President and Taoiseach lead first State Ceremonial event to mark start of 2016 centenary year

The President, Michael D Higgins and the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD will today (Friday) lead the first State ceremonial event to mark the beginning of the centenary year, as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. A flag-raising ceremony will be held in Dublin Castle this lunchtime, while this evening the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, will host a special Peace Proms concert in the Convention Centre, featuring over 500 young performers from across the island of Ireland.
Throughout 2016, more than 40 State ceremonial events will be held as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, as well a growing list of more than 4,000 events nationwide, including 2,000 community-led initiatives and over 1,000 international events being held primarily through our embassy network.
Today’s flag-raising ceremony will take place in the Upper Yard of Dublin Castle. It will comprise of two main elements:
·         The reading, by the Defence Forces, of the Roll of Honour of the volunteers who lost their lives during the 1916 Rising
·         The raising of three flags which were flown on O’Connell Street during Easter Week 1916; the Irish Citizen Army Flag which flew from the Imperial Hotel and the Irish Republican flag and the National flag which were flown from the GPO.
The ceremony will conclude with the playing of the Reveille and the National Anthem. The event is open to the public, with music to be provided by the Military Band and RTÉ Cór na nÓg.
The Peace Proms, which is being hosted by Minister Humphreys, will kick off at 5pm this evening in the Convention Centre Dublin. The event is being held in partnership with the Cross Border Orchestra, the Irish Youth Choir, the Ulster Youth Choir and the 32 County Choir, which has been specially formed for this event. Attendees will include the Diplomatic Corps, the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations, 1916 relatives, elected representatives and a wide range of groups participating in the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.
The performance will be conducted by internationally acclaimed Greg Beardsell. Soloists include virtuoso violinist Patricia Treacy (Louth), acclaimed young vocalist Sibéal Ní Chasaide (Meath),  All-Ireland Champion uilleann piper Cormac Keegan (Kildare), Lambeg Drummer Willie Drennan (Ballymena) and world champion St. Colmcille Drum and Pipe Corps (Derry).
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “There are some moments in history when a seed is sown and the old order changes forever.  Easter 1916 was such a moment and, from the very early days of this State, it has been the moment we have chosen to commemorate as marking the birth of our sovereign Nation.  Today, we begin our Centenary Year with this special ceremonial event, which marks the start of our year of remembrance and reflection of these key events in Ireland’s history.  2016 belongs to everyone on this island and to our friends and families overseas.  It is an invitation to join us in remembering our past, reflecting on our achievements over the last 100 years and to re-imagine our Republic for future generations.”
Speaking in advance of the Peace Proms, Minister Humphreys said:
“This evening we are kicking off our centenary year with music and song from some of the brightest and best young musicians from across the country. The Peace Proms is the perfect launch pad for a year of commemoration and celebration, when Irish people at home and abroad will remember the events that led to the foundation of this State and look ambitiously to the future. I would like to thank all of the young people who are participating in today’s special event; they have put in hours of practicing to bring together this wonderful showcase.”
Notes to Editors:
The Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, led by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, T.D., is a year-long programme of activity to commemorate the events of the 1916 Rising, to reflect on our achievements over the last 100 years and to look towards Ireland’s future.
The programme includes seven strands: State Ceremonial; Historical Reflection; An Teanga Bheo/The Living Language; Youth and Imagination; Cultural Expression; Community Participation; Global and Diaspora.
Full details of the Ireland 2016 programme is available at www.ireland.ie
The Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland (CBOI) was established in 1995 as a peace initiative and is composed of over 100 exceptionally talented young musicians from all over Ireland – north and south. Over the past 20 years, the CBOI has played an important role in building and nurturing vital cross border and cross community relations.
The Orchestra has performed to sell out audiences at all major venues in Ireland, and many throughout the world including Carnegie Hall New York (2005 and 2014); the Royal Albert Hall, London; Boston Symphony Hall; Chicago Symphony Hall; and the Oriental Arts Centre Shanghai; the World Trade Expo, Shanghai where they won an international music award for “Outstanding Performance”.   www.cboi.ie

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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