1916 Centenary - A guide to events taking place over the Easter weekend

What's going on, where and when, and is it open to the public?

1916, Easter Rising, Centenary


As part of the year-long celebrations of the centenary of the 1916 Rising, a number of formal events are scheduled to take place over the Easter weekend. Intended to honour the sacrifices made by those who acted in the spirit of liberty and independence, the celebrations and commemorations hope to unite people all over the country in reverence, patriotism, and remembrance.

Here are some of the major events taking place around the country over the Easter weekend.

  • Garden of Remembrance Ceremony


What is it? A two-part ceremony that will honour those who lost their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom.

The ceremony will be a cultural exploration of 1916, including the unveiling of a plaque inscribed with an original poem commissioned to mark the centenary. In the second half, the state will formally commemorate the activities of the Irish Volunteers, particularly those who lost their lives.

The ceremony will see a wreath laying, a minute’s silence, a piper’s lament, and the raising of the Irish tricolour to full mast.

Where and when? This ceremony takes place in the Garden of Remembrance, located at Parnell Square East, Dublin 1. The ceremony takes place from midday on Saturday, March 26th.

Open to the public? Yes – but with limited space and restricted numbers. Due to the large number of invited guests, viewing areas with screens will be available to members of the public on Parnell Square North.

  • Wreath-laying ceremony at Glasnevin Cemetery


What is it? Three wreaths will be laid at the famous Dublin cemetery; the first will be positioned at the Sigerson Monument, Dora Sigerson’s memorial to all who served during Easter Week. The second will be laid at Edward Hollywood’s grave, the man who weaved the first tricolour in 1848. The last will be placed at the grave of Peadar Kearney, the lyricist who wrote Amhrán na bhFiann.

Where and when? This ceremony takes place in Glasnevin Cemetery, beginning at 9.30am on Easter Sunday (27/03).

Open to the public? Yes, although ticketed. Glasnevin Cemetery officials are releasing free tickets on a first-come-first-served basis, and can be reached here.

  • Wreath-laying ceremony at Kilmainham Gaol

What is it? President Michael D Higgins will lay flowers in remembrance in the Stone Breakers Yard, where the 1916 leaders were executed in Kilmainham Gaol. The wreath-laying will be followed by a minute’s silence, the sounding of the Last Post and the raising of the Irish flag.

Where and when? Kilmainham Gaol, at 10.30am on Easter Sunday (27/03).

Open to the public? No. Only 35 guests have been invited to this solemn ceremony, but it will be widely broadcast live on RTÉ platforms.

  • The Commemoration Ceremony & Parade in Dublin


What is it? Arguably the biggest event taking place across the whole weekend, this ceremony will begin with a member of the Defence Forces reading the 1916 proclamation at the entrance to the GPO. President Higgins will then lay another wreath, followed by a minute’s reflection, and the raising of the tricolour above the building and the playing of the national anthem.

The military parade of the Irish Defence Forces will then commence at St Stephen’s Green, finishing on Bolton St in Dublin 1.

Where and when? The parade will begin at 10am on Easter Sunday (27/03), pausing at midday to allow for the GPO ceremonies to take place. It is expected to conclude at 3pm.

Open to the public? Yes, with restrictions. 5,000 relatives of 1916 volunteers and further 1,000 invitees will take seats reserved on Middle and Lower O’Connell Street for the GPO ceremony. The parade route is open to the public, covering St Stephen’s Green to Bolton St, via Cuffe St, Kevin St, Patrick St, Thomas St, Parliament St, Dame St, Westmoreland St, O’Connell St, North Frederick St, and Dorset St.

  • The State Reception at Dublin Castle

What is it? A formal reception for guests invited to the Easter Sunday parade, at the invitation of the acting Taoiseach, will be held in the Dublin Castle complex after the parade has finished. Those attending will be treated to entertainment based on the 2016 themes of remember, reflect, and re-imagine.

Where and when? Dublin Castle, in Dublin 2, on Easter Sunday afternoon.

Open to the Public? No, this is an invitation-only event, with the invitees comprising 2,000 relatives of 1916 volunteers and 1,000 guests representing the broad spectrum of Irish politics and society.

  • A Nation’s Voice


What is it? More than 1,100 singers, aged from nine to 69, from all over the island will come together with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra to perform a new orchestral and choral piece composed by Shaun Davey and Paul Muldoon.

Where and when? Taking place at the National Museum, Collins Barracks in Dublin, the doors open for this event at 1.30pm with the performance scheduled to begin at 2.30pm.

Open to the public? Yes, but admittance is through ticketing and all tickets have been allocated. The event will be broadcast live on RTÉ platforms.

  • Synchronised wreath-laying ceremonies in Dublin

What is it? A number of ceremonies will be held across Ireland to mark the occasion when the first shots were fired during the Easter Rising, with an acting Minister speaking at each site, with a brief explanation of the role each place played in the rebellion.

Where and when? In the capital, flowers will be laid at the following places: Boland’s Mill, the National Archives (formerly the site of the Jacobs Factory), Dublin Castle & City Hall, the Four Courts, the Royal College of Surgeons, Moore St, and St James’ Hospital. These events will take place at 1.15pm on Easter Monday (28/03).

Open to the public? Yes, each of the sites will have a public standing area, with a small number of seats for those who may need them.

  • State Ceremonial Events around Ireland


What is it? At four different places around the country (Ashbourne, Athenry, Cork City, and Enniscorthy), different ceremonies will commemorate the significant role each of those sites played in events of Easter Monday, 1916. Each one will also see a wreath laid at 1.15pm, in synchronicity with the Dublin wreath layings.

Where and when? In Ashbourne, events will kick off at 10.45am in Rathcross. There will be a battle re-enactment, the wreath laying, and the unveiling of a plaque.

In Athenry, events will begin at 11.25am with a cultural demonstration of music, song, dance, and poetry, showcasing the best of the West. This will be followed by a public parade, the Paráid Phobail, which will involve the county’s GAA clubs. There follows the wreath laying, raising of the flag, and playing of the national anthem. The events will finish at 1.35pm.

Cork City’s events will start at 11.45am along the Grand Parade, featuring live music performed by the Defence Forces Band, Peadar Ó Riada, and Cór Chúil Aodha. This will be followed by speeches by the Mayors of Cork City and the county, a wreath-laying, a minute’s silence, the piper’s lament, the Last Post, a flag raising, and the national anthem. The formal events will conclude at 1.30pm, with a further hour of Irish music.

The Wexford events in Enniscorthy will begin at 11.30am with a centenary parade from St Aidan’s Cathedral to the Seamus Rafter Statue in Abbey Square. The official State Commemoration Ceremony at the Athenaeum will start at 12.30pm, with the raising of the 1916 Battalion Flag and wreath laying at 1.15pm. The national anthem will be played, the Air Corps will fly past, and the second half of the ceremony will feature original songs and poetry commissioned for the centenary. The proceedings will come to a close at 3.15pm.

Open to the public? With the exception of the Ashbourne events, all of the others are open to the public. Due to the size of the Rathcross site in Meath, the number of spectators will be limited, with standing room only. Tickets for the event are available by email or visit County Meath online for further details.

For more information on events taking place throughout the centenary, please visit Ireland.ie.