PHOTO: Women who played key roles in the Easter Rising: Countess Constance Markievicz (l. to r.), Elizabeth O’Farrell, and Dr. Kathleen Lynn. Courtesy of Queens College
By Michael V. Cusenza
On April 24, 1916, frustrated members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Irish Citizen Army, proud natives seeking an end to British rule, launched an armed insurrection in Dublin, seizing critical locations like the General Post Office and proclaiming an independent Irish Republic.
It lasted for six days, until the stronger, better-equipped British Army forced an unconditional surrender on April 29, ending the grassroots siege and capping casualties at nearly 500.
This has become known as the Easter Rising, or Easter Rebellion, and its 100th anniversary is being celebrated this year across the Emerald Isle and its adopted counties in the Empire State.
The Irish Studies Program at Queens College has organized a series of free events on Wednesday, April 20, to help mark the seminal occasion.
At 5:30 p.m., the exhibit “A Nation Rising: The 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Irish Rebellion,” opens and will be on view through June 20 in the Barham Rotunda Gallery (3rd floor) of the Benjamin Rosenthal Library on the school’s Flushing campus. Books, newspaper articles, maps, flags, letters, historical documents, poetry excerpts, song lyrics and other items related to the Rising will be on display.
Among the photos to be displayed are those that depict some of the women involved in the Rebellion, including Countess Constance Markievicz, Elizabeth O’Farrell and Dr. Kathleen Lynn.
The exhibition is curated by Eileen Colleran Sprague and Patricia McCloskey, with the assistance of Mary Glynn of the college’s Art Library, and Professor Matthew Greco and Linda Jackson of the Art Department.
And from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in Room 230 (Library Auditorium), award-winning singer Kevin Westley will present a multimedia production on the Easter Rising and its aftermath. Westley, who broadcasts an Irish music program on Saturdays from 5 to 8 p.m. from Hofstra University, will cover many historical aspects of the Rebellion, including the role of women who joined the fight. The audience will hear recordings of related songs, and Westley will also sing verses of the early Irish political ballad “The Foggy Dew,” which celebrates the heroism of the leaders of the Easter Rising, who were each executed for their roles. Westley is also scheduled to perform a dramatic reading of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic.
“The library exhibit represents the efforts of the Queens College Irish Studies Program to pay tribute to a pivotal time in the history of Ireland,” said Colleran Sprague.