50 Year Commemoration of 1916 Rising

On 10 April 1966 commemorations took place throughout Ireland in remembrance of those who lost their lives 50 years previously during the 1916 Easter Rising.

This programme comes from Kilmainham Gaol where many of the leaders of the rising were executed. President Éamon de Valera marks the occasion by laying a wreath in their memory.

The opening narration by Eamonn Andrews reads:

"This is the most hallowed ground on which the noble leaders of the Easter Rising were put to death by firing squad in the early days of May 1916. Their death was the confirmation of victory. Their death ensured for us the freedom and Independence that we enjoy. The simple cross with the Easter lily marks the spot on which each one of thirteen of our leaders stood to face the firing squad. The fourteenth, James Connolly, already wounded, was carried into this yard strapped into a chair and shot in that position at the end of the yard. A cross also marks the spot. Two others were denied the cold companionship of Kilmainham: Roger Casement was hanged in Pentonville and Thomas Kent was executed in his native Cork.

This was the stonebreakers' yard. Around the walls were cubicle type sheds, open at the front. Here the prisoners broke stones and made bricks, and here each morning in May the volley of the execution squad rang out. The nation honours them today, and in the name of the nation the President will shortly lay a wreath at the plaque which has been set in the centre of the Gaol wall in their memory."

This programme titled ‘1916 Jubilee Celebrations 1966 Kilmainham Gaol‘ was broadcast on 10 April 1966.

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