Easter Sunday commemoration marks 107 years since 1916 Rising

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attend ceremony outside the GPO

A commemoration to mark the 107th anniversary of the 1916 Rising took place on Sunday with military precision outside the GPO on Dublin’s O’Connell Street.

The ceremony, which was attended by President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Micheál Martin and other members of the Government, commemorated the take over of the GPO by rebel forces, a key factor in igniting the War of Independence.

As protocol dictates, the Taoiseach arrived exactly three minutes before the President and was saluted by the Defence Forces in front of the GPO, before Mr Higgins inspected a guard of honour.

The voice of a lone protester in the crowd, who appeared to be shouting “resist, resist, we have rights”, was drowned out by the head chaplain of the Defence Forces, Fr Paschal Hanrahan, who led the prayer of remembrance. Gardaí said a man was subsequently arrested for public order offences. He has been charged and will appear in court at a later date.


At noon the national flag was lowered above the pediment of the GPO where the statue representing Hibernia, the embodiment of Ireland, clutched what looked like a newly gilded spear and harp. Hibernia’s companions, Mercury and Fidelity, also bore gilt, which glinted in the sunshine as crowds turned their attention upwards.

Army Captain Austin Doyle then read a copy of the 1916 Proclamation, first read on the steps of the GPO by Patrick Pearse during the Rising. Mr Higgins placed a wreath in front of the portico and there was a minute’s silence for all those who died during the Rising.

The wreath laying was followed by the sounding of the Last Post, and as the flag was raised to full mast the national anthem was played.

The ceremony concluded with an Air Corp fly over and the cadet guard of honour military band and associated military units marched off.

Una Ó Callanáin, the granddaughter of Commandant Michael Mallin who was second-in-command of the Irish Citizen Army during the Easter of 1916 and was executed on May 8th that year attended the ceremony. Accompanying Ms Ó Callanáin was Commandant Mallin’s great-great-granddaughter Étaín Nash. Both women said this year’s commemoration was well up to the standard of previous years.

Also among the guests was Rita Tapley whose aunts, Síle and Molly O’Hanlon from Dolphin’s Barn, had fought as part of the Rising in Marrowbone Lane. Ms Tapley praised the commemoration saying it was “done very well”.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist