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Queens College Marks Centenary of 1916 Irish Rebellion

-- Opening of “A Nation Rising” Exhibition and Multimedia Presentation on April 20 by Irish Singer and Radio Host Kevin Westley; Both Events Free and Open to the Public --

FLUSHING, NY, April 7, 2016 -- The Irish Studies Program at Queens College invites the public to free events on Wednesday, April 20 to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Irish Rebellion. Also called the Easter Rising because it began on Easter Monday, April 24, the rebellion was mounted by Irish republicans with the goal of ending British rule. The execution of its leaders fueled public outrage and strengthened nationalist groups, leading to the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, precursor of the modern Republic of Ireland.
At 5:30 pm an 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 Queens College’s Flushing campus. On display will be photos, books, newspaper articles, maps, flags, letters, historical documents, poetry excerpts, song lyrics and other items related to this seminal event in Irish history.
Seven Signatories resized.pngAmong the rare books shown is a first edition of a volume of poetry containing work by three of the seven men who signed the independence Proclamation. (All signatories were subsequently tried by a secret military court and executed.) Photos to be displayed also depict some of the women involved in the rebellion--their role and heroic actions went virtually unknown for many years. 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.
From 6:30-7:30 pm in Room 230 (Library Auditorium), award-winning singer Kevin Westley will treat attendees to a multimedia presentation on the Easter Rising and its aftermath. Westley, who broadcasts an Irish music program on Saturdays from 5 to 8 pm 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. The song has been recorded by many Irish musicians and singers including Sinead O’Connor with the Chieftains, The Wolfe Tones, The Dubliners, and The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem. In addition, Westley will perform a dramatic reading of the Proclamation.
Many events around the world are taking place to celebrate this centenary, with 200 events occurring this year in the U.S. alone. “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,” says Colleran Sprague.
Queens College is located at 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, NY.
For directions, visit
About the Irish Studies Program
Established in 1973, the Irish Studies Program at Queens College is one of the oldest programs in North America devoted to the study of Irish history and culture. The presiding spirit behind its creation was Joseph S. Murphy, past president of Queens College and later chancellor of the City University of New York. Irish Studies, currently directed by Professor Sarah Covington, offers courses in Irish history, literature, folklore, and language, sponsors or co-sponsors events and lectures, and partners with the Universities Study Abroad Consortium to provide students with the opportunity to live and study in Ireland. More recently, Irish Studies has broadened its sights to include study of the Irish and Irish Americans in Queens through its borough-focused oral history project. More information at:


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