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Kinsale’s struggle in the War of Independence recalled

December 30th, 2021 11:50 AM

By Southern Star Team

Shannon Forde, author, with Cllr Gillian Coughlan who formally launched the book, Don’t Forget Me Now - Stories from the War of Independence in Kinsale. (Photo: John Allen)

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THE forgotten heroes of those residents who participated in the War of Independence in Kinsale and district find their voice in a new publication Don’t Forget Me Now, Stories from the War of Independence in Kinsale.

Beautifully written and researched by local Kinsale historian Shannon Forde, the book was launched in Innishannon House Hotel last Friday by County mayor Gillian Coughlan. Mayor Coughlan, a history graduate from Trinity College, Dublin, described the book as an essential piece of research. It tells the story of those who had risked so much to secure Ireland’s Independence.

Mayor Coughlan said: ‘I must congratulate Shannon on this book. It is so impressive on so many levels, telling the story that remained hidden over 100 years. The depth of research is simply incredible, and I have been honoured to launch the book.’ It has been a mammoth task for Shannon, but she has left no stone unturned in revealing the story, particularly the local women of Cumann na mBan, previously airbrushed out of the story.

For the author, currently employed as an information officer/guide at Charles Fort, Kinsale, the book was ultimately inspired by discovering her own family’s involvement in the War of Independence, particularly her great-grandmother, Margaret Forde, secretary of Dunderrow Cumann na mBan.

The title quote on the cover book’s cover, Don’t forget me now, is in her handwriting and taken from a letter she wrote in her military service pension application. ‘It was a natural progression from researching my own family during the War of Independence to my locality during that time,’ remarked Shannon. ‘I was conscious that there was a severe dearth of information on what was going on in the Kinsale district 100 years ago – primarily because of the assumption that Kinsale was ‘inactive’ due to the large

Military Garrison and pro-British population. Indeed, things were not so black and white in Kinsale, and behind the veil of a pro-British population were hundreds of men and women pledged to an independent Ireland. It was a great injustice that most of their names had disappeared from the local War of Independence narrative.’ In addition to telling the volunteer’s story in Kinsale, Innishannon, Ballinspittle and Ballinhassig, Shannon recounts the story of local women who played their part in the struggle. ‘The participation of local women stood out to me, and it became clear that their roles were just as significant, often as dangerous, as any of their male comrades. One can only imagine the consequences for these young women had the authorities unearthed their activities. Without understanding the participation of women, then only half the story of the period finds a voice.’

Shannon Forde graduated from Maynooth University with a BA in Civil Law and History (BCL) (2018) and later completed an MA in Irish History, Maynooth University (2019).

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