Local GAA Clubs Unite in Bloody Sunday Commemoration in Castleisland

Pictured after the Bloody Sunday Centenery ceremony at the Church of Saints Stephen and John in Castleisland on Saturday evening were: Fr. Mossie Brick, PP Castleisland with front from left: Nora Fealey, parish office; Thomas Culloty, Scartaglin GAA Club and Joan Walsh, sacristan. Back: Richard O’Donoghue, Cordal GAA Club; Deacon Thady O’Connor, Noreen O’Sullivan, parish clerk and Angela Ring O’Donoghue, Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club. ©Photograph: John Reidy 21-11-2020
The magnificently lit Church of Saints Stephen and John in Castleisland for Saturday evening’s Bloody Sunday commemoration which brought together the three local GAA clubs. ©Photograph: John Reidy
The Kerry People reporting on tragic events in Ballymacelligott in its issue of November 13th 1920

The centenary of one of the bloodiest, darkest days in the history of Ireland’s war of independence against the forces of the crown was commemorated In Castleisland on the actual date of its occurrence yesterday.

However, today marks the day so appropriately named ‘Bloody Sunday’ ever since.

Special Commemoration

In a special commemoration at the Church of Saints Stephen and John on Saturday evening, Fr. Mossie Brick, PP was joined by representatives of the three local GAA clubs: Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club; Cordal GAA Club and Scartaglin GAA Club.

Four commemorative candles, one each, were lit by: Angela Ring O’Donoghue, Desmonds; Richard O’Donoghue, Cordal; Thomas Culloty, Scartaglen and one by parish clerk Noreen O’Sullivan to commemorate the civilian casualties on that day 100 years ago.

Newly Illuminated Parish Church

The ceremony was conducted in the fantastically and newly illuminated parish church.

The spire of the church has been expertly picked out by a set of three well directed and powerful spotlights and is now a focal point in the area for miles around.

This at a time when light and symbolism is as much needed as on any of the dark days such as the one commemorated under Covid-time restrictions within.

Casting light on the illumination, Noreen O’Sullivan told of a shop local process where the lighting and all the material was supplied by O’Brien Lighting and the installation work was done by David ‘Dago’ Fleming and Tim Broderick.

Fr. Mossie Brick’s Oration

As part of the ceremony, Fr. Brick delivered the following oration to the three club representatives and church staff.

A microcosm of the War of Independence, the events of Bloody Sunday on 21st November 1920 marked a decisive turning-point in Irish history.

In Croke Park, the Dublin and Tipperary football teams lined out for a great challenge match. Spectators filled the grounds, completely unaware that the RIC were mobilising, intent on carrying out an act of deadly retribution for the earlier assassinations of British intelligence agents by Michael Collins’ Squad.

Shots Rang Out

Ten minutes into the game, shots rang out. The firing lasted for 90 seconds, killing 14 civilians and injuring 60 more.
Later that evening, the killing of two high-ranking Dublin IRA officers, Dick McKee and Peadar Clancy, and Irish language enthusiast, Conor Clune, in Dublin Castle brought the tragic day to an end.
Celebrating Ireland’s national games and how the GAA has contributed to our cultural, social and sporting heritage is at the heart of everything we do.

Remembering Bloody Sunday is therefore of utmost importance to us and we invite you to remember it with us through this small act of remembrance here tonight.”

The clubs’ representatives then read their contributions and lit the candles.

Reader 1. Angela Ring O’Donoghue, Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club

Tonight we remember the men, women and children who lost their lives on Bloody Sunday in furthering the ideals of the Gaelica Athletic Association. May they rest in eternal peace.

Reader 2. Richard O’Donoghue, Cordal GAA Club

We also remember the livin. For GAA people everywhere, may they continue to be loyal to the ideals of the association. The same ideals that inspired the Bloody Sunday victims. That they may inspire them in the continuing progress of modern-day community wellbeing.

Reader 3. Thomas Culloty, Scartaglin GAA Club

For our St. Kieran’s communities in Ballymacelligott, Brosna, Castleisland, Cordal, Currow, Knocknagoshel and Scartaglin in these strange and testing times. May they remain strong and resiliant in the face of the virus, while we look forward to a happy, holy and safer Christmas and New Year and a swift return to the playing fields.

Reader No. 4 Noreen O’Sullivan, Castleisland Parish Clerk.

This candle is lit in memory of the many who died that day and were not part of the game.

The Kerry People November 13th 1920

However, not all the action of the time was confined to Dublin that November.

Earlier that month a Castleisland man, Michael Brosnan of Close and others were shot dead in Ardfert. And just over a week before the Bloody Sunday massacre in the capitol, The Kerry People newspaper reported in its edition of November 13th 1920 of an ‘operation’ in Ballymacelligott.

Under the head-line: Two Young Men Shot Dead and a sub-head ‘NON-OFFICIAL’ the report is as follows:

“Operations were transferred on Ballymacelligott on Friday.

Many lorries of uniformed men visited the district and the wildest rumours were set afloat in Tralee as to the various happenings there.

At the time on writing, news of a definite character has been received that two young men were shot dead and two wounded at Ballydwyer Farmers’ Creamery.

It appeared that a number of lorries, five or six, drew up outside the creamery.

They entered and held up everyone inside, Two young men names (John) McMahon and (Paddy) Herlihy were told to run, and while doing so were shot dead.

A young man named (Tim) Walsh, aged 18 years was wounded and expected not to recover, while the hand was shot off a young man named Jack McEllistrim.

The manager, Mr. Byrne also got the order to run but refused.”

See How the BBC News Reported on the Centenery This Week

Have a read of how the BBC News website reported yesterday on the event in which the IRA, the RIC and its wings, the Black and Tans and the Auxiliary force all played their deadly parts in that now infamous episode in Irish history. Click here: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54908852

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