A historic occasion

TODAY’S re-enactment of the funeral of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa in Glasnevin Cemetry is the first of 40 historic commemorations across the country in the State’s centenary programme for the 2016 celebration of 1916.

Recalling a pivotal event leading ultimately to the Rising , the most significant aspect of the funeral was the graveside oration “the fools, the fools” delivered by Pádraig Pearse — a turning point in Ireland’s fight for independence.

It is entirely fitting that the ceremony takes place in Glasnevin, which is the major repository of Irish history. All the signatories of the Declaration of Independence lie there and their ghosts will assuredly be present today. Among the 1,500 viewers at the ticket-only event will be President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Such is the demand that a further 5,000 people will watch on big screens outside.

To mark the importance of this historic occasion, today’s paper contains the first of a two-day publication including a reproduction in colour of the famous graveside picture, a collector’s treasure trove which should not be missed.

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