme

During the Decade of Centenaries, the Government seeks to recognise and remember the totality of the history of this island. This commitment to an inclusive approach, facilitates open dialogue with all traditions on the island of Ireland, builds understanding and helps further reconciliation, North and South.

According to the Government’s Expert Advisory Group, commemorations will be measured and reflective, and will be informed by a full acknowledgement of the complexity of historical events and their legacy, of the multiple readings of history, and of the multiple identities and traditions which are part of the Irish historical experience.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, and An Tánaiste, Joan Burton TD, joined the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, and the Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, to launch the “Ireland 2016 Commemorative Programme” in The National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks on Tuesday, 31 March 2015.

Led by the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the year-long ambitious commemoration programme will remember and honour those who took part in the 1916 Rising, will reflect on the legacy of that period and will look towards Ireland’s future.

Working with local government and communities, a period of extensive consultation is taking place in order that an inclusive and shared programme will be implemented.

The programme includes seven strands: State Ceremonial, Historical Reflection, An Teanga Bheo – The Living Language, Youth and Imagination, Cultural Expression, Community Participation, Global and Diaspora.

A series of State events are planned including formal commemorative events, national ceremonies and parades, cultural events, State receptions and public lecture series, remembering and honouring those who took part in the Easter Rising, especially those who gave their lives.  The Defence Forces will be central to the formal State ceremonial events.

The programme commences with a commemorative re-enactment of the funeral of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, which takes place on 1st August 2015 in Glasnevin Cemetery and will end on 3 August 2016 with the centenary commemoration to mark the execution of Sir Roger Casement in Pentonville Prison.

The Government has provided €22 million for seven capital projects for completion by Easter 2016, including: The GPO Interpretative Centre, Kilmainham Gaol and Courthouse, Tenement Museum, Richmond Barracks, Teach an Phiarsaigh, Ros Muc – Galway, Military Service Pensions Archive and The National Concert Hall.

The Taoiseach and the Chief of Staff

Speaking at the launch of the programme, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD said, “Ireland 2016, as a year of reflection and engagement for everyone on this island, goes far beyond the formal marking of a key historical moment.  It is a once-in-a-century invitation to people of all ages, at home and overseas, to shape and take part in a diverse range of historical, cultural and artistic activities, all designed to nurture reflection, commemoration, celebration and debate.”

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, stated: “Artists played a vital role in the lead up to 1916.  So it is fitting that artists will play a central role in the commemoration of the Rising.  The arts have a way of exploring our history and imagining our future in a way that breaks boundaries and brings an alternative perspective.  The Arts Council recently opened a call for ambitious projects to mark the Rising in creative, innovative and inspiring ways.”

Further details on “Ireland 2016” are available on: