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Riveting, Sold Out Events Mark Pittsburgh’s 1916 Rising Commemoration

Pittsburgh’s Commemoration Weekend (April 15-17, 2016) to mark the 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising was  a wall-to-wall success with each of the three paid events a sellout and nearly 1,000 attending the Pittsburgh GAA Irish football and hurling event on Saturday afternoon.

Keynote speaker Tim Pat Coogan (center) with event co-chairs Sarah McAuliffe-Bellin and Jim Green

The weekend that featured four distinct anniversary events was planned and hosted by the Pittsburgh 1916 Easter Rising Committee, formed to plan the region’s commemoration of the Centenary of the keystone event to establish what is known as the Republic of Ireland.

Pittsburgh’s commemoration took place one week before the actual anniversary of the Easter Rising, which is being observed throughout Ireland, the U.S., and around the world.

In Pittsburgh on Friday, more than 200 people attended an evening of history, performance and reflection.  AOH Pennsylvania State Historian and a member of Pittsburgh AOH Division 32 Dan Taylor set the stage with a powerful overview of the Irish history that led up to 1916.  A select group of performers from the Pittsburgh Irish Classical Theatre (PICT) followed with readings and songs of the revolution – including a mesmerizing performance of Foggy Dew, to the inspirational reading of Pearse’s oration of 1915, and a show-stopping reading of “Easter, 1916” from William Butler Yeats.

A special historical and educational exhibit surrounded the Grand Hall at The Priory on Pittsburgh’s North Shore throughout the three-day event.

On Saturday, close to 1,000 spectators came out to Cupples Stadium on Pittsburgh’s South Side as the Pittsburgh Gaelic Athletic Association (PGAA) hosted a special Irish football and hurling event, which featured the Pittsburgh Banshees Ladies Football team, and the Pittsburgh Pucas Men’s Hurling team.  It also featured an exhibition game between the Pittsburgh Celtics Men’s Football team and the Cleveland GAA.

Saturday evening, the Pittsburgh Céili Club hosted a sold-out event in Lawrenceville where over 200 guests explored the full joy and richness of Irish culture through Irish music, céili dancing, and socializing.  The event featured traditional Irish music by local seisún musicians, ballads from Jim Lamb and a performance by the Shovlin Academy of Irish Dance.

On Sunday afternoon, keynote speaker, and renowned Irish author and historian Tim Pat Coogan captivated the sold out crowd of over 200 at the Grand Hall with the compelling retelling of Irish history over the past 100 years, accented by stories and insights involving some well-known, and some lesser known figures who shaped the Republic of Ireland.

On Sunday afternoon, a group of high school and middle school students received awards and recognition as a result of their participation in a special art, essay and poetry contest centered on the 1916 Rising.

Pittsburgh Remembers the Proclamation of Independence

Members of the Irish diaspora from Pittsburgh recite the Proclamation of Independence read on the steps of the GPO at the outset of the 1916 Rising, setting in course events that would lead to the establishment of the Republic of Ireland as we know it today. This reading was done in the spirit of best wishes to Ireland on this important Centenary and in remembrance.

RIA Provides Pittsburgh Committee with Powerful Set of Images from 1916

Our thanks to the Royal Irish Academy for providing us with 23 powerful photos that were taken in the weeks following the Rising. These photographs were taken by W. J. Westropp in May and July 1916. We received special permission to feature them as part of our own efforts to educate and raise awareness of the Rising in Irish history. Please visit our online gallery for these and other photos.  Check them out in the Gallery by clicking the tab at the top right corner of this page, or by clicking here.

Pittsburgh 1916 Easter Rising Committee to Host Kick-off Event August 1st

June 29, 2015 – On August 1st, the Pittsburgh 1916 Easter Rising Committee will host its first event in a series that will lead up to the 2016 centenary commemoration activities.  Starting at 6 p.m., on Saturday, August 1st in St. Patrick’s Church Courtyard (17th Street and Liberty Avenue) in the Strip District, the Committee will host a recreation of Padraig Pearse’s famous oration at the graveside of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.

This is widely believed to be the event that ultimately led to the Rising.

Following the brief re-enactment, a Wake will follow at Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle.

The Committee will conduct several activities leading up to a three-day event anticipated for April 2016 the month of the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising, which led to the formation of the Irish Republic.

Pittsburgh 1916 Easter Rising Committee Forms to Commemorate Centenary

June 22, 2015 – In early 2015, a broad cross-section of individuals and organizations from throughout Western Pennsylvania came together to form the Pittsburgh 1916 Easter Rising Committee to plan and conduct the region’s commemoration activities of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland.  These activities will follow the theme: Easter 1916: Pittsburgh Remembers.

The Easter Rising is largely regarded as the pivotal event that led to Ireland’s War for Independence, and ultimately, the establishment of what we now recognize as the Republic of Ireland.

While Easter 1916: Pittsburgh Remembers is in the early stages of planning, it is expected to center on a three-day event in April 2016 featuring educational, cultural, entertainment, social and interactive events.

Plans are for a Friday evening event that will feature historical and dramatic presentations centered on the Easter Rising and related events; theatrical  interpretations and a performance from some members of the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre (PICT); an afternoon of Irish football and hurling as hosted by the Pittsburgh Gaelic Athletic Association; a Saturday evening social event featuring authentic Irish music and dance featuring the Pittsburgh Ceili Club; and a Sunday luncheon and panel discussion where experts will engage in discourse on topics relevant to the Easter Rising and its place in Irish history.

As additional details and other activities are planned, the Committee will announce them.  Pittsburgh is one of many cities around the globe that will take part in the Centenary commemoration of the Easter Rising and other historic events that have shaped Ireland over the past 100 years.