Tuesday 17 October 2017

National Day of Commemoration: 'They gave their tomorrows for our todays'

President Michael D Higgins, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, led the tributes at the annual National Day of Commemoration in Dublin this morning.
President Michael D Higgins, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, led the tributes at the annual National Day of Commemoration in Dublin this morning.
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

"They gave their tomorrows for our todays."

In the quadrangle of the Royal Hospital in Dublin, over 1,200 people gathered to remember all Irish men and women who died in past wars, or on service with the United Nations.

President Michael D Higgins, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, led the tributes at the annual National Day of Commemoration in Dublin this morning.

It was attended by the next-of-kin of those who died, as well as members of the Government, the Council of State, the Diplomatic Corps, and the Judiciary.

Former President Mary Robinson was also in attendance.

Also present were relatives of the 1916 leaders. 

Some retired military personnel were moved to tears as they remembered lost comrades.

The commemoration began with separate formal military receptions for the President, and for the Taoiseach, by guards of honour from the Defence Forces.

In a poignant act of solidarity, representatives of seven religions then took part in a multi-denominational prayer service.

With a threatening veil of leaden skies overhead, President Higgins walked forward to lay a wreath to the fallen on behalf of the people of Ireland.

Head bowed, he stood in solemn silence, as a minute's silence was observed.

Trumpeters and drummers sounded the Last Post, and the ceremony concluded with the tricolour hoisted to full mast, accompanied by a roll of drums.

During a soaring rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann, there was a flyover of the quadrangle, by the Air Corps.

Oireachtas members attending included Tánaiste Joan Burton, Health Minister Leo Varadkar, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe, and Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney.

Regional celebrations are also taking part today in counties Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford.

There will also be an event at City Hall, Quay Street in Sligo, starting at 2pm.

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