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Extended Aerial Coverage of 1916 Commemorations

RTÉ is releasing extended aerial coverage of the State Commemoration ceremonies in Dublin that marked the centenary of the 1916 Rising. The special footage is now being made available on for audiences at home and abroad.

Last Easter Sunday 27 March, the centenary of the 1916 Rising was commemorated with a State ceremony at the GPO and a parade through the centre of Dublin by over 3,500 members of the Defence Forces and State Emergency Services. RTÉ had extensive live outside broadcast coverage across Dublin city centre, with additional live TV units at Kilmainham Gaol and at Áras an Uachtarain. This was the biggest broadcast deployment for a State event since the visits of Queen Elizabeth and President Obama in 2011.

RTE Aerial footage of the 1916 State Commemorations on Easter Sunday as the Air Corps Fly By

RTÉ’s production team worked with the Air Corps, the Department of Defence and TVM Outside Broadcast to deliver live aerial coverage of the ceremonies and parade. RTÉ made a separate recording of the helicopter camera from beginning to end, whenever it was in flight over Dublin. RTÉ is now making available a 40 minute edit of the footage, showing the parade and well-known Dublin landmarks including St Stephen’s Green, Dublin Castle, the Four Courts and the GPO.

RTÉ One’s live coverage of the State Commemoration ceremonies and parade in Dublin on Easter Sunday was watched by an average of 337,000 viewers, equating to 50% of those watching television in Ireland during that time. Over 1.1 million people tuned in to the live transmission at some point during the five hour broadcast which was presented by Bryan Dobson, Eileen Dunne, Aine Lawlor, Cathal Mac Coille, John Bowman and Mary Kennedy.

As Ireland’s public service media organisation, RTÉ was host broadcaster, providing live feeds to both international and Irish media outlets including CNN, BBC, SKY News, CCTV China, TV3 and UTV Ireland. RTÉ’s online feed was provided free to the Irish Independent, The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Post, and Newstalk to carry live on their own websites.

RTE Aerial footage of the 1916 State Commemorations on Easter Sunday of the parade crossing O'Connell Bridge in Dublin.

When we were planning the live broadcast, we looked to add new elements to the TV presentation”, said RTÉ executive producer John O’Regan. “One of those was to get aerial coverage of the parade and of Dublin – not recorded, but live as the event was happening. RTÉ Sport has occasionally done this for sports events in the past – and obviously other broadcasters do this type of News coverage in other countries – but there is substantial investment  involved, as well as security and operational issues about working in the airspace during a large public event that includes flypasts by military aircraft. We figured that the best option might be if the aerial coverage could form part of the overall event plan.

Last year we discussed the idea with Defence Forces Ceremonial and with the Air Corps, and they provided tremendous co-operation in making it happen. RTÉ and TVM, the Outside Broadcast TV company, organised a specialist camera, camera operator and technical links system from the UK: the Air Corps provided a helicopter and pilot. We did some initial tests in the months leading up to Easter: Air Corps engineers even modified the undercarriage of the helicopter so the camera could be mounted in the optimum position. Then in the days before the event, we worked out a detailed schedule with the Air Corps for aerial coverage from the beginning of the parade at 10am to the end at 1.45pm, so the key events could be covered live and the helicopter could also reposition in the airspace as necessary for operational reasons.”

RTE Aerial footage of the 1916 State Commemorations on Easter Sunday in Dublin City

The extended 40 minute footage is available to view in full at and is available on the RTÉ Player now.


Abbey Theatre, An Garda Siochana, Association of Professional Genealogists Ireland, Band of An Garda Siochana, Buswells Hotel, Capuchin Friary, Century Ireland, Cobblestone, Conradh na Gaeilge, Dubray Books Grafton Street, Dublin Fire Brigade Pipe Band, Dublin Institute of Technology, Eason’s O’Connell Street, Gallery of Photography. Garda Historical Society, Generator Hostel, Glasnevin Trust, Grafton Barbers, Hodges Figgis Dawson Street, Irish Film Archive, Irish Veteran & Vintage Car Club. John Shevlin Millinery, Little Museum of Dublin, Louis Copeland & Sons, Manning's Bakery, Massey Funeral Directors, Maynooth University, Merrion Square Artists Association, National College of Art and Design, National Library of Ireland, National Museum at Collins Barracks, National Transport Museum of Ireland, NUI Galway, Poetry Ireland, Queen's University Belfast, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association, Royal Hibernian Academy, St Michan's Church of Ireland Parish, St Michan's Roman Catholic Parish, St Vincent de Paul, SIPTU, The Four Courts, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Limerick, University of Ulster, Whyte’s Irish Art & Collectables, National Print Museum, Irish Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers, ICA, Feltmakers Ireland, Irish Woodturners Guild, Doran Barber Shop The Pram Doctor, The Merrion Square Artists Association, The Dice Bar, Third Space, The Family Resource Centre St. Michael’s Estate, Brown Bag Films, The Stoneybatter and Smithfield People’s History Project, The Revenue Museum,

RTÉ would like to gratefully acknowledge the support and participation of the individual speakers who were kind enough to share their research and private collections with the public as part of the RTÉ Reflecting the Rising project. A big thanks also to the many volunteers and actors who gave their time so generously to help make RTÉ Reflecting the Rising a memorable and successful day.

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Registered Office: Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland.