Updated 6pm in light of Luas strike announcement
THE MAIN STATE events of the 1916 centenary take place in Dublin this weekend.
There are events scheduled between Saturday and Monday, with the centrepiece – the city centre parade and GPO wreath-laying – happening on Sunday.
Around half a million people are expected in the city over Sunday morning and afternoon, and transport providers are laying on plenty of extra services to cater for the expected surge in demand.
So what’s happening?
Which events will be open to the public, and which won’t?
Your questions, answered…
Q: Why this weekend?
Because it’s Easter.
The actual day of the start of the rebellion may have been on 24 April in 1916 – however, most of the official ceremonies and parades are taking place over Easter. Annual State ceremonies to mark the Rising have been held on that weekend in recent years.
A separate commemorative event at Arbour Hill, including a Requiem Mass to be attended by President Higgins and other dignitaries, will take place on 24 April.
Q: What’s happening on Sunday?
The Easter Sunday Parade is the main event of the day and of the weekend. This year’s event will stretch for 4.5km through central Dublin and will involve more than 3,700 members of the Defence Forces, along with emergency services staff and Army veterans.
The parade will start at 10am at Stephen’s Green and finish at Bolton Street at around 3. The main commemoration ceremony happens outside the GPO at noon, where the parade will pause.
The President will lay a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland during the ceremony and there will be a minute’s silence for all those who died. The National Flag on top of the GPO will then be raised to full mast and the ceremony will conclude with the playing of the National Anthem. There will also be a fly-past by the Air Corps.
Q. Will it be open to the public?
Yes, it’s the main public event of the weekend, however space along O’Connell Street is expected to be limited – particularly around the lower and middle section of the street. Space has been reserved for 5,000 1916 relatives and some 1,000 invited guests in the area, including politicians and members of religious orders.
Viewing screens are also being set up in five locations around the city at:
- St Stephen’s Green North/East
- Trinity College
- King’s Inns
- Merrion Square
Q. What else is happening?
There’ll also be a three part wreath laying ceremony at Glasnevin at 9.30am, and one at Kilmainham Gaol at 10.30am to be attended by the President.
The Taoiseach is hosting a State Reception with 2,000 relatives and 1,000 other guests at Dublin Castle, and a special concert ‘A Nation’s Voice’ with choral singers and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra takes place at Collins Barracks.
Q. And are they open to the public?
Yes and no. Tickets for the Glasnevin event were allocated to members of the public on a first-come-first-served basis, but supply has now run out. The event at the Stone Breakers Yard in Kilmainham is in an extremely limited space so only around 35 invited guests are attending. It will be shown live on RTÉ One.
The State Reception is only open to the 3,000 invited guests of the Taoiseach. Tickets for the concert were available to the public via lottery, but the draw has long since taken place and all places have been allocated. It will be broadcast live on RTÉ.
Q. What’s happening on Saturday?
The main event of the day will be a ceremony with music and poetry at the Garden of Remembrance at the top of O’Connell Street, to be attended by the President.
Described on the official website as “a ceremony in two parts to remember and honour those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom” it will last around 75 minutes. It takes place at noon.
There’s also a State Event for 1916 Relatives taking place at the RDS, with around 4,000 people attending.
Q. Is access to those events open?
The one at the Garden of Remembrance is, but numbers will be restricted because of space limitations. A large number of relatives are on the invite list.
The RDS event is by invite only. The places have been allocated based on a registration system operated by the Department of Defence.
Q. What’s happening on Monday?
Wreath-laying ceremonies will take place at six iconic sites associated with the Rising, with a government minister presiding over each one. The ceremonies take place at 1.15pm, the time when the first shots of the Rising were fired in 1916.
The events take place at Boland’s Mill, the Jacobs Factory (now the National Archives), Dublin Castle/City Hall, The Four Courts, the Royal College of Surgeons, Moore Street and St. James’s Hospital.
RTÉ’s Reflecting the Rising also takes place – with hundreds of talks, walking tours, music, dance and street theatre events planned. What’s being described as a ‘Broadcast Event’ by RTÉ takes place in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on Monday night, and the first show in a concert series ‘Imagining Home’ will be performed at the National Concert Hall.
Q. And are they open to the public?
The first two are very open indeed – according to organisers the wreath-layings are free to access and “a small number of seats will be provided at each location for those who require one”.
Large crowds are expected at Reflecting the Rising, which includes events scheduled across the day from 11am. Indoor events are ticketed though (more details here).
Limited tickets were released for the ‘Centenary’ concert at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, but that process has now finished. Tickets for the first night of ‘Imagining Home’, which includes appearances by Rosanne Cash, Paul Brady and Maura O’Connell, are still available, and cost from €22.50 (at least, they were available when we tried to buy them last night).
Q. What’s the transport advice?
In the main, leave the car at home.
Expect road closures throughout the city centre area on Sunday (although O’Connell Street will stay closed from Friday right through Monday) and if you’re planning on attending a specific event leave plenty of time to get there.
Extra bus and rail services are being laid on to get people to the capital, and for those travelling in from the suburbs there’ll be an increased frequency of Dart services. Some Dublin Bus routes will end further away from the city than usual on Sunday due to the parade.
If you normally travel by Luas, note that a strike has been announced affecting all tram services on Sunday and Monday.
And if you’re not planning on having anything to do with the 1916 commemorations, you’re best off staying out of the city centre altogether on Sunday and Monday.
For a full list of transport options this weekend click here and for a comprehensive list of everything that’s going on check this out. For an extremely hassle-free day, you can simply watch the parade on TV on Sunday. Coverage starts on RTÉ One from 9.30am.