1916: 10 Easter Rising events you shouldn't miss this year
Rising to the occasion
Our Travel Editor picks his highlights from the 1,800 or so commemorative events scheduled this centenary year.
1. Easter Sunday, Dublin
Given its role at the centre of 1916, the capital understandably plays a key part in the State's official Easter Rising events. A reading of the Proclamation outside the GPO kicks off the State Commemoration on Sunday, followed by a parade. Expect full pedestrian access along the parade route, including access to Upper O’Connell Street, but Middle and Lower O’Connell Street have been reserved for invited guests (5,000 relatives of 1916 participants and 1,000 dignitaries).
Details: March 27; ireland.ie
2. GPO: Witness History, Dublin
No building symbolises 1916 like the GPO, where Easter Rising events include the opening of a state-of-the-art audio-visual facility incorporating the iconic post office courtyard - never before accessible to the public. Visitors will experience the events of 1916 from eyewitness perspectives on both sides, with a host of electronic touch screens, audio visual booths, sound and authentic artifacts to boot.
Details: From March 29, €10/€5; gpowitnesshistory.ie.
3. Pearse's Cottage, Connemara
The thatched Ros Muc cottage used by Patrick Pearse as a summer residence and summer school for his pupils from St Enda's is set to open on March 17 following a major restoration. The interior, although burned during the War of Independence, has been reconstructed and a walking path takes visitors to Slí na Coille, right into the Gaeltacht landscape that inspired him so much.
Details: €4/€2; heritageireland.ie
4. Proclaiming a Republic, Dublin
Wanna see real artifacts from the 1916 Rising? Thomas Clarke's razor, Patrick Pearse's spectacles and a homemade bayonet are among the items on display at the National Museum's 'Proclaiming a Republic' exhibition at Collins Barracks. Many items have not been seen in public before, creating a tangible link with the Rising and the people that were involved. Civilians caught in the crossfire are represented too - with poignant exhibits including a crucifix perforated by a stray bullet.
Details: From March 3, museum.ie; free.
5. Roger Casement's Kerry
Roger Casement famously failed to land arms at Banna Strand in 1916, and the Kerry County Museum in Tralee is hosting an exhibition on the revolutionary leader, tracing his journey all the way to the gallows at Pentonville Prison. It starts on April 29.
Meanwhile, The Brehon in Killarney is holding a series of historical tours exploring how the Rising was supported and suppressed. They include a lecture on Casement and visits to related sites. Led by historians Tommy Martin and Dr. William Sheehan, the package includes four nights B&B and costs €375pp.
Details: kerrymuseum.ie; thebrehon.com
6. 1916 in Contemporary Art, Cork
The Crawford Gallery's 1916 exhibition features works commissioned with the stipulation that they "should be linked with any event of 1916 in Ireland, including the Easter Rising". Artists include Robert Ballagh, Alice Maher, Rita Duffy, Mick O'Dea, Michael Coady and David Lilburn. After your visit, don't miss the Crawford Gallery Cafe, a lovely, high-ceilinged space with a surprising menu (try the marrow bone).
Details: May 12 - August 13; crawfordartgallery.ie; free
7. Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin
Kilmainham Gaol is TripAdvisor's top-rated attraction in Dublin. Between May 3rd and 12th, 1916, 14 leaders of the Rising were executed by firing squad in what had been the Stone Breaker's Yard here - though in truth, the Easter Rising events are but a chapter in its extraordinary (and chillingly atmospheric) story. The gaol re-opens with a new visitor centre, bookshop and cafe on March 30.
Details: heritageireland.ie; €4/€2
8. Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin
It's hard to leave this one out. Ireland's most significant cemetery has data on all 485 people, mostly civilians, killed during the Rising. Guided, Rising-themed tours are available, and an official commemoration is scheduled for Easter Sunday, including wreath-laying at the grave of Peadar Kearney (composer of the National Anthem). Similar to Kilmainham, there's a lot more to this world-class heritage attraction than the events of 1916, however. From grim tales of grave-robbers to Daniel O'Connell's soaring round tower, it's a classic day out in Dublin.
Details: glasnevintrust.ie; tour and museum from €7.20
9. Rise of the Rebels bus tour, Dublin
Seldom on a bus journey would passengers hear the Morse code tappings of: "Whole country rising STOP Irish Republic declared today STOP". Then again, the 'Rise of the Rebels' tour is no ordinary bus journey. Passengers are invited to "ride the revolution", as two professional actors guide them past key sites in Dublin on a custom-designed bus fitted out as an under-siege base of revolutionary action.
Details: 1916bustourdublin.com; €25/€15pp
10. 1916: Google Street View Tour
Google is taking Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising commemorations global with a virtual tour of the key sites and events of the rebellion. With narration from Colin Farrell (above), the specially-curated street view tour can be enjoyed by anyone with a PC, tablet or smartphone. The virtual tour is part of a collaboration between Google, the National Library of Ireland, Military Archives, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, the Abbey Theatre, the Royal Irish Academy and Trinity College Dublin.
Details: Take the tour here (don't forget your headphones)
NB: For more on the 2016 Centenary Programme and Easter Rising events, see ireland.ie, discoverireland.ie and visitdublin.com.