Irish President Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar joined in subdued Easter Rising commemorations on Sunday amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

The 104th anniversary of the Rising was unusually not marked with any public celebrations or parades due to COVID-19. 

Michael D. Higgins held a commemoration in the gardens of Áras an Uachtaráin instead. The President rang the Peace Bell, laid a wreath and observed a minute's silence to honor those who sacrificed their lives for Ireland more than 100 years ago. 

The wreath was laid near 16 newly-planted birch trees at Áras an Uachtaráin, which pay tribute to the 16 executed leaders after the Rising. 

Read more: The Easter Rising and a day at the races for my Irish grandfather

The minute's silence, meanwhile, also paid respects to those who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attended a scaled back commemoration at the General Post Office in Dublin, the epicenter of the Rising 104 years ago. 

Darren O'Reilly, Captain of the Irish Defense Forces, read the Proclamation of Independence aloud outside the GPO just like Pádraig Pearse did on Easter Monday in 1916 - the only difference being that O'Reilly read the Proclamation to a completely deserted O'Connell Street. 

Capt Darren Reilly reads the Proclamation outside the GPO at a ceremony marking the anniversary of The Easter 1916 Rising. The ceremony was reduced in line with @HSELive #COVID19 guidelines. #ÓglaighnahÉireann would like to wish the people of Ireland a safe and #HappyEaster pic.twitter.com/bqgY07tvRw

— Óglaigh na hÉireann (@defenceforces) April 12, 2020

He called the experience "surreal." 

There was also a remembrance prayer service in the GPO's inner courtyard. Varadkar, Lord Mayor of Dublin Tom Brabazon, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó'Fearghaíl all attended the prayer service, which was led by Defense Forces Chaplain Fr. Seamus Madigan.  

The attendees all observed social distancing guidelines as they paid their respects to Ireland's fallen heroes.

Read more: 50 facts about the Easter Rising

Iht 600x300px with button2