Decade of Centenaries

The Department works with stakeholders from representative bodies and the community and voluntary sector to facilitate commemorative initiatives under the programme.

The overall approach to planning and delivery of commemorations over the remainder of the Decade of Centenaries (2019 – 2023) will follow the principles laid down in the Second Phase Mission Statement of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations (October 2017) and on the Guidance Report (January 2019) from this Group which was updated following a public consultation process concluded in 2018.

Important events commemorated to date include the Centenary of the Ulster Covenant, the foundation of the Irish Volunteers, the Home Rule and Land Bills, the 1913 Lockout, the 1916 Rising and many anniversaries relating to World War One, including the Gallipoli landings, the Somme offensive and the battle of Messines Ridge. Also of note will be the Literary Revival, the suffrage movement, the struggle for workers’ rights and many other key events and themes of the period.

The objective of the State centenary commemoration programme for the years from 2019 – 2023 is to ensure that this complex period in our history, including the Struggle for Independence, the Civil War, the Foundation of the State and Partition, is remembered appropriately, proportionately, respectfully and with sensitivity.  A key objective of the initiative is to promote a deeper understanding of the significant events that took place during this period and recognise that the shared historical experience of those years gave rise to very different narratives and memories.

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Traditions Meet

The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative, supported the “Traditions Meet” programme during Fleadhfest, the first ever virtual Fleadh Cheoil, hosted in Sligo in August 2021.

The ‘Traditions Meet’ programme celebrated the Ulster Scots musical tradition alongside traditional Irish music. The programme connected musicians from different cultural traditions and brought Northern Irish musicians and Sligo musicians together. In acknowledging the historical juncture of the Decade of Centenaries, the programme endeavoured to encompass the two main traditions, while deepening an appreciation for the musical traditions of Ulster Scots and traditional Irish music on the island of Ireland.

Bartley Gavin, Chair of the Sligo Fleadh Cheoil Executive Committee said: “We are delighted to bring this important dimension into the virtual Fleadh Cheoil programme this year. It provides a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate connectivity between cultural traditions and across the island, through music and song”. The two events are designed to increase knowledge of differing traditions and connect people through their love of music.

This programme hosted two events – a lunch time sessions with ‘The Two Rev’s!’ and a Thursday evening ‘Traditions Meet’ Ensemble involving eleven musicians and dancers from Sligo and Northern Ireland.


The Two Revs!

The Two Revs concert presented two fine traditional musicians, The Rev Canon Gary Hastings from Dublin on flute and the Rev Father Seamus Quinn from Belcoo, County Fermanagh on fiddle. Since becoming college buddies forty years ago, the two men, now Reverends in two different denominations, continue to share a passion for Irish music, language and the church. The Two Rev’s performance brought their respective cultural influences to bear in their music and chat, complemented with piano accompaniment by the talented award winning Sligo dancer and musician Samantha Harvey. This session was successful in stirring heart, soul and feet.

Traditions Meet Ensemble

Traditions Meet Ensemble performed traditional tunes crossing over and back between the Ulster Scots and Irish musical traditions. This unique concert was devised by Ballymena musician, composer and storyteller Willie Drennan and All Ireland musician, composer and teacher Kerrie Herrity Lenehan from Sligo. The concert opened with an informal showcase of both traditions led by Willie Drennan and Kerrie Herrity Lenehan, and featured musicians Davy Angus, James Christie, Kenny Donagher, John Dwyer and Dave O’Connor performing with Erne Highland Dancers from Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, and Gallagher School of Dance from Sligo.

The evening was a showcase of instruments from Ulster and Sligo musical traditions featuring lambeg, bodhrán, djembe drums, fiddle, flute, banjo, accordian, piano, bouzouki, Uilleann pipes, whistles, and guitar. 

Different Drums of Ireland, comprised of Roy Arbuckle, Richard Campbell, Paul Marshall, and Dolores O’Hare brought the evening to an energetic conclusion with a powerful, primal, and joyful celebration of tradition through their performance of traditional and original song.

During Fleadhfest online events were streamed free to air daily on the Fleadhfest website, across social media channels, and on partner channels including TG4 the principal media partner.

Decade of Centenaries Sligo – Online Lecture Series

As part of our Decade of Centenaries programme, Sligo Libraries have created a series of short Online Lectures. These recorded discussions will feature historical events of Sligo significance commemorated during the Decade of Centanaries. These will include:

  • Wednesday 9th of December from 8pm: Linda Kearns (1920/21)

Nurse Linda Kearns, native of Dromard, Co. Sligo, arrested November 1920 transporting firearms for the IRA

  • Wednesday 9th of December from 8pm: The Chaffpool Ambush

IRA ambush of RIC motor party at Chaffpool, Co. Sligo, 30 September 1920

  • Wednesday 16th of December from 8pm: The Moneygold Ambush

IRA ambush of RIC patrol at Monegold, Grange, Co. Sligo, 25 October 1920

Distinguished Speakers will include; Joe McGowan, Michael Farry and Dr. Pádraig Duignan.

Additional recording in this series include:

  • Wednesday 16th of December from 8pm: Michèle, Local Historian with Sligo County Library, will deliver a talk on behalf of Dr. Rev. Peter C. Humphries on The History of the Sligo Congregational Church (1780-1939).

This talk will coincide with a forthcoming publication by Sligo Library of a pamphlet written by Rev. Dr Peter C. Humphries on the SCC.

  • Wednesday 23rd of December from 8pm, on the eve of the First World War Christmas Truce.: A panel discussion with founding members of the Lest Sligo Forgets campaign; Simone Hickey, Tommy Higgins and Michael Kirby. Mícheál Ó Domhnaill will moderate the discussion

Lest Sligo Forgets is a Community Association whose aim is to create a Memorial Garden for volunteers and civilians from County Sligo who lost their lives in the Great War 1914 – 1918.

Frank Carty: Escape from Sligo Gaol.

On the 26th June 1920, one hundred years ago, Frank Carty made his legendary escape from Sligo Gaol. His was assisted by Billy Pilkington, Seamus Devins, Michael Nevin, J. P. Brennan and others from the Sligo Battalions. This presentation by Dr. Padraig Deignan tells the dramatic story of that escape, and of the life of an adventurous, colourful and committed Sligo man.

Commemorating the Centenary of the Connaught Rangers Mutiny in India 28th June 1920.

A memorial project involving the unveiling of an inscribed monument, dedicated to the memory of the men who took part in the Connaught Rangers mutiny, was due to take place this weekend, in Tubbercurry, County Sligo. The President, Michael D. Higgins, had accepted an invitation from the Connaught Rangers Memorial group, to attend.

However, due the COVID-19 pandemic, this has now been postponed until the 2nd of November.

To mark the Centenary this weekend, Sligo Library recently recorded a conversation, to tell the story of the Connaught Rangers Mutiny and its aftermath. It aims to honour the memory of the courageous men, who while far from home, stood in solidarity with their native country men fighting for our Independence.

This conversation is a chance to remind ourselves of the significance of Ireland and Sligo’s forgotten heroes. While the recording is one hour long, the discussion could have gone on longer. If you would like to continue this conversation, please leave a comment below.

We would like to thank Mary Henry, (granddaughter of James Gorman), Oliver Hawes, (grandson of Joseph Hawes), Danny Tiernan, (grandson of William Tiernan) and Ronan McGreevy, (author and journalist), who took part in this conversation. We would also like to thank Micheál Ó Domhnaill, who presided over the discussion.

The memorial project is part of Sligo Co Council’s Decade of Centenaries, the State Commemoration of significant historical events that took place between 1918-1923. In association with Creative Ireland.

Images courtesy of Mary Henry, Danny Tiernan and Oliver Hawes. Clips courtesy of Black Sheep? (2006), RTÉ Archives and Seven Days (1970), RTÉ Archives.


An official launch took place in Tubbercurry Community Library on Saturday, 9th of November to Commemorate of the Centenary of the Connaught Rangers Mutiny in India in June 1920. The launch was a chance for us to be informed of the various aspects of the Mutiny and recognise those who took part, especialy the Sligo men who took part and the aftermath for them and their families on their return home.

The Commemoration of the Centenary of the Connaught Rangers Mutiny in India 28th June 1920.

The memorial project involves the erecting of an inscribed monument in Wolfe Tone Square, Tubbercurry, dedicated to the memory of the three Sligo men who took part in the mutiny: James Gorman Tubbercurry, Martin Boy Conlon Sligo town and Jack Scanlon Sligo town.

The project is designed to tell the story and to honour the memory of the courageous men who while far from home stood in solidarity with their native country men fighting for our Independence.

The proposed dedication date is June, 2020 on the centenary anniversary of the mutiny.

Key aspects of the launch were a series of short talks over the afternoon, by three historians on the history of the mutiny.

They included:

  • Dr. Eunan O’Halpin, Professor of Contemporary Irish History, Trinity College (Grandnephew of Kevin Barry).
  • Dr. Mario Draper, Professor of Modern History, Kent University.
  • Danny Tiernan, Connaught Rangers, Historian, Boyle, Co. Rosommon.

Each talk was followed by a brief Q&A.

The memorial launch is a chance to remind ourselves of the significance of Ireland and Sligo’s forgotten heroes.

The memorial project is part of Sligo Co Council’s Decade of Centenaries, the State Commemoration of significant historical events that took place between 1918-1923.

In association with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, The Connaught Rangers Memorial group and Creative Ireland.