I have been waiting impatiently for news of the centennial celebration in Ireland for months now. I was even more impatient in the days leading up to the release of the schedule of planned events because I have been planning my trip to Dublin for the anniversary for well over a decade and was eager to see what was going to be happening officially. That said, the only thing running through my head after following all the links is What the f%ck did I just watch?
I am not even going to post a link to the new video ad. If you want to see the piece of crap, it is easy to find. I am part of the diaspora that the tourism board is trying to entice with their “Gathering”-like mentality. Their commercialization of the upcoming centennial was to be expected – but to do it without one mention of the Rising itself is not only ridiculous but offensive. To flash pictures of the Queen of England but NOT the leaders of the 1916 Rising, to edit and then incorrectly translate the Proclamation and to ignore the entire event that is being celebrated is inexcusable. It had the exact opposite effect on me than it was supposed to do. It almost made me not even want to be part of it at all.
I say almost because there’s no way that I will not be there. When I began my obsession with Irish history over 20 years ago, I remember calculating what age I would be in 2016. I thought for sure in my young, angsty, and immortal brain that I probably wouldn’t even be alive to witness it. As the study continued and the years flew by, suddenly I realized the chance of the whole live fast, die young thing had already passed me by and it was time to start planning another trip to the home of my heart. Now we’re here and though the government and corporate sponsored commercials have turned my stomach, I know I will be happily hopping on a plane in 16 months or so.
Here’s my question though. On my last journey I got almost no time in the North. My original plan was to spend at least a week there, travel back down the west coast and around the bottom of the Isle before heading back up to Dublin for the celebration. I have 3, maybe 4 weeks to romp. I didn’t take into account that Easter was in March and that the time frame would include St. Paddy’s day and a large tourism push. If you were me whose biggest inspirations were some of the men and women of 1916 and you wanted to spend quality time in the North, would you forgo the entire March agenda and settle for Arbour Hill on the actual start time of the Rising itself or would you celebrate with the masses and witness the parade?
It’s a serious question.
Part of me thinks that despite the awful ads, it could be powerful to witness the parade and see the celebration in person. On the other hand, if there’s a less commercial and more accurate gathering in April, my history buff/political side would prefer that. Also, given how contentious this time of year may be in the North, I am wondering if being there after the big touristy centennial would be better or worse than arriving a few weeks before. It is almost as important to me to spend more time there on this trip as it is to experience the 100 year anniversary. So…anyone in Ireland have an opinion? I’d love to hear it…preferably before I drop a lot of cash to be there.