Educating myself on…1916

Centenary celebrations are taking place in Dublin this week and every sort of effort is being made to mark the 100 year anniversary of the 1916. From 1916 bus tours, tours of the GPO and special museum exhibitions there really isn’t any excuse to learn a bit more about your heritage.

I can honestly raise my hand and say that I was one of the many people my age, who if asked what happened during the rebellion I’d struggle to give a clear answer.

American Tourist: So what’s happening in Dublin, they’re celebrating something called 1916?

Me: ah well you know yourself, the Irish were fighting the British…people died… you know, Michael Collins, all that lot…

I had the general gist, but I never knew the ins and outs of what happened during Easter week a hundred years ago. With the anniversary approaching I decided to change that and educate myself on the history of my country.

Early in March I visited Glasnevin Cemetery, the resting place of the likes of Countess Markievicz and Eamon De Valera to name a few. The cemetery is full of endless headstones all with their own story to tell, these stories are thankfully retold daily by the guides who will bring you for a walk around the cemetery.

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The guide I had told our group the story of how his great grandfather was involved in the Rising when he was only a child. When on an errand to send a letter for his mother he got caught up in the action managed to get himself locked inside the GPO with the rest of the rebels.

Also by one of the entrances you can find the museum which goes into more detail about Glasnevin’s history.

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Though is mightn’t sound like the most upbeat thing to do on a Saturday afternoon, I found it really interesting and momentous to be walking among the graves of Irish legends ( as cheerful as that sounds!)

Another thing I did was visit the 1916 exhibition at the Ambassador Theatre at the top of O’ Cornell St. The first level of the exhibition brings you through a timeline of the Rising day by day, with a detailed profile of the different rebels that took part. A big emphasis is put on the women who fought, because as I found out, when the 50 years anniversary was celebrated no women were mentioned anywhere in the celebrations.

The downstairs area has been completely renovated so you’re able to walk in to jail cells that replicate where the rebels would have been kept in their time in Kilmainham Jail.

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The exhibition also has a showcase of Michael Collins car, along with many other displays.

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The final part of the experience is dedicated to the people that died during the Hunger Strikes. Tickets for a student was 12 euro.

Celebrations and remembrance seems to be in full swing in Dublin at the moment, with events and re-enactments happening all around the city. I’m currently home for my Easter holidays so I’m missing out, but with what I’ve learnt so far I can say my knowledge of events have improved.

For me learning about 1916 is how I’m remembering.

How will you remember?

 

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