herald

Friday 22 September 2017

Collins 'would be proud' as thousands mark rising

Conor (6) and Sean (9) Hardiman, with a copy of the Proclamation outside the GPO
Conor (6) and Sean (9) Hardiman, with a copy of the Proclamation outside the GPO

Relatives of those who died for Irish freedom stood with thousands of people in O'Connell Street to mark the 101st anniversary of the Easter Rising.

While considerably smaller than last year's centenary celebrations, the day was of no less importance, with crowds pouring on to the street to witness the ceremony.

Good weather graced the event, which began with the lowering of the tricolour on top of the GPO.

Brigid O'Mahony (66), one of the many spectators who lined O'Connell Street, said she had very fond memories of attending the Easter Rising celebrations.

"I'm actually standing at the same spot I did in 1966 during the 50th anniversary of the Rising," she said.

President Michael D Higgins chats with Evan O Máirtín from Beaumount
President Michael D Higgins chats with Evan O Máirtín from Beaumount

Wonderful

"It's always a wonderful occasion and I'm very happy that we continue to hold these events in remembrance of everyone who died.

"My family weren't involved in the fighting, but were always very proud of what these men and women did for them."

President Michael D Higgins was joined by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and laid a laurel wreath at the site, which was the former headquarters of the 1916 rebels.

After a minute's silence, members of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps stood to attention as Captain Michael Barry read the Proclamation.

Mary Clare Collins Powell (79, above), who is Michael Collins' grand-niece, told the Herald that the revolutionary hero would have been "extremely proud" of today's young generation.

"Ireland is certainly a different country than what it was when Michael was alive, but nevertheless I'm sure he would have been extremely proud with the young people of today," she said.

Susie, Paul and Patrick (3) Foley from Sandycove enjoying Easter Sunday in Dun Laoghaire
Susie, Paul and Patrick (3) Foley from Sandycove enjoying Easter Sunday in Dun Laoghaire

"He would have been very much in favour of how open our society has become, and especially proud of our free educational system."

Derek O'Sullivan (55), who attended the ceremony with his two children, said he believed it was important to continue the annual tradition.

"We have to remember all those who died in 1916 and the War of Independence," he said.

"My family have always been proud republicans and attend any occasion that honours our martyrs.

"I'm happy with the big turnout today and the brass band is fantastic. Every time the national anthem is played, I still get goosebumps."

The ceremony concluded with the raising of the tricolour, the playing of the national anthem and a fly-past by four Air Corps planes.

While a large crowd enjoyed themselves at the ceremony, some families who remained in Dublin for the long weekend went about their day in a more low-key fashion.

With the rain staying away for much of the day, it was a perfect excuse for people to take time out in some of the popular tourist spots.

They included members of the Fitzgerald family from Dalkey, who enjoyed an afternoon at Dun Laoghaire pier, as did three-year-old Patrick Foley, from Sandycove, who was out and about with his parents, Susie and Paul.

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