Cork will be the central focus for a series of national events this year to commemorate the start of the country’s battle for independence.
These events will include the deaths of two of the city’s Lord Mayors Tomás MacCurtáin (March 1920) and Terence MacSwiney (October); the Kilmichael Ambush (November) and the burning of Cork City (December).
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, said the government would provide €1m towards the Cork commemorations this year, in addition to money which will be spent by the city and county councils.
She made the announcement in City Hall, pointing out that it was a fitting venue considering the fate the two first citizens and the fact the original building was burned by British forces.
“I want to appeal to all the people of Ireland to take this opportunity to engage with the events of 1920. It was a seminal year in our history. I encourage everyone to learn more about it and to take the time to reflect on what happened,” she said.
Deputy Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Susan McCarthy, pointed out that tomorrow marks the anniversary of the start of the IRA offensive in Cork when they attacked the RIC barracks in Carrigtwohill.
“From these early shots the intensity of the War of Independence rapidly accelerated,” she said.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan, welcomed members of the MacCurtáin and MacSwiney families to the event in City Hall and pointed out that the latter’s death on hunger strike in Brixton prison made international headlines.
He said the city council will hold a special meeting on January 30 to mark 100 years to the day that the first Republican-controlled city council met.
Other significant commemorations around the rest of the country will include the 1920 local elections (January and June), the Connaught Rangers Mutiny (June), the Burning of Balbriggan (September), Bloody Sunday in Croke Park (November), and the execution of Kevin Barry (November).
Details of events planned throughout the year will appear on http://www.decadeofcentenaries.com and on both local authority websites as they are finalised.