Easter 2024 in North America – News & Photos

Toronto

Toronto, Canada

For 56 years the Toronto Irish community has commemorated the 1916 Easter Rising.This year’s event, held at local 183’s LiUNA Hall, featured a large crowd who heard a message of hope from Sinn Féin Representative to North America Ciarán Quinn.

Highlighting the election of Sinn Féin First Minister Michelle O’Neill to the recently restored Stormont Assembly, Ciarán sent a message of hope for the future of a changing Ireland and the crucial role that the Irish community in Canada and the US can play in securing Irish unity referendums.

The commemoration also featured outstanding music from Antonio Rea, and members of Irish4Palestine group who came to remember Ireland’s patriot dead.

Rhode Island

Providence, RI

On April 1st, Easter Monday, a large group of Rhode Islanders gathered at Patrick’s Pub meeting room to commemorate the patriots of 1916. In a show of solidarity, many Irish organizations and the public soaked in the history of 1916 Easter Week. A reading of The 1916 Proclamation began the evening, followed by the story of Moira Regan, a young female rebel who fought in the Rising, drawing on a contemporaneous account of her experiences as described by her in an interview that was published in the New York Times Magazine in August 1916.

Mavis McGetrick and Marybeth Lynch did an outstanding job capturing the crowd’s attention telling the story of Moira Regan. Finbar Doyle performed many songs through out the evening and a beautiful rendition of “Grace,”  and brought the crowd to its feet with “A Nation Once Again” at the end of the commemoration. – Mike Cannon

San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

150 people marched behind the Pearse and Connolly Band to the grave of Fenian organizers and participant in the Catalpa expedition to free prisoners from Fremantle jail in Australia, “Thomas Desmond.” The main oration was given by Linda Dillon MLA.

Ciaran Scally conducted the event and Phohblact Na Eireann was read by Ronan Mulholland, Galtee Mountain Boy sung by Ben Hunter , September 1913 was recited by Seamus Canning. There was a large number of young people from the San Francisco Youth GAA in attendance, along with many of the other local Iris organizations.

Nashville 

Nashville, TN

Dozens gathered at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for a presentation on the Easter Rising by historian Conor Doolan and a reading of the proclamation organized by the Nashville Chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, led by Chapter President Jim Horton.

Local musician Caleb Harper performed Grace, the Irish National Anthem, and other songs, and local poet and gaeilgeoir Bill Clifford recited poetry by Irish poets. The audience gathered had many thoughtful questions and were eager to learn more and grow the local community of support. A special nod was paid to the role Nashville played in the establishment and growth of the Fenian Brotherhood of America.

Philadelphia

On April 7, Tar Anall America hosted Philadelphia’s annual Easter Rising Commemoration at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, PA.  A large group of dedicated Irish activists visited the graves of three champions of Irish freedom from the Philadelphia area.  Luke Dillon (1848-1930), from Co Sligo known as  “Dynamite Luke, Danny Cahalane (1924-1980) from Co Cork,  and Joseph McGarrity (1874-1940) from Carrickmore, Co Tyrone.

Joseph McGarrity is Philadelphia’s direct link to the 1916 Easter Rising.  At 18 years of age, McGarrity arrived in America penniless, with nothing to his name.  Over the years he became very successful in business.  At the direct request of Padraig Pearse, McGarrity provided financial support to the Irish volunteers.  He participated in the purchase and delivery of 1500 Mauser rifles and 49,000 rounds of ammunition that were used in the 1916 Easter Rising.  At that time, McGarrity personally hosted important leaders of the Rising including Thomas Clarke, Padraig Pearse, Roger Casement and Eamon De Valera.  McGarrity’s grandchildren were present to lay the wreath and spread Irish soil: “Since you can no longer go to Ireland, we bring a piece of Ireland to you.”  The Proclamation was read by Co Tyrone native Gary McKernan.

Sinn Fein TD Rose Conway-Walsh addressed the assembly at McGarrity’s grave and spoke about the bright future of a New Ireland.  We are in unparalleled times especially with Michelle O’Neill finally seated as First Minister in the North of Ireland.  Rose encouraged Irish America to remain engaged in the movement toward a free and united Ireland, and to keep sharing information about current and future affairs.  For the first time, a United Ireland is possible in our lifetime.  Rose reminded Irish America that we must support a permanent ceasefire in Gaza because future generations will look back at this time and ask why we did nothing to stop this horrific desecration of human life.  The Irish know violent occupation; we have a duty to support Palestinians during this terrible occupation.

A social ended the 108th Commemoration at the Briarcliff American Legion in Glenolden, PA where those assembled enjoyed great company, delicious food, and incredible rebel music by Declan McLaughlin.

Chicago

Nearly two hundred people gathered on Saturday, March 30 in the Erin Ballroom at the Irish Heritage Center in Chicago for Clan na Gael’s 2024 Easter Commemoration.

The event honored Colin Fagan of Irish Northern Aid and they hosted guest speaker Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MLA, Emma Sheerin.