The medal was awarded to persons who participated in The Rising during the week commencing 23rd of April 1916. About 2,500 medals were issued. Medals to those who were Killed in Action or who had died between the end of the Rising and the issue of the medal in 1941 were officially numbered. The medals were presented by President Eamon de Valera at a Parade held in Dublin in 1941.
The official description of the medal when issued was A bronze medal approximately one and two fifths inches in diameter. Fashioned (after the manner of the official Irish Army Crest) in the form of a circle of flame representing the sunburst on which eight points of a star are superimposed. Within the circle on the obverse is a representation of the death scene of Cuchullain (a legendary Irish Hero), partially surrounded by an ancient warrior’s sword belt.
On the reverse of the medal appears the inscription “SEACHTAIN NA CASGA 1916” which is translated “Easter Week 1916”. The back of this medal has been privately engraved by the recipient. This was a common practice as medals issued to surviving veterans were issued un-named. You should be careful when buying an engraved medal as unscrupulous sellers have been known to engrave fake medals to give them provenance in the hope they will fool the buyer.
The medal was manufactured by both The Jewellery and Metal Manufacturing Company and P. Quinn Limited, there were three batches made, the majority, about 2,000 in 1941 when the medal was awarded to veterans. The other two batches made were 250 in 1943 and a further 200 in 1952. Each batch of manufacture differed and the top suspension is notably larger on later issue medals.
The 1916 Miniature Medal
The first miniatures became available for the department of defence in 1947 and could be purchased for 3 schillings and six pence. Due to the high cost of the miniature medals several un-approved jewellers produced miniatures and sold them at a lower cost. Approved suppliers usually had the name of the jewellers stamped on the back of the pin bar, Quinn and Co. being the most common. Although miniatures were not issued with the full size medal veterans in receipt of a pension could apply to the department of defence for a miniature, form the applications we have seen we could not figure out what the criteria was but some veterans got a free miniature while others had to pay the 3 schillings and six pence.
Number of 1916 Medals issued up to 31 January 1988
The 1916 Armband
Original armbands do come in a variety of similar designs but with noticeable differences. The armband above has a broader more orange coloured stripes which cover both top and bottom of the armband with the 1916 and FF badge in a more gold colour.
The 1916 armband was worn by Veterans up to 1941 when the medal was issued. The armbands are now reproduced and although the reproductions are very new looking care should be taken when purchasing as new armbands can be distressed to give them the older look.
The armband was worn by veterans at formal occasions such as 1916 Commemoration events and the funerals of fellow Veterans. After the medal was issued in 1941 the wearing of the armband discontinued. The image shows a Veteran of the 1916 Rising at the Easter Parade in 1941 where the medal was presented to Veterans by President de Valera.
The 1916 Jubilee Medal
In 1966 a medal was issued to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rising. The medal was issued to surviving Veterans of the Rising. Less than 1000 of these medals were issued to surviving Veterans. This medal is known as the 1916 Jubilee Medal.
The medal is made of silver and is hallmarked. Both the medal disc and the pin bar are hallmarked. The medals issued in 1966 had a special Sword of Light hallmark on the disc but not on the pin bar.
The date letter for the 1966 hallmark was Y, you will see genuine 1966 Jubilee medals with later hallmarks as there were some official re-issued medals. Replacement medals were issued to Veterans who had lost their original issue.
It is not possible for Veterans or their descendants to get replacement medals now as both the 1916 and the 1916 Jubilee medals are no longer legally produced. You can get crappy copies on Ebay and if you want to waste your money on this type of junk that is up to you.