So, it is 2016 and all you read and hear in news and newspapers about is 1916. Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire, the libraries, RTE, all newspapers and radio and TV stations are constantly referring to it and if it wasn’t for the speculations about the date for the next general elections, they would probably probably give it even more airtime and print centimetres. …and even the Dublin Event Guide (for Free Events) is filled with (free!) events that make a big story about this year a long long time ago.
So what is this 1916 thing?
If you had hoped you will get through 2016 without having to think about it, I have no good news for you. Actually, my recommendation is that you do read a little about it and maybe go to one or two (or more of the talks) so that you understand what and why people make such a big issue about it.
The event is big in Irish History and if you are not from Ireland, you might be surprised when you find out that it was a total failure and still it is such a big thing 100 years later. It was an attempt to get rid of the British occupiers, but it was badly planned and had no much support in the normal Irish population and after a few days of fighting and a LOT of deaths on both sides, the Irish fighters surrendered.
So we are celebrating this failure in 2016? No, not exactly! We are commemorating! (A small difference.) And the importance of the event comes from what came from it not what it was in 1916. Put in simple terms, you could say that it was the start of what resulted in Ireland’s Independence from Britain. So without the failure in 1916, Ireland possibly would have never (or much later) become a Republic.
The fuzz that is made about 1916 this year might appear to be unproportionally big and you could think that more fuzz should be made about the SUCCESSFUL steps to independence, but when people die for an idea, then this often leads to a certain heroification and that will be a more or less strong component of this year’s commemorations.
By the way: Not everyone agrees fully with that heroification and you might find some talks that look at the role of the leaders of the Rising in a slightly more critical way.
So, inform yourself about this piece of history of the country you live in, so that you can form your own informed opinion about the events this year.
A good starting point for finding out more is via this Google driven tour