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Play Your Role in Making History

Published: 24th April 2015

Ireland 2016 is a year-long programme of activity, in which everyone is invited to participate, to commemorate the events of the 1916 Rising, to reflect on our achievements as a democratic state over the last 100 years and to look towards Ireland’s future.

The Offaly 2016 Commemorative Committee of Offaly County Council are issuing an open invitation to a public information evening on Offaly 2016 on Wednesday 13th May at 8pm in the Tullamore Court Hotel.

At this meeting a draft programme of events, based on the public submissions, will be discussed and those in attendance will have an opportunity to help shape how this significant centenary will be commemorated in Offaly. The draft programme has been very much informed by the 36 submissions received during the consultation period, which covered topics such as monuments, a solemn ceremony of commemoration, remembering the Offaly men who participated in the Rising, collecting memorabilia, an education and exhibition programme, working with schools and much more.

Cllr. Sinéad Dooley Chairperson of the 2016 Offaly Commemorative Committee and Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council said, “This is a very significant time in our history and we are all privileged that we have a role in commemorating 100 years of our nation. We have been looking back at the local commemorations of 1966, and realise that we all share a responsibility to do this well and to do it right. The next commemorative committee will look back at what we accomplished and how we did it, so the task in hand is important.”

Whether you are a member of a local historical society, sports club, amateur drama club or community group, or even if this is something that is purely a personal interest, this is an opportunity to share ideas, pool resources and be part of the creation of a unique and distinctive local programme to mark Ireland 2016.

“This is very much a community led year of commemoration and we wish to continue this dialogue. Now that we have a loose programme, we wish to invite people to help build upon and deliver it. We have some exciting projects proposed and we look forward to sharing them. At this point”, continued Cllr. Dooley, “we have a proposal for an Offaly Ceremony of Commemoration to be held in Tullamore on March 20th. This is the week before the national events, but it also coincides with the date of the ‘Tullamore Incident’, which Padraig Pearse referred to as the “first active armed resistance” of the Rising. This day has yet to be fully coordinated, so we are keen to hear more from people on that.”

The Historical Societies will be actively involved in events and publications, the library service will be documenting memorabilia and there is a plan to restore the existing monuments and plaques to the Rising, (of which there are 6). Cllr. Dooley stated, “We do not have a budget for new monuments, but we actually have more monuments than people think, so highlighting what is there is important. However, we are planning to honour two Offaly men but using the medium of film; Eamon Bulfin and Peader Bracken both have extraordinary stories; Bulfin went on to be the first Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council having raised the flag at the GPO and Bracken fundraised for the Rising in Australia before also being in the GPO on the day.”

While some main events are being developed now, the committee realise that there are more ideas still being generated and there are opportunities for interaction between groups which they look forward to hearing about. Please register your interest in attending by emailing offaly2016@offalycoco.ie or contacting Corporate Services 057 9357402

The Offaly 2016 Commemorative Committee are Cllr. Sinead Dooley, Cllr Brendan Killeavy, Cllr John Carroll, Cllr. Liam Quinn, Cllr. Peter Ormond, Cllr. Declan Harvey, Frank Heslin, Monica Cleary, Amanda Pedlow, Sinead O’Reilly and Mary Stuart.  

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