Ambitious plans for 1916 centenary commemorations in Scotland revealed
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Ambitious plans for 1916 centenary commemorations in Scotland revealed

CONCERTS, lectures and public debates are among events which will feature in a year-long schedule of commemorations due to be held in Scotland to mark the 1916 centenary.

The ambitious programme was revealed this week at the launch of the 1916 Rising Centenary Committee Scotland at the Irish Consulate in Edinburgh.

There Committee members involved in the extensive project revealed their plans to mark the many historic links between the Irish community in Scotland and Ireland’s battle for independence in the lead up to Easter 2016.

“We have an ambitious and exciting programme for the year ahead,” the Committee confirmed.

“This will include lectures, concerts, readings, exhibitions, a public debate and discussion, historical walking tours, pub quizzes, the production of two books, plays about Margaret Skinnider and Elizabeth O’Farrell as well as a range of university-based seminars and workshops.”

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Evin Downey, Irish Language and Development Officer for Conradh na Gaeilge in Glasgow, opened proceedings in Irish, before explaining the “profound influence” Ireland’s native tongue had on the leaders of the Easter Rising.

A relative of Edinburgh-born Easter Rising leader James Connolly attended the launch event A relative of Edinburgh-born Easter Rising leader James Connolly attended the launch event

During the event, which drew a large audience on Tuesday, April 28, local historian Stephen Coyle delivered a talk entitled The Fire of Revolt: From Clydeside to Dublin’s GPO.

While the lecture told the tale of the contingent of Irish Volunteers that crossed from Scotland to take part in the 1916 Rising in Dublin, Galway and Wexford, he also revealed that the Rising could not have proceeded without the “large quantity of explosives brought over from Scotland”.

Pat Bourne, Ireland’s Consul General to Scotland, told those gathered of the State’s plans to commemorate the impending centenary, while urging the Diaspora in Scotland to take part in events being held to mark the anniversary.

Later journalist Ian Bell addressed the audience, detailing the difficulties he has previously faced in his attempts to have his great uncle - the Scottish-born Easter Rising leader James Connolly – recognised in his native Edinburgh.

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On the day guests were also invited to view an exhibition of items which belonged to Glaswegian Seamus Reader, who played a leading role in preparations for the Easter Rising in Scotland.

The Volunteer was interned in several Scottish and English gaols after transporting explosives to Ireland in 1916.

His grand-niece, the celebrated Scottish singer Eddi Reader, read an extract from Seamus’s memoirs, which recalled his incarceration in Edinburgh Castle, at the launch event.

For further information about the Committee’s commemorative events click here