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Flag ceremony marks first 1916 centenary commemoration

Flags flown on O'Connell Street during the 1916 Rising were raised at Dublin Castle yesterday. Picture by Mark Maxwell, Press Association
Ed Carty

RELATIVES of volunteers who died in the 1916 Rising were among those who attended a flag-raising ceremony at Dublin Castle on Friday - the first major event to mark the Rising's centenary.

Three flags which were flown on O'Connell Street during the rebellion were raised over the castle.

The names of all 78 volunteers who died, including the 16 executed men, were read out.

President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Joan Burton attended the ceremony, along with James Connolly and John Connolly, grandsons of James Connolly, one of seven signatories of the Proclamation.

Mr Kenny said the event marked a year of reflection and remembrance.

"There are some moments in history when a seed is sown and the old order changes forever," he said.

"Easter 1916 was such a moment and, from the very early days of this State, it has been the moment we have chosen to commemorate as marking the birth of our sovereign nation."

Mr Kenny added: "2016 belongs to everyone on this island and to our friends and families overseas.

"It is an invitation to join us in remembering our past, reflecting on our achievements over the last 100 years and to re-imagine our Republic for future generations."

The flags raised were the Irish Citizens Army Flag with the Starry Plough which was flown from the Imperial Hotel on O'Connell Street and the Irish Republican Flag and the Irish National Flag which were both flown from the GPO.

A minute's silence was held before the three flags were raised. The ceremony ended with the playing of the Irish national anthem.

On Friday evening, a 'Peace Proms' was held at the Convention Centre in Dublin.

The event was held in partnership with the Cross Border Orchestra, the Irish Youth Choir, the Ulster Youth Choir and the specially-formed 32 County Choir.

The soloists included Louth violinist Patricia Treacy, All-Ireland Champion uilleann piper Cormac Keegan, from Co Kildare, Lambeg drummer Willie Drennan from Ballymena, Co Antrim, and St Colmcille Drum and Pipe Corps from Derry.

Speaking before the event, arts minister Heather Humphreys said: "The Peace Proms is the perfect launch pad for a year of commemoration and celebration, when Irish people at home and abroad will remember the events that led to the foundation of this State and look ambitiously to the future".

Throughout 2016, more than 40 State ceremonial events will be held as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.

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