Balbriggan & District Historical Society Commemorative Seminar ‘Éirí amach na Cásca Is Cuimhin Linn’

May 12, 2016 0

Balbriggan & District Historical Society held it’s Commemorative Seminar Éirí amach na Cásca Is Cuimhin Linn on Saturday 7th May. The day opened with a welcome from President of the society Tony McNamara and then was launched by Mayor of Fingal Cllr David O’Connor, a longterm supporter of our society, who praised the varied programme and reminded us that he would be back in Balbriggan for the unveiling of the Sinéad Ní Fhlannagáin De Valera plaque on Sunday.

We then enjoyed 5 brilliant talks both on the local and national experience in 1916. Bairbre Curtis  spoke about The 1916 Rising in Fingal, The Fingal Brigade and the employment and military situation in Balbriggan at the time which would have discouraged people from getting involved, at least publicly. Liz D’Arcy took us through the painstaking skilled process in conserving an original copy of the Proclamation.  The results of her work on the Proclamation donated by the family of Elizabeth O’Farrell to Dublin City Archives is on display in City Hall at present.  Jimmy Wren, Author of The GPO Garrison Easter Week 1916, told the story of many of these men in his talk , including Mayo born Charles McMahon who  served in the GPO aged 11, was shot in the head in 1921 during the war of Independence, then went on to win an All Ireland Hurling Medal with Dublin in 1938.

The afternoon began with excellent speaker Sean Collins on the topic of The Easter Rising in Louth and Meath, and the Francis Ledwidge poem about it which he wrote while serving with the British Army in WW1. As with everywhere else  difficulties in communication and confusion over countermanding orders played a huge part in the story.

The last talk was  Sinéad Ní Fhlannagáin (Bean De Valera), daughter of Balbriggan and 1916 by Micheál MacMathúna. Micheál has done comprehensive research on her life, her devotion to the Irish Language, and her writings but in this talk he concentrated on what her life was like in the 1916 period,  when her husband was fighting or in jail or in America, which he was for much of the time. Three of her children were sent to live with their aunt in Balbriggan for a year from 1916 to 1917. A brilliant day concluded with the reading of the Proclamation from local students Ruth Guildea and Daniel O’Driscoll.