Most of the city center in the capital Dublin will be shut down while thousands march in a parade from the urban park St Stephen’s Green, past the General Post Office (GPO) building where Easter Rising rebels raised the white flag after being bombarded with heavy British artillery.
The armed overthrow of the foreign empire that occupied Irish soil took years after that initial insurrection to evolve into the (almost) independent republic we know today.
Six of the island’s 32 counties are still under the Queen’s thumb, unable to be wrested from her despite decades of struggle over the past 40 years.
Sunday’s ceremonies are the principal commemorations during this long weekend of events.
As the parade passes the GPO and the clock strikes noon, the 1916 Proclamation will be read in front of descendants of the rebels who fought a century ago.
The parade will feature one of the largest military displays in the history of the state including 3,500 marchers and a US-style “fly-past” by the Air Corps, which only has 26 craft in its fleet including a Learjet, 5 Cessnas, and 4 Eurocopters.
While most commemorations happen on the exact date of the events, this year’s celebrations were set around Easter weekend, even though they actually happened April 24-29, 1916.
More unusual is that this celebration of Irish independence and the new republic comes at a time without a formed government. The February general election spread votes across several party and the ruling coalition was unable to form a new government, leaving a caretaker prime minister to participate in the events.
Three different wreath-laying ceremonies will happen Sunday at Glasnevin Cemetery, which was built in the 1800s by Catholics who didn’t have their own resting places under British rule.
The first wreath will be laid at the Sigerson Monument for all who served during Easter Week; the second at the grave of Edward Hollywood, who was the weaver of the first Irish Tricolor in 1848; and the third at the grave of Peadar Kearney, who wrote the lyrics to “The Soldiers’ Song” / “Amhrán na bhFiann”.