Eight things that made us proud to be Irish in 2016
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Eight things that made us proud to be Irish in 2016

LIKE every year, 2016 had its ups and downs — perhaps rather more downs than we might have hoped for. But there were many events which lifted our spirits and made us proud to be Irish.

The Uefa European Championships in June

Irish fans at the 2016 Euro Championships [Picture: INPHO/James Crombie] Irish fans at the 2016 Euro Championships (Picture: INPHO/James Crombie)
The Euro Championships in June saw the Irish fans cover themselves in glory thanks to their friendliness and exuberance.

The Easter Rising Commemorations

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 The GAA 1916 commemorations at Croke Park [Picture: INPHO/Cathal Noonan] The GAA 1916 commemorations at Croke Park (Picture: INPHO/Cathal Noonan)
2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the seminal moment in the 20th century of Ireland's struggle for independence — the Easter Rising of 1916.

Aidan Turner in Poldark

Aidan Turner and fellow Poldark actor Eleanor Tomlinson [Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images] Aidan Turner and fellow Poldark actor Eleanor Tomlinson [Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images]
Aidan Turner's success in Poldark led him to being mentioned in terms of everything from the next 007 to a new President of Ireland.

Jason Smyth wins gold at the Summer Paralympics

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Gold medalist Jason Smyth with his wife and daughter Elise and Evie [Picture: INPHO/James Crombie] Gold medallist Jason Smyth with his wife and daughter Elise and Evie (Picture: INPHO/James Crombie)
Derry man Jason Smyth, who is legally registered as blind, won gold at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in the 100 metres.

The O'Donovan brothers strike silver at the Summer Olympics

Paul and Gary O'Donovan celebrate winning a silver medal with father Teddy and brother David O'Donovan [Picture: INPHO/Morgan] TreacyPaul and Gary O'Donovan pictured with father Teddy and brother David O'Donovan [Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy]
The O'Donovan brothers, Paul and Gary from Skibbereen lit up the summer with their silver win in the lightweight double sculls rowing event.

Colm Tóibín celebrates the genius of Oscar Wilde

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Colm Tóibín in Reading Gaol [Picture: Mal Rogers]Colm Tóibín in Reading Gaol [Picture: Mal Rogers]
The literary and arts worlds paid tribute to the most famous inmate of Reading Gaol, Oscar Wilde. Colm Tóibín movingly read from Wilde's De Profundis from the cell Wilde had been incarcerated in.

Ireland beat New Zealand

Munster's CJ Stander prepares for Ireland's forthcoming battle against the All Blacks [Picture: INPHO/Tommy Dickson]Munster's CJ Stander prepares for Ireland's forthcoming battle against the All Blacks [Picture: INPHO/Tommy Dickson]
In November, Ireland beat the mighty All Blacks for the first time in rugby history.

The Battle of the Somme centenary

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Members of the Irish Defence Forces pay tribute to the Irishmen killed at the Battle of the Somme [RollingNews.ie]Members of the Irish Defence Forces pay tribute to the Irishmen killed at the Battle of the Somme [RollingNews.ie]
Although Ireland's part in the First World War is still a very divisive topic amongst Irish people, tribute was paid during 2016 to the thousands of Irishmen who fought bravely at the Battle of the Somme.