Decade of Centenaries


The Decade of Centenaries programme commenced in 2012 and will focus initially on the many significant centenaries occurring over the period 1912–1916. The Programme will complement the ongoing programme of annual commemorations with special centenary commemorative events on the anniversaries of key events. The Decade of Centenaries Programme provides an opportunity to focus on the development of access to historical records and primary sources from the time period, and for working with local and national cultural bodies to bring forward a series of exhibitions and public discussions. We will also work with stakeholders from representative bodies and the community and voluntary sector to facilitate commemorative initiatives.

The programme will be broad and inclusive, highlighting the economic and social conditions of the period, the shifts in cultural norms and the experience of the Irish abroad. Important events being commemorated include the Centenary of the Ulster Covenant, the foundation of the Irish Volunteers, the Home Rule and Land Bills, the 1913 Lockout, the 1916 Rising and many anniversaries relating to World War One, including the Gallipoli landings, the Somme offensive and the battle of Messines Ridge. Also of note will be the Literary Revival, the suffrage movement, the struggle for workers’ rights and many other key events and themes of the period.

The objective of the State Commemorative Programme for the years from 2019 – 2023 is to ensure that this complex period in our history, including the Struggle for Independence, the Civil War, the Foundation of the State and Partition, is remembered appropriately, proportionately, respectfully and with sensitivity. It aims to promote a deeper understanding of the significant events that took place during this period and recognises that the shared historical experience of those years gave rise to very different narratives and memories. It will also take account of sensitivities across communities in Northern Ireland and continue to recognise that very different perspectives persist on many of these events.

This Programme will be based on a four strand approach comprising:

  • A State Ceremonial Strand which will comprise a limited number of symbolic acts of national commemoration focusing on themes of remembrance and reconciliation and on the commemoration of all of those who lost their lives during this period.
  • A Historical Strand which will comprise a diverse range of activities designed to encourage authentic historical enquiry about this period and promote the use of primary archival sources. Initiatives will be developed in collaboration with State partners, National Cultural Institutions, institutions of learning and other stakeholders.
  • A Community Strand, which will involve a collaborative approach – similar to that adopted for the 1916 centenary commemorations – between the State, local authority network and community organisations, including in Northern Ireland where appropriate.
  • The Creative Imagination Strand which will continue to encourage artistic and creative expression in remembrance of the significant historical events of the period from 1919 to 1923 and all of those who lost their lives.

The Guidance from the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations is available here.

For further information, please see http://www.decadeofcentenaries.com


Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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