Rebellion remembered: P.E.I. lecture series explores Easter Rising

A long-running P.E.I. lecture series on Irish history has a new focus this fall, paying tribute to the 100th anniversary of Ireland's Easter Rising.

Talks focuses on different aspects of uprising, from literature to music

All that remained of the Metropole Hotel on Dublin's Sackville Street (now O'Connell Street), after the Easter Rising, 1916. A long-running P.E.I. lecture series has devoted their fall talks to the uprising. (National Library of Ireland on The Commons/Wikimedia)

A long-running P.E.I. lecture series on Irish history has a new focus this fall, paying tribute to the 100th anniversary of Ireland's Easter Rising.

The Island's Benevolent Irish Society (BIS) has dedicated its entire fall lecture series to the 1916 rebellion, which has come to be remembered and celebrated as a moment of national sacrifice.

At the time, the uprising ended in failure and death, but it eventually paved the way for independence.

George O'Connor, the president of the BIS, said the group has been offering the series for 30 years now, with the aim of preserving and promoting Irish history on the island.

"There's not a lot of history in the schools generally and there certainly isn't a whole lot of Irish history," he told CBC Radio's Mainstreet P.E.I.

"If we're going to criticize in that regard, we better do something positive. We thought the lecture series would be very positive to do."

'General war of independence'

He said the Easter Rising incident marks a significant moment in Ireland's history and felt it warranted the full fledged focus of an entire lecture series. 

O'Connor said the uprising led to a "general war of indepedence."

George O'Connor, the president of P.E.I.'s Benevolent Irish Society, said not enough Irish history is being taught in schools and thinks the society's lecture series is a good way to expand on what is being taught. (Angela Walker/CBC)

"I think the people — the poets, the intellectuals and so on — those interested in the Irish language, culture and heritage felt that it was time to make a statement," he said.

Each of the lectures being offered focus on a different aspect of the rebellion, from literature to music. Here are the remaining topics being covered:

  • The Women's Rising (Nov. 7)
  • Politicizing The Folk: Gaelic Identities In The Founding of  an Independent Ireland (Nov. 14)
  • Recalling The Rising à l'européene; Presenting George Morrison's Films Mise Éire and Saoirse (Nov. 21)
  • "A Terrible Beauty' A literary tour through the 'High Words' on the Easter Rising (Nov. 28)
  • The Music Of The Rising (Dec. 5)

The series takes place at the Edward Whelan Irish Cultural Centre on North River Road in Charlottetown, with all talks starting at 7:30 p.m.

O'Connor said everyone is invited, whether they are a part of the society or not.

Irish Volunteers barricade Townsend Street, Dublin, to slow down the advance of troops, during the Easter Rising. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

"You don't have to be Irish, you don't have to have a bit of Irish in you, you just have to be generally interested in history," he said.

"If you also happen to be interested in Irish history, that's a bonus as well."

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.