O’Donovan Rossa Funeral Re-enactment.
Over 10,000 people took part in the Sinn Féin organised full scale re-enactment of the O’Donovan Rossa Funeral. Held 100 years to the day and time on Saturday 1st August 2015 the lying in state at the rotunda in Dublin City Hall was faithfully re created from 12 midday. The Cabra Historical Society played a central role in the day’s proceedings having practised their drill for the previous six months. Cllr Michael MacDonncha introduced proceedings and actor Allan Keating delivered the Fr O’Flanagan oration over the casket.
The casket leaving City Hall through the west door to be greeted by the thousands waiting outside was one of the many memorable scenes from the day. The historical funeral cortege left on time at 2pm led by the O’Neill/Allsopp MFB from New Lodge Belfast. The sight of so many uniformed Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army including 4 Volunteer Cavalry officers on Irish draught horses caused great excitement on the streets. The period Hearse supplied by John Farrell Undertakers was pulled by 4 magnificent Belgian Friesian stallions. Also in the cortege were South Derry Martyrs RFB, Carrick-on-Suir RFB and Éire Nua RFB. As the cortege passed the G.P.O. on O’Connell st it was also still leaving City Hall.
Arriving in Glasnevin after 3pm the graveside ceremonial began with a welcome from Sinn Féin Deputy President Mary Lou McDonald TD who then introduced the well known singer Red Hurley. Red sang live a new Pete St John 1916 song “The Spirit of the Gael” to a fantastic reception. Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD gave the graveside address before Pádraig Pearse ,actor Edward Cosgrave, stepped forward to deliver a spell binding oration that was received with thunderous applause. The two great grandsons of O’Donovan Rossa, Williams and Rossa Cole who had walked from City Hall with the Sinn Féin leadership laid the Sinn Féin wreath on the grave of their great grandfather. Just like 1915 The Cabra Historical Society gave three rifle volleys to salute the dead Fenian before concluding with the National Anthem.
For those lucky enough to be there on the day it was an unforgettable experience. Covered by RTE News on the day and filmed by the BBC for a later show with presenter Simon Reeve.