GAA set to mark Easter Rising centenary in Croke Park event
The GAA is planning a major event to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising next year.
It will take place in Croke Park on April 24 - the date the Rising commenced at various locations around Dublin city 100 years earlier.
In a timely coincidence, Sunday, April 24 next year is the date for the Allianz League Division 1 and 2 football finals in Croke Park, which enables the GAA to link the commemorative event with two big games. It will also provide the GAA public with an opportunity to mark the Easter Rising commemoration in the Association's spiritual home.
The attendance at the last five football league finals has averaged 32,500 but the special significance of next year's final is likely to spark a major crowd surge.
Clubs and counties nationwide can also expect to be involved in the event which will probably take place between the two games. The full day's programme will be shown live on TG4.
It's expected that much of the focus will be on Hill 16, which was built from rubble transported from O'Connell Street to Croke Park after the 1916 Rising.
Croke Park also featured prominently in the War of Independence when, tragically, 14 people including Tipperary footballer, Michael Hogan, were shot dead during a Dublin-Tipperary game in November 1920.
An artistic director will be appointed shortly to work on the project with GAA president Aogán ó Fearghail and director-general Páraic Duffy.
It's understood that as well as marking events of 100 years earlier, there will be big emphasis on looking forward to the GAA's role in the Ireland of the future.
To further honour the occasion, the GAA has commissioned a history of its role in Irish life in the 1913-23 period.
It will consist of 10 academic essays by various individuals, edited by Professor Gearóid ó Tuathaigh (NUI Galway).
A series of history seminars will accompany the launch of the book later this year. It's also planned to create an online digital archive, which will allow people worldwide to gain access to GAA library documents relevant to the period.
It will contain digitised minute books, charting activity at national, provincial and county board level.
In addition to the Easter Rising anniversary event, the GAA is also planning to bring the World GAA Games to Ireland in 2016 in order to give the diaspora a chance to mark the special year.
This year's event, staged in Abu Dhabi in March, was a massive success. It will have an August setting in Ireland next year.