Tuesday 6 December 2016

No triumphalism - only a feeling of belonging and respect

Published 29/03/2016 | 02:30

Christina Long, whose father Henry Cassidy fought at the Royal College of Surgeons and was a member of the Irish Citizen Army is pictured with Leo Varadkar at the RCSI Photo: Maxwells Dublin
Christina Long, whose father Henry Cassidy fought at the Royal College of Surgeons and was a member of the Irish Citizen Army is pictured with Leo Varadkar at the RCSI Photo: Maxwells Dublin
RCSI student Marie Benham in period costume at the wreath-laying ceremony at the RCSI Photo: Maxwells Dublin

What began as a quiet rumbling swelled to fill the ears of the city centre as a chorus of 'Amhrán na bhFiann' rang out across St Stephen's Green from those hundreds gathered to hear the words of the Proclamation on Easter Monday.

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There was no sense of triumphalism at play, only a feeling of belonging and respect, according to those who lined the street outside the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI).

A wreath was laid at 1.15pm, the exact moment the first shots were fired during the 1916 Rising, to remember the fallen.

"I hate to use this word but there was a very provincial vibe in the air," said Majella Crennan (30), from Ringsend, who was joined by three generations of her family as the Proclamation was read out. "There was just this wonderful sense of people coming together. Everyone was quiet and respectful throughout, and then just gave it their all when the national anthem began to play."

Drimnagh native Phillip Carberry (56) said that even 50 years since the 1966 commemorations, he could still "remember the first few paragraphs of the Proclamation".

"I had to learn it by heart for a pageant. Things were very different back then. Today, I'm just delighted that my own children have all of this to help them remember 1916."

While laying a wreath outside the RSCI alongside the great-grandchildren of two Volunteers killed during the Rising, acting Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said the "legacy of 1916 belonged to everyone". "The [rebels] left us a democratic legacy that transcends politics and traditions. We should be proud of the Ireland that was created, and not be afraid to try and do more."

Cumann na mBan re-enactor Enid Monaghan (53) from Clondalkin, however, said the women who fought for Irish freedom had been forgotten for much of the past century. "It's almost like they fell down a chasm and never climbed out."

Irish Independent

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