Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has called for a renewed sense of national purpose and pride at the annual 1916 state commemoration at Arbour Hill.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny joined relatives of those who fought and died for a memorial mass followed by a wreath laying ceremony led by President Mary McAleese at rebel leaders’ graves.
Archbishop Martin compared the state of the country today with the poverty, political turmoil and disastrous economic climate of 95 years ago.
“Those who fought and died in 1916 realised however that with courage and vision things could change,” he said.
“We pray at this national commemoration for a renewed sense of national purpose, of national pride and of a willingness to commit ourselves to realising in our time a vision for our future in which all care, in which all participate and all contribute.
“We remember those who died for a noble idea: that God will reward them for their courage and idealism and that we will remember and honour them by the way we live as active and caring citizens of our republic today and tomorrow.”
The Arbour Hill ceremony included a mass at the Church of the Most Sacred Heart for the souls of those who died in the 1916 rising. It was followed by a procession from the church to the memorial for the 14 leaders of the Easter Rising before President McAleese laid a wreath in honour of those who died.
A minute’s silence was also observed followed by the sounding of the last post.
After the ceremony Justice Minister Alan Shatter hosted a reception for guests, including relatives of the 1916 leaders.
Senior judges, gardai and military chiefs and other dignitaries also attended the ceremony.
Later, the Taoiseach travelled to New York on an investment drive and for meetings with the Irish-American community and business leaders in Wall Street. Mr Kenny said he is taking the message with him that Ireland is open for business.
The Taoiseach also said he was conscious that his trip is happening at a poignant time for the people of New York after Osama bin Laden was killed.
“While I intend to bring a positive message about Ireland to New York, I am also very mindful that this is a very poignant moment to visit and a very emotional time for her citizens as the terrible memories of September 11th 2001 are re-awakened,” he said.
“During my visit I will be reflecting on those terrible losses on 9/11, including those Irish people and members of the Irish-American community who were lost on that day.”
The trip includes meetings with representatives of Irish-American social, cultural and sporting organisations in New York and also with business leaders, opinion formers and the media.
There will also be engagements with Irish companies doing business in the US and a public roundtable at the Council on Foreign Relations.
The programme closes with a keynote address at the American Ireland 36th New York Dinner Gala at the Lincoln Centre.