The highlight of Longford’s 1916 commemorations takes place this weekend. Tonight, Friday, Catríona Crowe, MRIA, Head of Special Collections at the National Archives of Ireland, will launch a map titled ‘Longford and the 1916 Rising’ in Longford Library at 7.30pm.
The map is a collaborative project between Longford Tourism Committee and Longford County Library, Heritage and Archives Services, and will highlight sites associated with the local men and women who served in the Rising.
At the same event, a 1916 Art Exhibition by local artists Breege Cassidy and Doris Crawford will be unveiled, featuring portraits of 1916 leaders, Longford participants and members of Cumann na mBan.
Tomorrow, Saturday will see the opening of Longford’s 1916 Remembrance Garden will take place on Great Water Street.
Later that day, County Longford Historical Society will unveil a plaque featuring the names of the Longford participants in the Rising in the presence of their relatives, as well as special guests from Longford's twin towns Noyal Chatillon-Sur-Seiche, Brittany and Sparks, Nevada.
On Saturday night at 8pm the Temperance Hall will be the venue for a céilí mór hosted by the County Longford Federation of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA).
On Sunday, April 24 next the day's events will begin with a commemorative Mass in St Mel’s Cathedral at 1pm.
At 2pm, the commemorative parade and family day will take place in Longford town.
The parade will begin at the Independence Memorial, near St Mel’s Cathedral, and finish at Connolly Barracks.
Speaking at last week's County Council meeting, Ms Carleton-Reynolds said the weekend had something for everyone.
“A flag-raising ceremony and the reading of the 1916 Proclamation will follow at the Barracks,” she added before pointing out that there would also be performances by local groups, including the Longford County Choir, the Innyside Singers and local schools.
“Displays of traditional crafts by the County Longford ICA and the best of Longford's arts and crafts will also be on display.
“The weekend will also feature a community arts project which has been undertaken by five community groups and five second-level schools in the county, facilitated by community artist, Tom Meskell, and called 'Lights in the Darkness'.”
The project will depict the ordinary men, women and children of 1916.
Tom is a grandson of Patrick Doyle, one of the Longford participants in the Rising and the five community groups involved in the project are as follows: Lus na Gréine, Granard; Ardagh Creativity Centre; the National Learning Network; Edgeworthstown Development Cooperative and Longford Women’s Link (LWL).
The artist also worked with the students of Moyne Community School, Templemichael College, Meán Scoil Mhuire, Mercy Secondary School Ballymahon and Árdscoil Phadraig, Granard.