Decade of Centenaries



Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023

The Decade of Centenaries programme commenced in 2012 and focused initially on the many significant centenaries occurring over the period 2012–2016.  The Programme complements the on-going programme of annual State commemorations with special centenary commemorative events on the anniversaries of key events.

The Decade of Centenaries programme is broad and inclusive, highlighting the economic and social conditions of the period, the shifts in cultural norms and the experience of the Irish abroad.

The programme encompasses the different traditions on the island of Ireland and aims to enhance understanding of and respect for events of importance among the population as a whole.  The programme also provides opportunities to focus on the everyday experience of ordinary people living in extraordinary times, as well as on the leaders and key actors in these events. The programme aims to offer fresh insights and constructive dialogue, and to foster deeper mutual understanding among people from the different traditions.

The programme further 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.

The Department works with stakeholders from representative bodies and the community and voluntary sector to facilitate commemorative initiatives under the programme.

The overall approach to planning and delivery of commemorations over the remainder of the Decade of Centenaries (2020–2023) will follow the principles set out in the Initial Statement by the Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations(2013) and the Second Phase Mission Statement of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations (2017) and be informed by the Guidance Report(2019) from this Group and consultation with the All-Party Consultation Group on Commemorations.

The objective of the State centenary commemoration programme for the years from 2020–2023 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.  A key objective of the initiative is to promote a deeper understanding of the significant events that took place during this period and recognise that the shared historical experience of those years gave rise to very different narratives and memories.  Realising this objective will require that the programme take account of sensitivities across communities in Northern Ireland and continue to recognise that very different perspectives persist on many of these historical 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 those who lost their lives during this period.
  • An 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 1920 to 1923 and all of those who lost their lives.

For further information, please see 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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