The Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, published online a significant Decade of Centenaries Programme for 2022.
The Government allocated €5 million to the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, to support the delivery of the cross-governmental commemorative programme this year – maintaining funding levels on par with last year’s allocation. State partners and other organisations are also contributing funding from their own resources to support initiatives and programming.
The significant centenaries arising this year include:
- The foundation of the State. In accordance with the guidance of the Expert Advisory Group, this will be remembered as a process rather than a singular event and comprises two key centenary moments:
– The Handover of Dublin Castle – events, including a State commemoration on 16th January were held to mark this centenary; and
– The formal coming into being of the Irish Free State, December 2022
- The Civil War
- The destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland at the Four Courts, in the opening engagement of the Civil War. The Beyond 2022|Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury will be launched leading up to this centenary on 30th June 2022.
- The foundation of various institutions of the Irish Free State
The programme comprises four thematic strands; State Ceremonial, Historical Exploration, Community and Creative Imagination. State partners, local authorities, the national cultural institutions, institutions of learning, custodians of records, media and broadcasting organisations, artists and creative communities, will continue to have a leading role in curating initiatives to support respectful, inclusive and meaningful public engagement with these centenaries and associated themes.
Historical accuracy, academic integrity and archival discovery will continue to be key tenets underpinning the programme for the forthcoming period of commemorations. The programme aims to create interesting and imaginative opportunities that encourage as many people as possible to consider our shared history, in all of its complexity, in a respectful and supportive environment.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Taoiseach, Micheál Martin reflected, “2022 will be an important, and sensitive year for commemorations as we remember the centenary of the onset of the Civil War in June. The objective of the Decade of Centenaries Programme is to provide opportunities for respectful and meaningful engagement from everyone who has an interest in this period, and to provide ways in which citizens of all ages can engage in our shared history.”
“The State’s approach to commemorating this final period of centenaries will, at all times, be grounded in the guiding principles laid down by the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations and the respectful and authentic ethos, which is core to the Decade of Centenaries Programme.”
The Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar said, “2022 is a crucial year in the decade of centenaries. We will mark 100 years since the foundation of the State, the deaths of Michael Collins, Arthur Griffith and Cathal Brugha, the Treaty Election and the outbreak of the Civil War. We will do this in a way that is sensitive, inclusive and authentic, in a way that will provoke thought and discussion without ever seeking to challenge anyone’s loyalties.”
“Through a variety of different lenses, for example poetry and podcasts, local research projects and art exhibitions, we are able to look in new ways at the birth of the State and the triumphs as well as the traumas of that period. In this way the State, our cultural and educational institutions, and our communities can share in this act of respectful remembrance and commemoration, making a strong statement about the Ireland of today as well as about our past.”
Speaking, Minister Martin said, “this remarkable programme announced today is a collaborative effort right across Government, comprising national and local partnerships, and contributions from so many arts and cultural groups and institutions of learning. 2022 presents a timely opportunity for us as a mature people to reflect on some of the challenging centenaries and themes associated with 1922 including a still painful civil war. We can look at these events with fresh eyes, supported by a wealth of scholarship and a rich tapestry of resources – one of the great legacies of the Decade of Centenaries Programme.”
Dr Maurice Manning, Chair of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations added, “throughout the Decade of Centenaries, the Irish people have shown us very clearly how they would like these events to be remembered – with honesty, sincerity, respect, and factual analysis. People want to be able to consider the information and evidence for the historical events that occurred and come to their own conclusions. The 2022 programme comprises a wealth of scholarship, new research, and the opening up of national and local archives. These continue to be indispensable supports for everyone as they navigate their own personal commemorative paths. In all that we do, we each have a responsibility to safeguard the open, inclusive, generous, and collaborative spirit of commemorations that has so successfully flourished over the past years.”
The commemorative programme for 2022 comprises a rich diversity of initiatives – each one carefully curated to create a space where people can feel free to engage with their history, reflecting on the significance and legacy of the events that took place a century ago. New partnerships and activities will provide opportunities to explore and reflect on the centenary moments and related themes.
The programme is grounded in the guiding principles and advice of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations. The All-Party Consultation Group on Commemorations, which is chaired by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, was also consulted in its development.
The programme is a living document and will be further updated as new initiatives and projects are confirmed. Programme highlights include:
- A new partnership with the Arts Council (Art: 2023) will be launched in the coming weeks to support a major new artistic commissioning programme by artists from all genres and backgrounds. A scheme of engagement with national arts and civic bodies will support creative practitioners in responding to the key themes of the Decade of Centenaries through various art genres will also form part of this partnership. This has the potential to provide artists across a wide range of disciplines, with the opportunity to engage with complex and challenging themes in a really interesting way.
- University College Cork (UCC) will host a national, academic conference to mark the centenary of the civil war from 15th to 18th June 2022. The four-day event will provide a forum to discuss and debate various aspects of the conflict. Scholars from a range of disciplines will share their informed views and appraisals of the Irish Civil War.
- Launch of Beyond 2022|Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury in June – an exciting all-island and international collaborative legacy project for the Decade of Centenaries, led by Trinity College Dublin. The project re-imagines and re-creates, through virtual reality, the Public Record Office of Ireland, which was destroyed in the opening engagement of the Civil War and the archival collections lost in that blaze, comprising records of seven centuries of Irish history, genealogy and administration. This model will be used as an interactive tool for engagement and research, whereby visitors will be able to browse the virtual shelves and link to substitute or salvaged records held by archives and libraries around the world. For further information, visit https://beyond2022.ie/
- All of our National Cultural Institutions are curating new and exciting programming throughout the year, including conservation and publication of the Collins diaries in the National Archives; a new exhibition in the National Museum focusing on NMI images covering the revolutionary era of 1913 to 1923 in Ireland and images of Irishmen and women in conflict oversees (WWI); Revealing Histories – a new series of videos and case studies in the National Library will show how the collections can tell the story of the decade. Exciting new exhibitions and programmes are being curated in the Crawford Art Gallery, IMMA and the National Gallery of Ireland.
- In response to a growing public appetite for online resources and associated digitisation initiatives, a number of significant digitisation projects will be progressed in 2022, including initiatives led by the National Library, the National Archives, and the Military Archives among others. The State will also continue to support initiatives under the Community Strand that encourage ongoing research and free public access to authentic historical sources, including local archival sources, local research and scholarship.
- €50,000 has been approved for every local authority under the Community Strand to support their commemorative programming for 2022, with a supplementary fund of €450,000 available to provide further supports to local authorities who have identified additional requirements in relation to specific centenaries of local significance and other larger projects, including cross-border initiatives.
- Artist-in-Residence exhibitions and outreach programmes will come on stream throughout the year in the NAI, NLI, NMI, Military Archives and Beyond 2022 project.
- A new bursary scheme will open this year, led by the Royal Irish Academy, with awards to be made in 2022 and in 2023. The bursary scheme will focus on encouraging new local research and local history studies to encourage a meaningful examination of local, regional, and national events and recognise the important work of local historians throughout the Decade of Centenaries.
Details of the full range of planned initiatives and activities are set out under each of the thematic strands of the Decade of Centenaries Programme. The full programme for 2022 can be viewed online or downloaded here: Decade of Centenaries Programme.