This Sunday marks the hundredth Comóradh Éirí Amach na Cásca, or the anniversary of the Easter Rising. (For those interested in the history of the 1916 Easter Rising, see page 6 in this paper for the history of the rebellion.) To commemorate this Centennial, events are being held in Ireland and around the world by people who feel a connection to their Irish heritage.
“Without the involvement of the Irish in America, the rebellion would never have happened. Even in the proclamation when [Patrick] Pearse took over the General Post Office and sandbagged and busted out the windows, came out and he read the proclamation,” said Ken O’Malley. “There were a bunch of people very interested in what was going on here, but they were just a bunch of raggedy locals. But he read the proclamation of independence and the first three words are, ‘Irishmen and Irishwomen,’ meaning that he was talking about equality for everybody back then. And as you go on reading the proclamation, it mentions ‘our friends in America,’ so America is the only other country mentioned in the proclamation.”
O’Malley is the producer and director of L.A.’s biggest commemoration event, being held on Sunday at St. Cornelius Catholic Church in Long Beach. The ceremony will consist of a presentation, which will last about an hour, O’Malley said, by M. Finbar Hill, Hon. Consul General of Ireland and Regional Bishop David O’Connell of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. There will be a narration by Dr. Philip O’Carroll, a neurosurgeon from Newport Beach originally from Coley, County Kerry in Ireland, as well as actors reading quotations from the leaders of the rebellion. An actress will be reading poetry by Pearse, playing the role of his mother reading poems that he wrote. O’Malley himself, a well-known Irish musician, will be singing several songs throughout the event, as will An Cor Gaelach, the Irish choir from the Celtic Art Center and the church’s resident Samoan choir.
Many events have already been held around the world since Easter several weeks ago. The commemoration was held on Easter, rather than on the date it actually started. In Dublin, the annual tradition of a military parade was held on March 27, the date on which Easter fell this year.
“I was a member of the Irish Navy when I was young and I marched in that parade a long time ago, 1972 or 1973, before I came to America,” O’Malley said. “They did a lot of things on that weekend, all kinds of memorials and commemorations, but the actual date is this Sunday [April 24].”
Another aspect of note about the upcoming event, O’Malley said, will be Father Donal Burke, a Capuchin priest, who will read from a diary of a Capuchin priest named Aloysius who was there during the rebellion, who helped in treating the wounded on both sides and also heard confessions of some of the leaders before they were executed, following the surrender. Those in Long Beach on Sunday will be able to hear from the diary because the Capuchin priests kept it. Father Burke will be coming from northern California with the diary specifically for this event.
Preceding the presentation, the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums will entertain guests and after there will be a Gaelic mass celebrated by five priests and the Bishop. After the mass, there will be a reception in the church hall that will include refreshments, Guinness, whiskey, Bailey’s, wine, coffee, sandwiches and more, and feature music by Rattle the Knee and dancers from the Cleary Irish Dance School.
In addition, CV Weekly can be first to report that the first international online Irish television station, IrishTV.ie, will begin its coverage in L.A. with this Easter Rising commemoration event and O’Malley will be the on-air personality. Its motto of “Local Stories, Global Audience” covers Irish interest stories from around the world with crews in various cities in multiple countries.
“I’ve got many hats to wear this Sunday, but all I can do is my best,” O’Malley said.
For more information and to RSVP to the event, visit kenomalley.com.