Students of Glenart College are busy planning their commemoration of Easter 1916 ‘The Spirit of 1916 Past, Present and Future’ which takes place on Friday April 22nd. The project takes place within the framework of the strands which embrace ‘Ireland 2016’ nationally.
This truly is a community endeavour. A booklet is being produced through the weekly Yellow Flag meetings in association with KWETB Youth Services from the Vault, featuring stories and anecdotes from the era as well as historical facts about Arklow’s involvement in the Rising. Place names in Arklow associated with the Rising also feature, including Connolly Street, Mellows Ave, Griffith Street, Rory O’ Connor’s Place and Pearse Terrace amongst others. The core planning committee includes business people from the town as well as students, teachers, parents and local historians. The school choir is busy practising songs from 100 years ago and menus are being drawn up based on foods from the era. Poetry and Art competitions are also under way.
On 11th January 2016 the principal Andy Bolger and representatives from the committee attended the inauguration of Wicklow County Council’s 1916-2016 Programme held in County Buildings in Wicklow Town. This was the launching pad for all activities to take place across the county.
Teacher Marie Cantwell has written a play entitled ‘Children Rising’ and is currently rehearsing with 16 student volunteers. Set in Dublin in Easter 1916 the play gives a chilling insight into how the Rising impacted on ordinary civilians’ lives particularly those of children.
Already two trips have taken place with the aim of students arming themselves with as much information as possible- enabling them to better take ownership of the school event in April. Initially a trip took place to Leinster House in December 2015 where copies of the original proclamation were received. More recently a trip to Dublin for a 1916 walking tour of the city was held, followed by an exploratory visit to Glasnevin interactive museum and cemetery. Both events providing a feast of information and historical accounts for students to use in their planning and research.
We are thankful to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for funding us through Wicklow County Council and to our partners in KWETB for inspiration and information. Invitations will be going out soon. We look forward to celebrating this most important event which marks the birth of our Irish Republic.