The Cork County 1916 centenary programme was officially launched in County Hall this week before a large crowd, to usher in the year-long celebration of remembering the actions of those who struck for Irish freedom that Easter week.

Glanworth-based councillor Frank O’Flynn is chairperson of the Centenary Programme and present also were the Youghal Comhaltas Ceolteoiri, Cobh Re-enactment Group and the Irish Military Group, as was Nora Riordan, a grandniece of Thomas Kent, who read the proclamation.

In launching the 1916 programme for Cork, Cllr O’Flynn stated that we reflect on this seminal event in Irish history – the courage and patriotism of the many Cork volunteers, the most famous being Thomas Kent of Castlelyons, Sean Hurley of Drinagh; the legacy from the Easter Rising; and the vision which will guide us in the future.

“The Rising of Easter Week was planned by men and women who feared that, without a dramatic gesture of this kind, the sense of national identity that survived the seven hundred years of British rule would be lost within their time, leaving Ireland to become yet another lost state within the British Empire,” the chairman said.

“During this one short Easter week, the flame of Irish Freedom was lit and gave hope, not alone to the people of Ireland, but these actions became an inspiration for countries, from India to Africa, to pursue and eventually secure their own independence.

“It was simply a continuation of the dreams of Tone and Emmet that Ireland should take her place as an independent sovereign state among the nations of the world. The leaders were honest and unselfish people, who were prepared, and indeed expected, to make the supreme sacrifice, that we might be free,” he said, channelling his inner-Pearse.

Two national events will take place in Cork to mark The Rising. The first of these is on 28th March, 2016 when Cork County and Cork City will join in honouring the occasion. The second will be to mark the death of Thomas Kent, to be held on the 9th May, 2016 in Collins’ Barracks.

An extensive public consultation on the 1916 Centenary Commemoration occurred in June 2015 throughout Cork County, which was well attended. A very good response was received from this and there were one hundred community applications, which will cover over three hundred events – the highest number of events in any county throughout Ireland to commemorate The Rising.

Locally, these Cork events will focus on Castlelyons which will honour Thomas Kent on Sunday, May 15th with a parade of bands and the erection of a monument to commemorate him.

In Fermoy on Sunday, May 2nd, Mass will be celebrated, a parade held and plaques erected on Fermoy bridge which will be named Kent Bridge. A plaque will also be erected at Thomas MacDonagh’s home in MacDonagh Terrace and a commemorative garden will be unveiled in Fermoy Town Park.