On Wednesday 18 October 2017 Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht launched Centenary, a book commissioned to document the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme at home and abroad. Centenary was edited by Ronan McGreevy, of The Irish Times.
Centenary documents how 1916 was remembered last year at home and abroad and includes significant commemorative events in chronological order. Each chapter includes testimonies from some of those involved in the events. The publication shows the breadth of events right across Ireland which took place to mark this pivotal moment in Irish history. It also includes insights into the commemoration of the First World War, and in particular the Battle of the Somme. In particular it explores how the commemorative events last year generated and benefited from enormous public interest, with over 3,500 events taking place across the country and abroad.
Speaking at the event Minister Humphreys said ‘I was determined from the outset that 2016 would be a year for everyone – I wanted to encourage and facilitate commemorative events which were inclusive and respectful of all narratives. ‘Centenary’ is a great snapshot of 2016. It shows how people really engaged with our history and got involved at every level, whether it was community based events, the wonderful exhibitions in our National Cultural Institutions or the many State commemorative events over Easter Weekend. I would like to thank Ronan McGreevy for taking on such a mammoth task, my own Department and the Royal Irish Academy who worked so hard to produce this publication and indeed the Editorial Advisory Board led by Dr. Maurice Manning who helped steer the publication’. The book was developed with the assistance of the Royal Irish Academy.
Also speaking at the event, Ronan McGreevy said ‘last year’s commemorations demonstrated that Irish people are proud of this country’s status as an independent nation. All of us involved in this book were conscious of the honour and the responsibility to produce something worthy of a wonderful year. We were fortunate in having at our disposal the work of so many talented photographers and artists. They told the story. The words supply the context. Artists and local communities were trusted to deliver the appropriate response and the results are evident in this book’.
A copy of Centenary is being provided to each public library (333) in the State, and it is available to purchase for €25 in bookshops nation-wide from 19 October 2017.