The Irish government has announced that they will provide funding to groups across Britain that wish to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising next year.

A funding program, offering grants of between $770 and $3,000 (£500 and £2,000) will be available to groups across Britain wishing to commemorate the historic rebellion.

Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan launched the program in London. Speaking to the Irish Post he said, “The major projects in Britain will be among the flagship events in our ambitious international program and I know the community groups here will bring imagination and passion to the important grassroots aspect of our celebrations.”

At home and abroad the Irish community around the world is preparing to mark the events that sparked the beginning of Irish independence.

Flanagan said, “I would like to take this opportunity to invite our citizens, diaspora and Ireland’s many international friends to join with us in marking key moments in our history and achievements of Ireland over the last hundred years.”

Read more: 1916 Rising photos never before seen publicly revealed

Ireland 2016 will also be celebrated in the United States. Five of the seven signatories to the Proclamation of Independence spent periods of time in the US, which significantly influenced their thinking and actions. In fact the USA is the only foreign country specifically mentioned in the Proclamation. It also has the greatest concentration of our diaspora and the contemporary ties are of extraordinary depth and breadth.

The Embassy of Ireland in Washington D.C. and Ireland’s six Consulates General (Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco) have been preparing a program of political, economic, and cultural events across the United States throughout the centenary year.

This spring Ireland’s leader, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the deputy Tanaiste Joan Burton and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys launched Ireland 2016 Centenary program, a national and international initiative to mark the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Ireland 2016, led by Minister Humphreys, is a year-long program of activity to commemorate the events of the 1916 Rising, to reflect on our achievements over the last 100 years and to look towards Ireland’s future. The program includes seven strands; State Ceremonial; Historical Reflection; An Teanga Bheo/The Living Language; Youth and Imagination; Cultural Expression; Community Participation; Global and Diaspora.

Highlights will include:

· A major exhibition of 1916 archival material at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks

· ‘Proclamation Day,’ which will be held in all schools on March 15th 2016

· The National Flag and a copy of the Proclamation will be delivered to every school in the country

· A series of state commemorative events, including a parade from Dublin Castle to Parnell Square on Easter Sunday 2016 and a special State Reception for relatives

· 7 new public projects at the GPO, Kilmainham Gaol, Pearse’s Cottage, the Military Archives and other sites

· A multi-location public event, to be broadcast on television on Easter Monday 2016, telling the story of Ireland, through music, dance, drama and song

· A series of conferences on 1916 through our universities

· Cultural events around the globe, to be co-ordinated through our embassies and Culture Ireland, including Irish cultural festivals in Washington and London

Speaking at the launch event Taoiseach Enda Kenny said, “There are some moments in history when a seed is sown and the old order changes forever. Easter 1916 was a moment when Irish nationalism joined forces with a revolutionary cultural and language movement to forge an irresistible campaign towards self-determination.

“It is important that the Irish people have the opportunity to come together to celebrate and have pride in Ireland's independence, and to honor those who gave their lives so that the dream of self-determination could become a reality.

“Ireland 2016, as a year of reflection and engagement for everyone on this island, goes far beyond the formal marking of a key historical moment. It is a once-in-a-century invitation to people of all ages, at home and overseas, to shape and take part in a diverse range of historical, cultural and artistic activities, all designed to nurture reflection, commemoration, celebration and debate.”

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