WITH a tear in his eye, Eddie Mulrooney from Dunbell walked through the gates of James Stephens Military Barracks in Kilkenny city on Wednesday of last week and retraced the footsteps of his father taken exactly 90 years earlier.
It was the late Edmund Mulrooney who marched with the other members of the Gowran Battalion of the Old IRA into the barracks which had up to them been under the control of British Forces.
“He brought in the tricolour with him that day and placed it on the flag pole to mark the take over of the barracks by the new state,” Mr Mulrooney said. The well known farmer brought a photo of his aunt Angie on the day of her marriage to George O’Dwyer with him showing most of the men in military uniforms. O’Dwyer was another of those who took over the barracks on that famous day. And George’s grandson, Frank was present for the occasion with his children Catherine and Paul, cousins of Eddie Mulrooney. Frank was delighted with the event and spoke of the importance of remembering the past and of how proud he was of his grandfather. Like Eddie Mulrooney he didn’t expect to be hit by the wave of nostalgia that engulfed the place during the event. And there was a gasp when suddenly, Eddie Mulrooney produced his father’s military service medals having earler refused E1,600 for one of them at the function.
Another man who was reminiscing was retired Lt Col Danny Flood, a popular commanding officer of the barracks in Kilkenny before his retirement. His own father Tom was involved in the Wart of Independence and his grand uncle Tom Flood was killed during the Civil War.
The main speakers at the event were the commanding officer of the barracks, Lt Col Paddy Flynn and Mayor David Fitzgerald. The mayor also planted a tree to commemorate the day and spoke passionately about the debt of service owned to our founding fathers by subuquent generations. Afterwards a history of the barracks was given by Captain Larry Scallon and others with refreshments served afterwards.