Shane Stephens, The Consulate General of Ireland in Atlanta, worked with many local venues to create a series of events in commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising.

1916 Easter Rising: Atlanta events to commemorate 100th anniversary

Several upcoming events in Atlanta will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, the rebellion against British rule that took place in Ireland.

“What began as a small uprising in the center of Dublin on Easter Monday led to the birth of our Sovereign Nation,” Shane Stephens, Ireland’s Consul General in Atlanta, said.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will recognize the anniversary with a series of events in numerous American cities including New York, Boston, Austin and Atlanta.

Stephens said the events are designed to help people with Irish roots celebrate their culture, but also to encourage others to be "friends of Ireland.”

“And not just on St. Patrick’s Day,” he said.

In one instance, this means embracing Atlanta’s African-American community.

“Here in Atlanta it’s natural to draw on the African-American experience because it is a very important black city,” he said.

On March 12 a “We Have Risen” presentation will focus on the links between the African-American and Irish freedom protests.

For example, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former Irish politician John Hume was inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. “We Shall Overcome,” a key protest song in the Civil Rights Movement was also sung during the civil rights movement in Ireland, according to Stephens.  

The upcoming events aren’t just looking back at Ireland’s past, however.

“It is an opportunity for people to look back at the most important moment in Irish history,” Stephens said. “It’s also an opportunity to look at what Ireland should be doing in the future.”

Here is a list of the events that will take place in Atlanta:

1916 Centenary Concert

The Willis Clan and John Doyle will perform during The Consulate General of Ireland’s “1916 Centenary Concert.” Gateway Performance Productions will also preview “We Have Risen.” This event will show the similarities and the links between the African-American and Irish civil rights movements.

Stephens said this event will also be a great time for Georgia Tech students to get a “taste of Ireland” before the University’s football team and fans travel to Dublin for a game against Boston College on Sept. 3.

If You Go: 4 p.m. March 6. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Dr., Atlanta. Cost: $10 (adults; parking included), free (children under 18 years old). 404-894-9600.

We Have Risen

The presentation is “a commemoration of the Irish journey to freedom in drama, dance and song with [a] historic African-American dimension,” according to a press release. 

If You Go: 6 p.m. March 12. Masonic Center Auditorium, 1690 Peachtree Street, Atlanta. Cost: free.  

Roy Foster

Professor and Irish historian Roy Foster will deliver the Southern regional meeting of the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS) keynote address on April 14 at Georgia State University. The speech will also serve as the College of Arts and Sciences Plummer Lecture. The Hellen Ingram Plummer Lecture is an annual endowed lecture that features people who have made notable contributions within their fields and to society.

If You Go: 5 p.m. April 14. Speakers Auditorium, Student Center Building, Georgia State University, 44 Courtland Street, Atlanta. Cost: free.

Roisin Higgins

Following Roy Foster’s speech, social and cultural history professor Roisin Higgins will deliver a plenary address on the “politics of commemoration” at Georgia State University on April 15.

If You Go: 2 p.m. April 15. Speakers Auditorium, Student Center Building, Georgia State University, 44 Courtland Street, Atlanta. Cost: free.

Screening of Notre Dame’s “1916 – The Irish Rebellion”

Notre Dame produced “1916 – The Irish Rebellion” in 2015 to remember the Easter Rising. The film is narrated by Liam Neeson. A local screening of the film will take place on March 15 at Plaza Theatre.

If You Go: 7 p.m. April 15. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta. Cost: free

“The Plough and the Stars”

Aris Theatre will present a staged reading of “The Plough and the Stars” on March 26 and 27. The play was created by Irish writer Sean O’Casey. It is set just before and during the Easter Rebellion.

If You Go: 7:30 p.m. April 26 – 27. The Morris and Rae Frank Theatre, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Cost: $10. 404-692-0053.

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