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Alex’s cycle brings Irish war medals back home

May 17th, 2024 12:00 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Alex’s cycle brings Irish war medals back home Image
Alex Corrigan

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ALEX Corrigan’s love of history has seen him raise enough money to buy two Irish WWI medals at a London auction to ensure they will now remain in this country forever.


Alex is a student at Bandon Grammar School, and undertook a sponsored cycle from Ballymichael, near Kilmurry, to Castletownbere at Easter.

He launched a GoFundMe page ‘Cycling for Heroes: bringing Ireland’s history home’ and raised an impressive €1,800 to bid at auction for the medals.

The 14-year-old previously featured in The Southern Star in February when he recreated the face of Theobald Wolfe Tone using cutting edge facial imaging. Inspired by that project he searched online to find Irish war memorabilia being auctioned abroad.

Speaking to The Southern Star, his dad Mark thanked everyone who supported Alex in his cycle which allowed him to bring these artefacts of Irish history home.

‘Their war medals, each bearing silent testimony to their complex loyalties and valour, were auctioned separately at Noonan’s Mayfair Auction House in London,’ said Mark.

The medals, which cost more than €2,000 in total, belonged to two Irish volunteers, Gunner J Flynn from Kenmare and Lieutenant WE Mills from Dublin, who fought with the British army in WWI. When they returned home to Ireland, they found themselves on different sides during the War of Independence, with Flynn becoming a battalion training officer with the IRA, while Mills was a section leader of the British Auxillary’s E Company.

During their research, Alex and Mark also found Flynn was former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey’s godfather!

‘Over the next few months Alex will research the stories of both these men and their stories intertwine with the narrative of Ireland itself,’ added Mark.

Once Alex completes his research, he will offer the two medals on loan to interested museums.

‘Without all the help and support, these medals and their stories may never have found their way home,’ said Mark.

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