2015 Press Releases

UCC commemorates Cork Fenian Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa

29 Jul 2015
Torchlit parade in Skibbereen Image Stephen Bean, UCC

In 1863, O’Donovan Rossa held a torchlit parade in solidarity with a Polish uprising against their Russian occupiers known as the January Rebellion which was re-enacted in Skibbereen recently.

A busload of 40 members of Cork’s Polish Association made the journey down to honour O’Donovan Rossa’s gesture and the symbolic links between Ireland and Poland.

“We remember that this man supported the Polish people in the January Rebellion,” Kazimier Stawicki of the Polish Association said.

UCC historian Gabriel Doherty played an instrumental role in the organisation of the two weeks of events in West Cork to commemorate the centenary of Cork Fenian Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.

He explains in the video the significance of O’Donovan Rossa to Irish republicanism.


Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, through his secret and public political and cultural activities, on account of his combative manner while in prison, and by means of his numerous writings, was a major figure in the history of Irish republicanism, and of Cork and Ireland. His life story incorporates many of the dominant motifs of nineteenth and twentieth century Irish history – Famine, death, language loss and cultural transition, forced emigration, the land struggle, and physical force republicanism to name but a few. His funeral, at which Pádraig Pearse delivered one of the great graveside orations, was one of the landmark events leading to the 1916 Easter Rising.

Events still to happen include:

Thursday, 30 July

Tomorrow (Thursday 30 July), UCC historian Gabriel Doherty will speak at the launch in Rosscarbery  of a commemorative stamp by An Post in honour of O’Donovan Rossa


Friday, 31 July

On the evening of Friday 31 July, at c7.30pm, Gabriel Doherty will be giving a talk, hosted by the Irish Polish Society and the Polish embassy Dublin, and entitled ‘Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa: Irish nationalist and champion of the cause of Poland,’ at Polish House, 20 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2. The event is free, with a particular welcome, not surprisingly, being extended to members of the Polish community in Ireland.


Saturday, 1 August

The state commemoration of the centenary of the burial of O’Donovan Rossa takes place in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin, on Saturday morning, 1 August. The event is being broadcast live by RTÉ, with the broadcast scheduled from 10.35am to 11.55am. This is the first event of the national 2016 commemorative programme, and it shall be attended by the President, Taoiseach, members of the diplomatic corps, other invited guests (including members of the extended O’Donovan Rossa family, and those involved in planning the commemorative programme), and members of the public. It will, in effect, act as the bridge between the O’Donovan Rossa commemoration and the national 1916 commemoration, in much the same way as the original funeral marked the start of the countdown to the Easter Rising.


Sunday, 2 August

On Sunday 2 August, at 3pm an exhibition is being opened in the Pearse Museum, St Enda’s Park, Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, the subject of which is Pearse’s famous oration at O’Donovan Rossa’s graveside at which Gabriel Doherty will speak.  Included in the exhibition are Pearse’s original hand-written notes for the speech. All are welcome to this free event, which is hosted by the Office of Public Works.

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF