A number of important remembrance events will go ahead, thanks to financial support, writes Jackie Keogh
THE Cork County Commemoration Fund has made numerous allocations to community groups in West Cork for projects in 2021.
The fund was set up in recognition of the importance of the War of Independence and Civil War and acknowledges this period of Irish history.
Among the recipients is the West Cork History Festival, which was allocated €1,000 toward the cost of its August 6th to 8th programme.
The festival will have two interconnected themes this year – the Decade of Centenaries and Ireland and Empire – and will consider local events in 1921, and also the larger context of partition and the foundation of the State.
The Ballydehob Jazz Festival Committee has been awarded €2,500 towards ian outdoor multi-media performance of Loch Trasna – The Roaring Water Suite.
The suite draws inspiration from the War of Independence, Pat Killmallock McCarthy who fought at Kilmichael Ambush, Helena Hegarty the formidable captain of the Schull Cumann Na mBan, the daring raid on The Fastnet Lighthouse, and the tragic death of Pat Deasy.
The Bantry Development and Tourism Association has been allocated €1,300 towards restoring plaques at the old Courthouse at Wolfe Tone Square.
The plaques commemorate local men of the Irish Republican Army who lost their lives in various actions throughout West Cork during 1920-1923. Meanwhile, Bantry Historical Society is to receive €1,700 for the provision of a memorial plaque honouring Col Joseph O’Reilly, who lived at Chapel Street, Bantry, and worked as a weaver in the local mill, now occupied by Bantry Library.
Joseph Reilly was Bantry’s link with GPO Dublin in 1916 and subsequently worked for Michael Collins.
The Bere Island Projects Group is to get €2,000 for a plaque to commemorate the centenary of the Bere Island Internment Camp. From February to December 1921, an internment camp was in operation on the island at the site of the present-day military barracks at Rerrin.
As one of Ireland’s three Treaty ports, the military base at Fort Berehaven was handed back to the Irish government in 1938. The base is still used by the Irish Defence Forces for training purposes.
In a separate project, the Projects Group is making a film on the history of the internment camp on Bere Island, and the unveiling of this plaque will form part of the film. The film will be available to view on the island website, social media channels, and in the island’s heritage centre.
One of the more unusual projects to receive funding is the Flying Column Re-enactment Group, which is to receive €4,000 towards the cost of making a number of short films commemorating local volunteers who played a significant role in the War of Independence. The organisers said the project will include volunteers of every denomination and will be non-political. The group has already hired local historical writer Lar McCarthy to write the scripts.
In fact, Lar McCarthy is to receive €1,250 towards the costs of his 30-minute radio play about Father O’Connell of Enniskeane parish, the same priest who heard the confessions of the men before the Kilmichael ambush. He also buried the three dead after the ambush.
The Kilmurry Historical and Archaeological Association will use its €1,000 towards the cost of producing a collection of local stories about how the War of Independence and its impact on the region. The same organisation is to be allocated €1,750 for another project, an exhibition entitled Dying for an Ideal – the Parallel Hunger Strikes in Cork’s Men’s Gaol and Brixton Prison in 1920.
It will feature the stories of more than 80 eighty men who participated in the hunger strike in Cork Gaol in 1920.
Three Cork men –Terence MacSwiney, Michael Fitzgerald and Joe Murphy – died. Many strikers were deported to England before being brought back to Cork to face a court martial, and some of the strikers were under 18 years of age.
Macroom’s Kilmurry Historical and Archaeological Association is to receive €1,000 for a treaty exhibition because this period of Irish history has a particular resonance for the local community. The exhibition will include artefacts, pictures and documents telling the story of the involvement of people with Kilmurry connections, in events and negotiations leading up to the Treaty and the Civil War.
Rosscarbery and District Historical Society is to receive €1,500 for a commemoration plaque to mark the centenary of the raid by the West Cork Brigade on Rosscarbery Barracks in March 1921. A total of 11 officers were killed in that assault. In the Bandon-Kinsale Municipal District, the Sean Hales Centenary Project will benefit from €3,800. The money will be used to restore and clean the existing national freestanding and finely crafted marble and limestone monument of Sean Hales TD, which was erected in 1930.
The committee is also proposing to host two commemorative events, including a wreath-laying ceremony and a major commemoration event in December 2022. A booklet about the life of the patriot will also be produced.
Dunmanway is to get €4,500 towards the cost of a documentary by Spica 3 Productions. Forget not the Boys is a documentary about the Kilmichael ambush of 1920, and the men who participated in the ambush. A re-enactment of the ambush will also be included in the production.