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Garden honours local involvement in Rising

May 15th, 2016 6:40 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Committee members Annette Hickey, Imelda Hurley, Shane O'Donnell, Denis O'Brien, Fr Jerry Cremin PP, Micheal Twohig, Oliver O'Brien and Denis Ryan, at three of the seven standing stones.

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A KILBRITTAIN man who took part in the 1916 Rising was remembered at the recent official opening of the 1916 Commemoration Garden in the village. 

JJ Walsh from Ratharoon was involved in the fighting in the GPO during the 1916 Rising and it was only fitting that his niece, Sr Cora Richardson, officially opened the garden.

‘It is to Kilbrittain Parish’s credit that one of our own was involved in this seminal event that led to the birth of our nation and as such it is important that JJ is always remembered for that,’ said Denis O’Brien, chairman of Kilbrittain Centenary Commemorative Garden Committee.

‘JJ Walsh was chairman of the Cork County GAA Board from 1909-1914 and in the GPO during the Rising, he reported to James Connolly,’ he pointed out.

‘After their surrender, JJ was court-martialled and sentenced to death because of his previous role in the Irish Volunteers but this was commuted to life imprisonment soon after. JJ was then released under general amnesty in 1917 and went on to be elected a TD for Cork in 1918. He became the first Minister for Posts and Telegraphs in 1922.’

Earlier this year, the committee was formed to create the garden to honour both JJ and those lost their lives while fighting during the Rising. 

The seven signatories of the Proclamation of Independence are also remembered on seven standing stones with the Proclamation displayed on the central stone. 

There is also a memorial plaque dedicated to the Kilbrittain Volunteers who marched to Macroom on Easter Sunday April 23rd in 1916 planning to go to Dublin for the rising.

Guest speaker at the official opening was Con O’Callaghan, who gave a presentation on 1916 and Kilbrittain Volunteer Company. 

Carbery Rangers Scór Drama Group performed a short one-act play and Kilbrittain Scór Na Paistí performed Óró Sé do Bheatha Bhaile.

Parish priest Jerry Cremin blessed the garden. The children from both Kilbrittain and Gurraneasig national schools performed the song Grace and a selection of poetry.

‘Sr Cora regaled the large crowds with tales of her uncle who evaded the British on several occasions. JJ was even a passenger of the famous airship, The Hindenburg,’ added Denis. 

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