The bells tolled, and a bugler sounded The Last Post as thousands of poppies fell from the ceiling of St Canice’s Cathedral at 11am on Sunday, November 11 to mark the centenary of the end of World War I.
A massive crowd packed into the 13th Century cathedral, which bears plaques on its walls commemorating many of the Irishmen who lost their lives in the conflict.
Dignitaries and local officials, including Mayor of Kilkenny Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere, leas-Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Andrew McGuinness, Garda Chief Superintendent Dominic Hayes, and members of the Defence Forces placed wreaths to commemorate those who served and died.
The Service of Choral Mattins was sung by the cathedral choir, including the anthem ‘They are at Rest’. In his sermon, Dean of Ossory David MacDonnell spoke about the importance of overcoming divisions. The event concluded with the congregation joining the choir in a rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann.
Later in the afternoon, an Ecumenical Service took place at St Canice’s Church, on Dean Street. Both Kilkenny Unity Singers and CBS Primary Boys Choir performed. Poetry was read, and a minute’s silence was observed before the bell tolled.
The service was followed by a Procession of Candlelight from the church through the streets to the new World War I Memorial at Peace Park. There, a short ceremony of remembrance took place, with songs featuring a bugler/ piper and wreath laying , accompanied by the extinguishing of a memorial flame. One hundred LED candles were supplied, and attendees were invited to carry one to remember a relative or someone who served.
Meanwhile, the ‘Ireland and Kilkenny Stories and Facts World War I Exhibition’ has opened at Loughboy Library, featuring Gallopili stories, with Kilkenny’s sacrifice by parish and county. Admission is free, and the exhibition runs until Friday, November 16.