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Dublin: 5°C Wednesday 25 November 2020
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Costumes, duck parades and a lively céilí as the capital is taken over once more

Crowds descended on the city today to honour the sacrifices made by Irish men and women 100 years ago – and to enjoy the freedom they fought for.

THERE WAS A LIGHTNESS about the city as crowds descended to celebrate the sacrifices Irish men and women made for the country 100 years ago.

Yesterday’s military parade and ceremonies marked a sombre, respectful and, for some people, emotional day as the nation paid tribute to those who fought and died for Ireland’s freedom. Today was all about enjoying that freedom.

All across the city RTÉ was running what it has described as the largest outdoor cultural event in Dublin’s history – Reflecting the Rising. There were lectures, walking tours, concerts, dramatic performances and more for people to enjoy as they strolled about the city in the sun.

Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

In St Stephen’s Green park, a group of children aged four to 11 from the Rainbow Drama School in Donnycarney treated crowds to the ‘Procession of Ducks’. This was a reference to the truce observed by both sides during the fighting so that the ducks in the park could be fed.

Dressed in period costumes, they paraded their ducks around the park and stopped at the water to feed them before playing a few games of Queenie Eye Oh.

The fun continued outside the National Concert Hall, where a full-on céilí broke out and the dancers were not holding back.

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All across the city people, young and old, were dressed in costume.

dav A group of very stylish ladies on O'Connell Street. Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

Some were even in character, telling us they were off to take over the GPO – once they were done getting snapped by the photographers.

Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

O’Connell Street was bustling with people taking selfies with the GPO, singing songs and generally soaking up the atmosphere.

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Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

Just around the corner, a more solemn ceremony was talking place. Minister Heather Humphries was on Moore Street to take part in a wreath-laying ceremony, where the surrender was finally issued in 1916.

The event was somewhat overshadowed by Save Moore Street campaigners who heckled and shouted over Humphreys and a member of the Defence Forces as they spoke to the crowds.

In keeping with the spirit of the day, when asked afterwards if there had been arrests, a garda on Moore Street remarked it had been a “peaceful protest”.

As the ceremony came to a close, bagpipes sounded Amhrán na bhFiann and the crowd stood proud and joined in, before dispersing to enjoy the rest of the events on offer.

One hundred years on from the fighting and the struggle for freedom, the Irish capital, today more than ever, belonged to the Irish people.

Read: ‘Shame on you’: Save Moore Street protesters heckle wreath-laying ceremony>

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