Last words of Pearse are a challenge for generations

Posted By: April 25, 2016

Ed Carty. Irish News (Belfast). Monday, April 25, 2016

One of Ireland’s most senior clergymen has said the last words of Padraig Pearse should be a challenge to every generation.

As thousands turned out across the country to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, President Michael D Higgins led the annual inter-faith commemorations at Arbour Hill in Dublin.

A wreath in honour of the rebel leaders was laid in the cemetery where 14 of them are buried.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin spoke at the religious service in the Church of the Sacred Heart and urged people to seize the ideals of the Proclamation.

“As Irish men and Irish women we are called still today never to betray the ideals which inspired these who took part in the 1916 Rising or to let those ideals be betrayed or watered down through our cynicism or mediocrity,” the senior cleric said.

Archbishop Martin also said the rebels were being remembered for their nobility and their courage.

“But we remember them also as men and women of human emotion and sensitivity, poets and writers, dreamers and idealists, but also simply as individual unique talented human beings,” he said.

Among the heirlooms used in the service was the chalice and the paten used at Joseph Mary Plunkett and Grace Gifford’s wedding in Kilmainham seven hours before his execution.

The archbishop also marked the role of priests who gave the last rites to the executed rebels.

He said one chaplain graphically recalled how their bodies arrived in Arbour Hill “still warm and dripping with blood” before being “hurriedly buried into an open common grave”.

In Dublin thousands took to the streets for the Reclaim 1916 parade and concert at the GPO.

Organisers from trade unions, community groups and equal rights organisations described it as a citizens’ initiative as they marched from Merrion Square across the Liffey to O’Connell Street.

Elsewhere, in official state events, wreaths were laid at Cahill’s Monument in Tralee and the 1916 Commemoration Monument in Limerick city.

In Sligo a civic reception was held for descendants of local families involved in the Rising.