The Dublin commemorations were “devoid of jingoism and national chauvinism”, a leading Northern Irish journalist said yesterday.
Henry McDonald, the Guardian Ireland correspondent, gave the News Letter his assessment of the Rising event: “It was a lot of emphasis on peace and reconciliation.”
Mr McDonald, who has written a biography of David Trimble, and who has never been afraid to report critically on republicans, said: “I think it was handled pretty sensitively, it was solemn, it was sombre but it wasn’t too militaristic.”
Michael McDonagh, a journalist based in Manchester who writes for the Irish World, compared yesterday’s celebration favourably to the 50th anniversary celebrations which he also attended on O’Connell Street, then aged 20.
“It was completely different to now,” he said.
“It was a kind of military parade but much more basic than now, the crowd was all around, there was a little stand, but it wasn’t like now, it wasn’t as well organised.”
Mr McDonagh, who was born in England but is of Irish descent, added: “The good thing that has happened now is that there is a whole nuanced history that is being respected, it is not just the concentration on the signatories to the proclamation and the Rising itself but it was a wider context that includes people from who fought in the First World War or innocent people who got killed or injured in Dublin itself and women and all those other issues and I think that is very very good.”
Cliff Carlson, the owner of Chicago-based Irish American News, thought the celebrations yesterday were well handled.
Mr Carlson, who is not a traditional Irish American and has varied American ancestry including Swedish, said: “I thought this was done very respectfully, everybody held their head high, they weren’t beholden to anyone but they did it with respect and grace.”
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