A public lecture on Friday, 22nd January – 1916: New Perspectives; Old Rows – by Professor Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Modern Irish History at University College, Dublin, will be the first of a series of events planned by the Church of Ireland in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross to mark 2016, the centenary year of events in 1916.
By kind permission of University College Cork, this Diocesan event will be held in the Aula Maxima at UCC at 7.30 p.m. on Friday, 22nd January, and is open to the public. Bishop Paul Colton will chair the event which will be introduced by the President of UCC, Dr Michael Murphy. In addition to Professor Ferriter, other speakers will be Dr John Borgonovo (Lecturer in History at UCC) and Professor John A. Murphy (Professor Emeritus at UCC).
The programme for the centenary year has been organised jointly by the Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, and a group at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, led by the Dean of Cork, the Very Reverend Nigel Dunne, including local historian, Dr Alicia St Leger, and the writer Mary Leland.
Announcing the programme, Bishop Colton said:
I remember well the commemorations in 1966 when I was a primary school child in St Luke’s National School in Douglas, Cork. Now as an adult I am pleased to publicise the core elements of the Cork, Cloyne and Ross commemorations for the coming year, 2016. I am most grateful to the Dean of Cork, the Very Reverend Nigel Dunne and his team for their work on this.
Truth be told, as we know, many (probably most) members of the Church of Ireland in 1916 greeted the events of that Easter with dismay. Equally, I know Church of Ireland families today who can point to their ancestors’ involvement on the Irish side, so to speak, of the Easter Rising and the subsequent journey towards Irish independence. Many Church of Ireland families have ancestors who were caught up in the other significant events of that year, in the First World War and notably, the Battle of the Somme. Today, of course, there are numerous Irish people who are more recently arrived on these shores and they are not caught up in the question of ‘which side were my people on?’ at all.
I hope that our national commemorations of 1916 will take account of this diversity, and will, above all else help us to understand the many complex strands of our Irish history better. Not only that, the commemorations are an opportunity to reflect on the sort of country we have become and are still becoming today.
The other events in the Diocesan calendar for the centenary year include: a Civic Eucharist in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral on St Patrick’s Day; the Choral Eucharist in the Cathedral on Sunday 17th April using the liturgical music of Séan Ó Riada, sung by Cór Cúil Aodha, conducted by Peadar Ó Riada. The centenary of the Battle of the Somme, a major event of 1916 affecting many Irish people also, will be commemorated at a special Ecumenical Service on Friday, 1st July. In the autumn, on Thursday, 10th November, in a former Church of Ireland church – Triskel Christchurch – the final formal event of the programme will be held. It will be entitled History Through the Lens of Literature, and the keynote speaker will be Professor Gerald Dawe (Professor of English, T.C.D.) and author – Of War and War’s Alarms. In addition, many parishes will, at some appropriate stage, use the special liturgy to commemorate the Easter Rising provided by the Church of Ireland’s Liturgical Advisory Committee.
Speaking about the 2016 programme, the Very Reverend Nigel Dunne, Dean of Cork, said:
I think it is very important that the diversity of centenaries taking place this year are marked in an open and honest way. The Ireland of 1916 was more complex than many think and the Cathedral is deeply committed to not only marking these anniversaries but also exploring all that is good and true in our culture, past and present and to promoting all that makes for peace and justice at home and abroad. Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral has been working closely with the Bishop and wider diocese in planning what we hope will be a comprehensive and positive programme of events and services that will be attended by people from all over the city and county.
The poster announcing the events is below and a programme leaflet will be available through parishes and the Diocesan Office shortly.