Finbar McCarthy playing at the unveiling of the Kilkenny World War One memorial. FOR MORE PICTURES, SEE THIS WEEK'S KILKENNY PEOPLE
A World War I Memorial was unveiled to great fanfare in Kilkenny on Sunday, at last honouring in carefully-crafted limestone the names of 822 men and five women who died during that conflict.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan did the unveiling honours at an event attended by other Oireachtas members, ambassadors, officials and many descendants of the names inscribed on the new monument. Conservative estimates put the turnout well into the hundreds, which —considering it was on the same afternoon as the Kilkenny v Limerick Championship match, a World Cup Final and Wimbledon Final — is saying a lot.
“I think people wanted to pay their respects, and they spoke with their feet,” said Chairman of the Kilkenny War Memorial Committee Donal Croghan.
Delighted to attend the unveiling of Kilkenny War Memorial commemorating the 827 men and women from the County who fell in the Great War. pic.twitter.com/zpa02u6Oug— WW1 Research Ireland (@MNugentResearch) July 15, 2018
Mr Croghan, who was one of those to initially put forward the idea for the memorial, said that many people may not have had a chance or the means to travel to France or Belgium, and it may have been the first time they have seen their relative commemorated in this manner.
“I think the nicest image for me was families finding their soldiers on the wall,” he said.
The design of the monument was advised by Kilgallen & Partners, Consulting Engineers and the construction of the monument was undertaken by John Somers Construction Ltd. The overall cost of the development was €180,000. Some €45,000 of this was raised by the Memorial Committee and supporters, with the balance of funding provided by Kilkenny County Council.
Moving tribute to the fallen by @CharlieFlanagan as he unveiled #Kilkenny First World War memorial this afternoon - wonderful that Kilkenny people who fought as #aussies commemorated too, honoured to lay a wreath #lestweforget @RSL_National pic.twitter.com/veDWmWYY8Z— Richard Andrews (@AusEmbIre) July 15, 2018
Cathaoirelach of Kilkenny County Council Eamon Aylward said the monument is a testament to quality, quality stakeholder relationships, quality design, quality location ‘and, most importantly, quality finish’, while Mayor of Kilkenny, Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere said it was truly ‘poignant to reflect on the extent to which Kilkenny lives were lost in World War I’.
For Mr Croghan and those who have been part and parcel of getting this project over the line, it’s the culmination of eight years’ hard work. He feels Kilkenny people will be proud of the monument, and says it is particularly spectacular at night with the special lighting enhancing its aesthetic in the riverside location.
For more pictures, see this week's Kilkenny People.
The committee is not finished either, with attention now turning another monument set to be unveiled at Mac Donagh Junction Railway Station on August 12. Proceedings will get under way at 3pm, and a wreath-laying ceremony will take place.
That event will be followed with a parade through town of old vehicles and re-enactors, and will be a fun day out for the family.