I have seen manys a play from London’s West End to Dublin’s fair city, Derry, Donegal and beyond. Few have moved me in the way the children from Buncrana moved me last Wednesday night with their production of Cuimhniúr(ar1916).
This drama from the children of Scoil Íosagáin was part of the schools celebrations for Easter 1916. Across Ireland schools have all been partaking in a variety of celebrations to remember the Easter Rising in this, the centenary year. The Easter Rising is an integral part of our Irish history. It enabled us to retain, develop and nurture our Cultural identity. It paved the way for the Ireland we live in today.
When we talk of Easter 1916 it is primarily about the men who fought. The men who helped shape our country. Men such as Connolly and Pearse, Mac Donagh and McBride, alongside many more. More recently the women of 1916 are also being remembered. But we don’t ever hear about the children who lived through the Easter Rising of 1916.
Thanks to Patricia Doherty and her students from Scoil Íosagáin we can now remember, respect and treasure those very children. Cuimhniúr tells the story of the children during this period in history and just how they also played a part in helping the men and women of 1916. Thanks to the children of Buncrana we have gotten to know the children from 100 years ago and just what they experienced during this very important part of Irish history.
On Wednesday night each and every child surpassed themselves on the school stage. From song, music, drama and dialogue, we were transported back to this time. We became part of life in 1916.
The song ‘Grace’ will forever more remind me of the poignant moment when it was sung during this amazing production. ‘A Nation Once Again’ is embedded in my mind as a memorable lyrical and very apt memory of what our patriots really fought for.
And these kids have not only impressed us the people of Inishowen. These kids have impressed the entire nation. The production has been shortlisted from hundreds all over the country and is now in the final three of a nationwide competition for 1916 celebrations. These amazing children will perform Cuimhniú on April 5th 2016 at our national theatre, The Abbey, in Dublin. They alongside the other 2 finalists will compete for the overall winning school production for 1916.
I don’t doubt this is a winning entry. However, irrespective of the result, these children and Patricia, have every reason to be so very proud. They have not only showcased a very important element of 1916, they have taught us all about the children of that time. The children of 2016 have remembered the children of 1916. They have ensured these children live on in our memories. These children from 2016 are a credit to themselves. A credit to their teachers and parents. And a credit to Irish history.
Here’s wishing you lots of luck on April 5th, and enjoy the experience.