The University of Notre Dame has officially announced a world premiere date of March 3, 2016, for its documentary on the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland. Liam Neeson will narrate the series.
The message was one of “strength in unity” and a hope for a new perspective on Ireland’s history at the official launch of Notre Dame’s official 1916 centenary series of events, in O’Connell House on Merrion Square, home to the Keough Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, in Dublin.
The three-part documentary, to be aired on PBS, RTE and the BBC, and also released as a feature movie, will bring the events of Easter 1916 to a global audience and highlight connections which have significance up to and including the recent Irish peace process.
Bríona Nic Dhiarmada, Professor of Irish Studies and Concurrent Professor of Film, Television, and Theatre, who is working on the project said, at the launch, that the documentary will be broadcast across the globe and across over 90% of America, through PBS.
The project, which is being released also in edited form as a 70-minute movie, aims to internationalize the events of Easter Week 1916 and place the events in their proper historical, political and cultural context as the precursor to an independent Irish state and the disintegration of colonial empires.
Nic Dhiarmada explained that filming had been taking place all over the world for the documentary. She said it was the aim of the project to pull back and view the events of 1916 with a wide lense to see the events not just from an Irish perspective but from the outside, from Europe and the United States.
She called undertaking the project “a huge honor and a huge responsibility” and said it was their hope to examine Ireland’s history and present it to the people anew.
Notre Dame’s official announcement came the day after the Irish government launch of its program of commemoration for 2016. Minister Heath Humphries, who is at the forefront of planning for Ireland’s 1916 commemorations was the guest of honor at the O’Connell House launch. Carmel Naughton, of the Keough Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, also spoke along with Executive Board member from RTE Glen Kilane, John Concannon who is running the Irish government’s commemoration events and Professor Kevin Whelan.
In his introduction Whelan made reference to the absence of Don Keough, founder of the Keough Naughton Institute for Irish Studies who passed away recently and paid tribute to his contribution to Ireland and Notre Dame.
A spokesperson for Notre Dame said, “We are very excited about this opportunity to be a global partner with Ireland. Through this partnership we will foster international outreach to the diaspora and bring together centers of excellence in Irish studies across the globe.”
The Ireland premiere of the movie will take place at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, tentatively on March 16, and include a symphony performance and screening. This event will be telecast internationally through Irish embassies and consulates to reach the diaspora and widest possible audience. This is the first time an event of this sort has been hosted by the Government.
At the launch it was announced that the French Embassy, neighbors of Notre Dame on Merrion Square, would coordinate a similar event streaming the documentary at the same time, in Paris at the Irish embassy and here in Dublin. It’s hoped that many other similar events will take place around the world.
A gala event at Notre Dame will take place on March 3 to mark the world premiere of the feature-length version of the documentary. Attendance is expected from the highest level of Irish government, as well as Ambassador Anne Anderson and the Chicago consul general. There will also be another Kennedy Center celebration attended by Anderson, as well as events in Chicago and Atlanta.
Along with the movie, Notre Dame is also planning a Shamrock Series, an academic panel in Boston the day before the Notre Dame /Boston College football game, with representatives from both schools and Harvard University, examining the impact of the Irish diaspora on America and on 1916. It will include a screening of the documentary trailer. This event will be open to the public.
Notre Dame are currently developing a series of international academic events they are calling “Reframing 1916.” This intended series of international symposiums will be held in the summer and fall of 2016 at a number of leading universities throughout the world where there is an Irish Studies presence.
The objective is to engage in scholarly discussion of the seminal event of the Irish revolution, and its international context, with faculty and students in other centers of learning in the centenary year.
The series would bring a number of Notre Dame faculty to speak at universities worldwide and to engage with their faculty, students and other interested parties in a series of day-long lectures, panels, and screening of the feature documentary on 1916. This would be planned with the input and active involvement of the faculty of the host universities.
The locations for these events could possibly include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, Argentina, France, Czech Republic, Scotland, and Oxford to name but a few.
For more information on Notre Dame’s 1916 projects visit irishstudies.nd.edu.