2023 Decade of Centenaries Programme launched

27 Mar 2023

The Irish Government has published (23 March) the programme of events for the final year of the Decade of Centenaries, presenting a range of engaging and accessible initiatives and projects to commemorate important centenaries occurring this year.

Marking the publication, the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, along with the Chair, Dr Maurice Manning and the Deputy Chair, Dr Martin Mansergh, of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations visited the National Library of Ireland, acknowledging the vital role played by the National Cultural Institutions in the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 from the outset of the Programme.

Dr Audrey Whitty, Director of the National Library of Ireland, said:

“The period 1912-1923 shaped Ireland forever. As Ireland’s memory keeper, the National Library of Ireland has played a vitally important role in initiating dialogue and engagement about our past and present. The powerful impact our collection continues to make, and the mobilisation of our national collection in a collaborative and inclusive manner to explore all histories of 100 years ago, serves to legitimise a range of narratives and voices often excluded. This imperative supports and demonstrates the strategic aims of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media that culture unites us, provides refuge, as well as space for us to contemplate the future we wish for our country and its relations with the world.”

State partners, local authorities, the National Cultural Institutions, institutions of learning, custodians of records, media and broadcasting organisations, artists and creative communities will continue their leading role in developing and delivering programme elements that support respectful public engagement with these centenaries and broader themes. Historical accuracy, academic integrity and archival discovery are again key tenets of the commemorative programme for this final year. Among the initiatives, there will also be continued focus on community-led commemoration, with €1.8 million investment in local authorities to support remembrance of local centenaries

The Programme is based on the guiding principles set out by the Expert Advisory Group (EAG) on Centenary Commemorations, and is informed by the views of the All-Party Consultation Group on Commemorations.

Marking the publication of the Programme, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said:

"Over the past 10 years, as a people and a nation, we have endeavoured to move from memory and contested history – often still deeply personal and deeply-felt – to mature reflection and historical exploration of the events that have shaped our country. It has not always been easy or uncontested; but we have striven to better understand, and to acknowledge that we may share a common history, but not always a common memory or understanding of events and their consequences.

"Thank you to the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations for their guidance throughout this period, the All-Party Consultation Group on Commemorations for their input, and also the various stakeholders, with particular thanks to the local authorities partnering with their communities. Together they have worked to ensure a meaningful, sensitive and nuanced programme to engage the public in this complex period of history. Community led commemoration continues to be a cornerstone of the State’s approach to commemoration.”

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, said:

“I would like to thank sincerely all of the stakeholders who have contributed so enthusiastically and thoughtfully throughout the Decade of Centenaries, and particularly those leading initiatives in this, our final year. Together, we have addressed the complexity of our history and the challenges linked to commemoration, and we will continue to do so this year as we navigate through this sensitive final phase, marking the emergence of an independent Irish State in the midst of a traumatic Civil War.

The full programme is available in Irish and English.