Weekly Comment:
New York City Commemorates Easter Rising Centenary

Owen McDonnell plays Commandant Ned Daly in "A Terrible Beauty," which screens April 19 and 20 in New York as part of the city's 1916 centenary commemorations. (Photo courtesy Tile Media Ltd)

By R. Bryan Willits, Editorial Assistant
April 18, 2016

This week the Government of Ireland as well as NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House Center for Irish and Irish American Studies will be putting on a number of events in New York City to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising and to highlight the American dimensions of this historic event.

The events kicked off April 19 and 20 when Glucksman Ireland House NYU will host two separate screenings of the acclaimed docudrama A Terrible Beauty. The film uses firsthand accounts to tell the little-known stories of the “ordinary” people involved in the 1916 Easter Rising: Irish volunteers, British soldiers, and the innocent civilians who were caught in the middle. Both screenings will be followed by a Q&A with its filmmakers, Colin and Dave Farrell.

‘A Terrible Beauty’ trailer (Updated) from Tile Media on Vimeo.

The film screening will also act as a prelude to Glucksman Ireland House NYU’s greatly anticipated major, international conference, “Independent Spirit: America and the 1916 Easter Rising,” which will shed new light on the transatlantic context of the Rising.

The full program interrogates renowned historian and Director of NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House NYU Joe Lee’s assertion that “No America” and “no New York” would have meant “no Easter Rising. Simple as that.” By placing the Rising in a trans­national and trans­atlantic setting, twenty ­two scholars from a variety of disciplines will excavate the ways in which the United States was an equally critical theater of war in Ireland’s journey towards independence. The symposium will take place on Thursday, April 21st and Friday, April 22nd at Pier A Harbor House, 22 Battery Place, New York City.

The symposium will conclude with a special event in Washington Square Park, New York City, on Friday, April 22nd at 7pm. The Proclamation of the Irish Republic will be read in both English and Irish, followed by a short musical program by the Glee Club of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. Irish actress Lisa Dwan, known for her performances of Samuel Beckett’s work, will read the Proclamation in English; she can currently be seen in Samuel Beckett Trilogy: Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

The historic Pier A Harbor House in Battery Park in New York. (Photo: James Higgins)

The historic Pier A Harbor House in Battery Park in New York. (Photo: James Higgins)

Then, on April 24, The Government of Ireland and Irish Community Official Commemorative Ceremony will take place at 11:00 as part of an inclusive day-long program of events which will take place from 11.00 a.m.– 5.30 p.m. in Wagner Park, Battery Park City – a location with deep historical resonance for the Irish American community. Until Ellis Island opened in 1892, it was this location that served as an entry point for many Irish American’s ancestors who first arrived in America following Ireland’s Great Hunger in the 19th century.  

The Ceremony will involve the Reading of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the raising of the Irish tricolor and the American flag.  New York and Irish political leaders will participate, as will the Irish Defence Forces and the 69th Infantry Regiment. A music and cultural program, entitled “Welcoming Ireland!” will follow immediately after the ceremony at Wagner Park and the nearby Pier A. ♦


For ticketing information for A Terrible Beauty screenings, click here, and for the full program for NYU’s “Independent Spirit: America and the 1916 Easter Rising” symposium, including reservation information, click here.

For the complete program of the the Irish government events April 24, and for free reservations, visit ireland2016ny.com.


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