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Philly Irish planning major 1916 commemoration

Philadelphia’s memorial to the Great Hunger and Irish immigration

By Irish Echo Staff

All across Irish America, plans are well advanced to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

This is no less the case in Philadelphia, a city that played a pivotal role in Irish America’s involvement in both the planning and aiding of the Easter rebellion, and which, of course, is a cradle of America’s independence.

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Bob Dougherty, co-chairman of Philadelphia’s Irish Easter Rising Centennial Commemoration Committee, the group that is planning the Philadelphia commemoration, said that the plans are focused on the weekend of April 24th, which is exactly a hundred years based on the month and date, and not when Easter falls.

“We will assemble at the Irish Memorial on April 24th at 10 a.m. and we will raise the flag of the Republic as they did a hundred years ago at the GPO,” said Dougherty.

“We chose the memorial for it represents the exiled children mentioned in the Proclamation,” Dougherty said of the bronze memorial which depicts Famine Irish immigrants arriving in Philadelphia.

“We will then parade from 2nd and Chestnut to Independence Hall and the granddaughter of the great Irish hero and Clan na Gael member, Joseph McGarrity, will read the Proclamation, just as our forefathers did two hundred and forty years ago when they read the Declaration of Independence in defiance of British rule,” Dougherty added.

Dougherty said he viewed the Declaration of Independence as the inspiration behind the spirit of the Proclamation, that spirit being a link drawing Philadelphia and Ireland closer together over the centuries.

Dougherty said that following the reading of the Proclamation there would be a speech from Mayor James Kenney and the ringing of a ceremonial bell beside the Liberty Bell.

The bell would ring sixteen times in memory of the executed leaders of the Rising.

“We in Philadelphia are proud of the Irish contribution to the birthplace of America, and the contribution of Irish America to a United Ireland, both then and now,” said Dougherty.

“Our committee is formed by almost every Irish organization including the Clan, the AOH and other societies and is backed by members of Congress, state representatives, the city council and the mayor.”
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