Wednesday 26 September 2018

Remember, reflect and reimagine: Ireland 2016

Fionnán Sheahan Editor, Irish Independent

Members of the Defence Forces march past the GPO on Dublin's O'Connell Street during the 1916 commemoration parade on Easter Sunday. Gerry Mooney
Members of the Defence Forces march past the GPO on Dublin's O'Connell Street during the 1916 commemoration parade on Easter Sunday. Gerry Mooney

Fionnán Sheahan

The retired servicemen marching past the GPO: that was the lump in the throat moment. The sight of our country's retired Defence Forces members, who served us with distinction on peacekeeping duties overseas, taking part in the flagship Easter Sunday parade was a seminal point of the 1916 commemorations.

It encapsulated so much: the contribution of our small country on the international stage, the ability to honour our fellow citizens and the pride in our national flag.

Over the past 12 months, the Irish Independent has had the honour of bringing you the most comprehensive coverage of the Ireland 2016 commemorations. The level of interest, at home and abroad, has been truly staggering.

No doubt the coming five years will be difficult as we enter into reflection on a highly divisive time in our nation's history. However, it is to be hoped the tone of respect and inclusion set throughout this year will be carried through to the commemorations, up to 1922, of the War of Independence and the Civil War.

No doubt everybody will have their own memory of the 2016 commemorations.

On a personal level, attending the launch of 'East 1916: Fingal Fights for Freedom' was the highlight. This book was put together by three local women from Donabate, Co Dublin, Emer Weston, Eilish McDermott and Valerie Henderson. The book looks at the events locally in 1916, including the Battle of Ashbourne, which would go on to be so tactically influential in the War of Independence. These three women were the embodiment of that theme of remember, reflect and reimagine and that desire to bring history to a new generation.

Their efforts were repeated in communities across the country, making Ireland 2016 a true success story.

And now the legacy of Ireland 2016 will live on in the ambitions of Creative Ireland.

Read more:

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News