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Ireland 2016: Centenary Programme

Ireland 2016

This year, Ireland has been marking the centenary of the Easter Rising of 1916, a seismic moment on Ireland’s path to independence, and the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, an event which touched the lives of thousands from the island of Ireland.

Throughout 2016, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is delivering an exciting programme of hundreds of commemorative events through its Embassies and Consulates abroad, in partnership with Culture Ireland and local stakeholders. Over 500 events have taken place this year in locations around the globe with many more still to come. These events include exhibitions, talks, film screenings, community gatherings and a rich cultural and artistic programme.

A dedicated programme to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme has also been taking place, which sees a range of commemorative events taking both in Ireland and abroad. The Irish State was been represented at the Somme centenary commemoration in Thiepval by President Michael D. Higgins. Minister Heather Humphreys represented the Government at the ceremony at the Ulster Tower on 1st July marking the role played by the 36th Ulster Division and again participated in the ceremony in September in Guillemont remembering the contribution of the 16th Irish Division. In Dublin in September, Minister Flanagan laid a wreath and spoke during the ceremony marking the centenary of the death of Thomas Kettle. The Minister also launched the ‘Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace’ exhibition.

As a centenary gift from Ireland to the world, a free downloadable e-copy of the Royal Irish Academy’s book “1916 Portraits and Lives” was made available to the Irish at home, the diaspora abroad, and friends of Ireland everywhere until the end of April, with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ireland 2016 and the OPW. The e-book was downloaded over 73,000 times in over 50 countries. An exhibition of the book was created and has been displayed in 12 cities and 10 different countries around the world.

With support from the national cultural institutions, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade produced an exhibition entitled Ireland Rising to bring the story of the Easter Rising and its international dimensions to a truly global audience. The exhibition has been displayed by Ireland’s Embassy network in 15 countries and over 20 cities.

On Sunday 10th April 2016, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade hosted an event entitled Rising to Reconciliation: A Journey in Words and Music in partnership with Poetry Ireland, to celebrate reconciliation on the island of Ireland over the last 100 years and the 18th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Through the media of poetry, music, drama and imagery, Rising to Reconciliation charts the path from the Easter Rising of 1916 to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and the advancement of reconciliation on the island of Ireland over the last century.