Relatives remember Skibbereen patriot

July 30th, 2016 7:15 AM

By Southern Star Team

Breeda Cahalane, Peter McCourt and Cathy Cahalane pictured at the family get-together for relatives of the 1916 patriot Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin which was held at Skibbereen Heritage Centre on Friday night last. Cathy has done a huge amount of research on Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin and has produced a ver

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SKIBBEREEN Heritage Centre hosted a pleasant evening of reminiscence, nostalgia and chat when relatives of the 1916 patriot Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin gathered there recently.

The get-together was organised to coincide with a visit to West Cork by the Skibbereen man’s grandson, Peter McCourt, from Canada. The evening was an unqualified success and was greatly appreciated by all those who attended, some of whom had travelled quite a distance for the occasion.

Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin, from Coolnagarrane, Skibbereen, hoisted the Tricolour over the GPO in Dublin on Easter Monday 1916. 

He played a very significant part in the fight for Irish independence and during that turbulent decade or more from 1913 on he was one of the most influential figures in the Irish Volunteers. 

As part of the centenary celebrations for 1916, the Heritage Centre dedicated a special panel in its exhibition hall to the memory of the Skibbereen man, and also organised this special get-together for relatives of Gearóid.

Terri Kearney, manager of Skibbereen Heritage Centre, welcomed the large attendance. She introduced Peter McCourt, grandson of Gearóid, who was the special guest for the evening. Peter spoke about his grandfather and said how pleased he was to meet so many of his relatives from West Cork, many of them for the first time.

There was a very impressive collection of memorabilia and photographs dealing with the life and times of Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin on display.

Cathy Cahalane, a relative, has carried out extensive research on the genealogy and family story of Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin and has produced a very valuable body of work.

Philip O’Regan of Skibbereen Heritage Centre has an article on the life of Gearóid published in this year’s Skibbereen and District Historical Society Journal, which is available in many outlets around West Cork.

On Monday, August 22nd, as part of Heritage Week, Philip will give a talk on the life of Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin. That talk will take place at conference room at Credit Union House, Main Street, Skibbereen, and booking is essential, at Skibbereen Heritage Centre, 028-40900.

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