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O'Donovan Rossa event marks start of Rising tributes; President lays wreath a century after Fenian leader's burial.

Byline: ED CARTY

THE first of more than 40 events to mark the Easter Rising took place yesterday - 100 years on from the funeral of revolutionary Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa.

Best known for the graveside oration by Padraig Pearse, the Fenian's burial on August 1, 1915, is widely regarded as a rallying cry for republicanism and armed struggle against British rule in Ireland.

President Michael D Higgins joined Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys for the ceremony in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Ms Humphreys, whose office is overseeing events marking the Easter Rising, said the re-enactment was the official start of the centenary celebrations which she claimed will be "appropriate and respectful".

She added: "The funeral of Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa acted as a catalyst in the lead-up to the Rising.

"The now-famous graveside oration, given by Padraig Pearse, left a lasting impact and travelled far beyond the confines of this cemetery.

"Over the year, we will hold more than 40 State events as we commemorate the events of 1916, consider our achievements over the last 100 years and look ambitiously to the future."

Descendants of O'Donovan Rossa's family were also there yesterday.

They heard the re-enactment of Pearse's immortal words: "The fools, they have left us our Fenian dead and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace".

The Taoiseach described the Irish Republican Brotherhood leader, nicknamed Dynamite for orchestrating the first bombings of British cities, as an important figure in Irish history.

He said: "Even 100 years after his death his name is synonymous with the Fenians and with Irish nationalism.

"The liberation of his country became his life's ambition.

"His funeral remains one of the pivotal moments in Irish history and was an occasion that would be hugely instrumental in shaping the future of our nation." Mr Higgins laid a wreath while a volley of shots rang out, the Tricolour was raised and Amhran na bhFiann played.

The event included prayers by Defence Forces chaplain Fr Robert McCabe, a minute's silence, a piper's lament and an actor reciting Pearse's oration.

Among the first wave of activists to join the ranks of the IRB in 1858, Skibbereen shopkeeper O'Donovan Rossa was jailed for life for high treason after plotting a Fenian rising in 1865.

He was elected as a British MP for Tipperary fours years later but the result was declared invalid.

He was only freed after he agreed to live in exile in New York where he died on June 29, 1915, aged 83.

His funeral remains one of the pivotal moments in Irish history ENDA KENNY dublin yesterday


Family: great grandsons William Rossa Cole and Rossa William Cole

Guard of honour: Defence Forces and, inset, Attorney General Marie Whelan and Martin McGuinness

Salute: Michael D Higgins and Enda Kenny at Glasnevin yesterday Memorial: PICTURE: PA WIRE

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 2, 2015
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