Picture Gallery: Kilkenny War Memorial - 100 years on they are remembered

Brian Keyes

Reporter:

Brian Keyes

A thought-provoking and poignant re-enactment that reflected far too common place occurrences over 100 years ago at Kilkenny Railway Station helped set a sombre ambience for the unveiling of a memorial to the 3,271 service men and women who left Kilkenny to fight in World War One.
Their names are fittingly etched in to limestone on a monument at the now MacDonagh Railway Station -s0 called after a leader of the 1916 Easter Rising Thomas MacDonagh.
MacDonagh’s closest friend, Francis Ledwidge, was a British Tommy who wrote the moving poem ‘Lament to Thomas MacDonagh’ on hearing of his friends death - he died a year later in Paschendale.
Narrator Ger Cody described the re-enactment which also included a scene showing the return one day of 22 men in suits to Kilkenny, under armed guard, who were shell-shocked and were sent to the local psychiatric hospital, never to be released.
The unveiling began with Kilkenny man - Major General Kieran Brennan who serves as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces, attending as guest of honour with Cathaoirleach Kilkenny County Council Eamon Aylward.
Major General Brennan said that the unveiling of both memorials ensured that Kilkenny had done its duty to remember those who fought in the Great War and urged us to understand their motivation to fight in World War One, not question it.
Chairman Aylward noted the role of the Royal British Legion Republic of Ireland branch in helping to boost the collecting coffers of the local committee. He also thanked Iarnrod Eireann.
Blessings were performed by Fr Frank Purcell PP and Rev David Compton. Captain Larry Scallon recited ‘In Flanders Fields’ while there was the laying of wreaths, and a minute’s silence observed. The Last Post and ‘Reveille’ was also played, prior to the national anthem from the St Patrick’s Brass and Reed Band.
Re-Enactment
After the ceremony, the re-enactment went mobile, along with the Peerless armoured car and other vehicles they travelled through the city streets to the Peace Park to the War Memorial honouring those who never came home is.
The beginning of their journey at the railway station, and the end of their journey where they will be forever remembered.
Chairman of the Kilkenny Great War memorial committee Donal Croghan revealed that on Sunday, November 11, 100 years after the end of the war to end all wars, they hope to organise 100 people to parade through Kilkenny by candlelight, ending at the memorial to the World War One dead in the Peace Park.
The light will be extinguished, symbolically bringing to an end the outstanding role and service of the Kilkenny Great War Committee. Kilkenny will forever be in their debt, and the recognition of loved ones of families has stirred many Kilkenny homes over the last year in particular - the committee ensured they will always be remembered.