A SIMPLE yet touching ceremony was held at Kilkenny Castle on Sunday to remember all those Irish men and women who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations. The huge numbers involved have been highlighted over the last number of weeks by John Kirwan in his fabulous series, Kilkenny Families in the Great War in this paper.
Speaking at the event, Mayor of Kilkenny, Cllr Sean O’hArgain spoke of the need to remember all of those who served at the beginning of a most sensitive decade of commemorating a most decisive period in our history one hundred years ago.
“We must commit ourselves to remembering that each of the men and women we recall here today and in our national and local collective memory acted for their own reasons. Therefore we remember people who fought occasionally on opposite sides for instance in the American Civil War, in the Boer conflict, in the Spanish Civil War, and of course most tragically, in our own internal conflicts of the last one hundred years.
“We must above all remember that each of the families of those who served or in thousands of cases lost their lives in these circumstances have their own stories to tell, their own memorabilia in shoe boxes in attics or proudly displayed in their homes and their own pride in their loved ones. It is that right to each individual story which we must respect fully and which we must encourage people to tell in their own way so that we may more fully understand the wonderfully rich and multi-coloured tapestry that is our collective story,” he said.
Prayers were recited by Mons Michael Ryan, representing the Catholic Bishop of Ossory and by the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel and Ossory, Rt Rev Michael Burrows. Music was provided by St Patrick’s Brass and Reed Band; St Fiacre’s Folk Choir with Billy Carrigan on low whistle and Catherine Cullen on keyboard.
A wreath was laid by the Mayor at a specially commissioned commemoration monument consisting of a Kilkenny marble bowl, sitting on a tapered limestone base, designed and carved by Aileen-Anne Brannigan, Stonecarver.
At the end of the ceremony, Uillean pipes play, Finbar McCarthy. stationed at James Stphens Barracks enthralled the audience.