On April 24, New York’s Irish community will come together to remember the events of 1916 and honor the people whose courage and idealism inspired the Irish Nation.
Last month, for Easter proper, the 1916 centenary was celebrated in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Now, almost 100 years to the very day that the Rising began, the Irish American community will mark the Rising’s anniversary and the tremendous influence Irish America held before, during and after the Rising.
The Centennial of Ireland’s Easter Rising of 1916 has particular resonance in the United States of America. Five of the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic spent periods of time in the US, which greatly influenced their thinking and actions.
The United States of America is the only foreign country specifically referenced in the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, which also acknowledges the contribution of Ireland’s “exiled children in America.” And, in the words of Professor Joe Lee of Glucksman Ireland House, New York University, “No New York, no America, no Rising.”
An inspiring and inclusive day-long program of events has been organized to mark the Centennial. They will take place from 11:00am to 5:30pm in Wagner Park, Battery Park City – a location with deep historical resonance for the Irish American community, many of whose ancestors first arrived at this point, New York’s precursor to Ellis Island, following Ireland’s Great Hunger.
An official commemorative ceremony by the Irish government and Irish community will take place at 11:00am. The ceremony will involve the Reading of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the raising of the National Flags. New York and Irish political leaders will participate, as will the Irish Defense Forces and the 69th Infantry Regiment, also known as the Fighting 69th.
A star-studded musical and cultural program entitled “Welcoming Ireland!” will follow immediately after the ceremony at Wagner Park, which has a capacity of 6,000. The very best of Irish music, dance, theatre, poetry and more will be on offer, including the hugely popular Irish language band Seo Linn, modern Irish dance sensation Hammerstep, Cherish the Ladies, the Brock Maguire Band, and more.
Meanwhile, the historic Pier A Harbor House, where the centenary celebrations kicked off in January, will be transformed into a hub for the very best in Irish film, such as the SundanceTV miniseries "Rebellion" and a number of Irish shorts; theater and the spoken word with productions from The Irish Arts Center, The Irish Repertory Theater, dancer Jean Butler and poet Paul Muldoon; traditional music with local session leaders, and lectures and talks on heritage and history with NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House and more.
The full program, including registration for the free Pier A tickets, is available here.
The day’s events are billed as the centerpiece of the rich, on-going 1916 Centennial Program in the New York Metropolitan Region and mark a “once-in-a-century invitation to Irish Americans of all ages and their friends to engage in a wide range of special historical, cultural and artistic activities, reflecting the vibrant and extensive Trans-Atlantic friendship now, and into the future.”
For more information, visit the Welcoming Ireland! website.
Will you be celebrating the 1916 centenary in the US? Let us know your plans in the comment section, below.