NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
When the Celtic League gathered in Dublin for its AGM this year in April, despite it being twelve months away, the centenary of the Easter Rising was very much in everyone’s mind.
The building we met in (Conradh na Gaeilge in Harcourt Street ) was the old HQ of Sinn Fein and as part of the social interaction for delegates after the business sessions were over the focus was very much on the history of the Rising.
The Irish branch had arranged a walking tour of various historically significant sites in central Dublin. Separately the DOI (who was leaving on the Sunday) went on a whistle-stop tour of Arbour Hill, Collins Barracks and Kilmainhaim Jail.
Before the conference concluded its business despite the AGM being due to go in rotation to another Celtic country it was agreed that in view of the significance of 1916 the next AGM would also take place in Ireland.
Throughout this year various events celebrating the Rising are due to be rolled-out.
I reported recently on a officially sponsored documentary which will be narrated by Liam Neeson which is due to be simulcasted next year.
In addition there is also a quite distinct feature film, ‘The Rising’, which if the advance promotion is anything to go by should be a major cinematographic milestone in the celebration of Easter 1916.
Details of the new film and also newly released archive Dublin Metropolitan Police files collated on the leaders of the Rising are set out below. I am sure all will find the links with the two stories interesting:
“1) Film: ‘The Rising Film’
The Rising will be the first full-length motion picture about the most defining historical event in twentieth century Ireland.
In 1916, a small rebellion took place to free Ireland from centuries of oppressive imperial rule. It was known as the ‘Easter Rising’.
The Rising looks at events leading to and including the rebellion and may be seen as the prequel to the films ‘Michael Collins’ and ‘The Wind that shakes the Barley’. (These films deal with the later events of the War of Independence and the civil war in Ireland.) It centres on Seán MacDiarmada, the hero to Michael Collins and mastermind of the Easter Rising. He was the last of the leaders to be executed, aged 33, alongside James Connolly. On the eve of his execution, in his last letter, he wrote, “I feel happiness the like of which I never experienced in my life before …… I die that the Irish Nation might live.” Before Michael Collins, there was Seán MacDiarmada.
Supported by Northern Ireland Screen and Leitrim County Council, this movie has been in development since 2012. It is produced by Kevin McCann (The Boys of St.Columbs, Volkswagen Joe)
The movie will be released to a global cinema audience in 2016, the centenary year of the Easter Rising.
Secret police files that detailed surveillance on the leaders of the Easter Rising have been digitised and made public for the first time.
Compiled by the Dublin Metropolitan Police, the daily files show how officers monitored the movements of over 230 men including Seán MacDiarmada, Thomas Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh, and Eoin MacNeill.
Previously held in the National Archives, before now the files have been available only to specialist scholars.
Amongst the notes are detailed movements of the men including an entry for June 1, 1915 when Eoin MacNeill, the founder of the Irish Volunteers, was seen visiting Tom Clarke, one of the seven signatories of the Proclamation, at his shop on Parnell Street.
Despite the extensive surveillance, at the time the Rising was regarded as a massive failure of intelligence.
Release of the files is just of a range of initiatives being spearheaded as part of the Ireland 2016 plans – the Irish government’s commemorative programme to mark the Easter Rising.
The files will be released in chronological order to correspond with what happened each day 100 years ago.
See more at the Creative Centenaries website.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
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