On Easter Monday 2012, more than 100 people attended the annual Easter Uprising memorial service in Mineola, NY. At a location behind the courthouse stands the now completed Irish Easter Rising Memorial, a testament to those who gave their lives for Ireland’s freedom. Sponsored by the Irish Monument Committee each Easter Monday, the one-hour ceremony allows all those present to remember the martyrs of 1916.
The committee is comprised of various Irish organizations including the Nassau County Board of the Ancient order of Hibernians, the Nassau Police Emerald Society, the Irish American Society of Nassau, Suffolk and Queens, Irish Northern Aid, The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the Irish Americans in Government, the Brehon Law Society of Nassau County, and the Irish Studies Program of Hofstra University.
The ceremony, which was headed this year by the Police Emerald Society, included remarks from Deputy Consul General of Ireland Peter Ryan and Sinn Fein politician and Seanad Erirann Senator Kathryn Reilly about the peace process in Ireland.
Also in the ceremony the Proclamation of 1916 was read along with readings of Sean O’Casey’s eulogy and “The Rose Tree” by William Butler Yeats. The memorial concluded with a laying of a wreath at the monument.
“First dedicated in 1979, the monument has been a continuing work in progress requiring renovation,” said master of ceremonies Donal Mahoney. “I have been pleased and proud to be part of the process of the monument as it has gone through various stages of renovation and refurbishment.”
Mahoney notes the Monument Committee has brought together a host Irish organizations on Long Island and has drawn together the Irish American community “with the government of Ireland which has been absolute.”
The monument has been located behind the Nassau County Court House since 1979, albeit unfinished. In 1993 it was rededicated and renovated. Recently, Irish groups throughout Long Island decided to complete and renovate the project. Three years ago the top was put on the monument, a harp with 32 strings representing the 32 counties and the names of 15 who died on the base. Flowers, lights and a walkway were added two years ago and this year, to finish it off, benches were installed and the plaques were placed back onto the memorial.
The Monument Committee also started a customized brick program to be placed in the paving stones around the monument for all the sponsors of the project.