At 12pm yesterday, March 15, thousands of Irish schoolchildren and students stood to attention as the Irish flag was raised and Amhrán na bhFiann, Ireland’s national anthem, was sung on the very first Proclamation Day.
Sharing their hopes and dreams for Ireland today and in the future, students remembered the words of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic while coining their own proclamation for 2016.
Several weeks ago, the Irish Defense Forces awarded the tricolor to every school in the country and the beautiful spring weather caused many schools to hold their celebrations outside, while they hoisted the flag proudly above their schools.
Some schools made big gestures to show their participation …
While for others, the beauty was all in a song or in displaying the hard work of the students in creating artwork for the event.
At the heart of the celebration was the proclamation and, in particular, the Proclamation for a New Generation project, whereby schools were asked to share their students’ ideas for a Proclamation of Ireland in 2016.
The students touched on the problem of homelessness in Ireland within their proclamations, also showing concern for global warming and for the number of patients left on trolleys in our hospitals.
Others referenced those of other nationalities that wish to now become Irish citizens in hoping that they, too, will feel pride in our heritage, culture, and language as we welcome them into the community.
The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic was read from the steps of the GPO on Sackville (now O’Connell) Street on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, by Pádraig Pearse, a leader of the Easter Rising and one of the seven signatories of the Proclamation. The other signatories included Thomas J. Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, Eamonn Ceannt, James Connolly and Joseph Plunkett.
It is believed Pearse wrote the document and 1,000 copies were originally printed in Liberty Hall in 1916, most of which were lost during the events of the Rising. There are now an estimated 50 copies surviving, 25 of which are in museums and the rest of which are privately owned.
To mark the centenary Trinity College Dublin have translated the document into 17 different languages and yesterday, representatives of their university all over the world took part in remembering its importance.
The Irish Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, called Proclamation Day “a once in a generation occasion”.
“This day is the culmination of months of work by teachers, parents and pupils, who have so eagerly embraced the Ireland 2016 centenary programme,” she said.
“While the commemorations are primarily about reflecting on our past, the Proclamation for a New Generation initiative has given schoolchildren the opportunity to outline their vision for Ireland in the future.
“It has allowed our children and young people to learn about their history in a new and interesting way and it has encouraged them to think ambitiously about the kind of Ireland they want to build in the years ahead.”
Here are some of the ways in which Irish students celebrated:
The tricolor was also raised in New York, on the site of the very first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1762.
Did you take part in Proclamation Day yesterday? Let us know what you got up to.