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.

Miniature medal were not issued with the full-size medals. Recipients of a full-size medal had to purchase their own miniature. At the time the 1916 medal was presented several jewellers in Ireland were given permission by the government to produce miniatures 1916 and Service Medals, these became known as approved suppliers.
In 19166 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.