1921 Volunteer Denis Broderick Remembered at O’Brennan and Ballycarty

Guest speaker, Martin Ferris pictured at the grave of Volunteer Denis Broderick who was commemorated on the centenary of his death by his nieces and nephews, from left: Helen O’Connor, Tralee; Denis Broderick, Currow; Mr. Ferris, Donie Broderick, Kilcummin; Sheila O’Connor, Castleisland; Mary O’Connor, Scartaglen and Kathleen Spillane, Castleisland. Photograph: John Reidy
Family members at the Monday evening wreath laying ceremony in memory of centenary of the death of Volunteer Denis Broderick at Ballycarty Cross. Included are from left: Terry O’Connor, grandnephew, Castleisland; Kathleen Spillane, Castleisland and Helen O’Connor, Tralee nieces; Donie Broderick, Kilcummin and Denis Broderick, Currow, nephews; Sheila O’Connor, Castleisland niece and Terence O’Connor, Castleisland, nephew. Photograph Courtesy of Eamon Ó Braoin.

Former Sinn Féin TD for Kerry, Martin Ferris said he was honoured to be asked to speak at the graveside of IRA Volunteer, Denis Broderick from Cragg, Castleisland at O’Brennan Cemetery last Sunday at noon.

Denis Broderick was shot and killed at Ballycarty Bridge on Tuesday, May 24th 1921.Under the command of the Tom McEllistrim and John Cronin led Kerry No 2 Brigade of the IRA.

He was a mere 24 years of age when he died on active service that May evening a century ago.

A White Wooden Cross

A white wooden cross in his memory can be seen at Ballycarty still today and his grave at O’Brennan has been restored in honour of the sacrifices he and his comrades made in those terrible times.

“People like Denis Broderick don’t wake up one morning and decide to become a gunman or a bomber. They were driven to it by a policy of constant harassment by an army of occupying forces of British soldiers, black and tans and auxiliaries,” said Mr. Ferris.

No Freedom and No Rights

“They had no freedom and no rights and it’s the men like Denis Broderick that we can thank today for what we have.

“The day will come, and it will come sooner than many of us think, when we will be able to stand at graves like this when the job they started will be completed.

“These men and their families made huge sacrifices in the cause of freedom in their day. They gave up everything – as Denis did.

Dreadful Effect on Family

“His death at such a young age had a dreadful and lasting effect on his family. As usual, in these cases, his parents felt the brunt of his death most and his mother suffered a complete breakdown and had to be taken into care as she was unable to cope with the burden of her son’s death in such a manner.

“The life-long suffering and dreadful pain endured by parents and siblings after these tragedies is often not fully understood,” said the former republican prisoner and politician.

Nieces and Nephews

Mr. Ferris was then asked to lay a wreath on the grave – which he did with military bearing.

The ceremony was attended by Volunteer Denis Broderick’s nieces and nephews: Helen O’Connor, Tralee; Kathleen Spillane and Sheila O’Connor, Castleisland; Denis Broderick, Currow; Mary O’Connor, Scartaglin and Donie Broderick in Kilcummin.

Monday Afternoon Memorial

There was also a memorial, wreath laying ceremony on Monday evening on the Castleisland to Tralee Road at the aforementioned cross to the memory of Volunteer Broderick and close to where he fell on that fateful night 100 years ago this week.

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