Knocknagoshel Monument Unveiled Only Last November !
A memorial stone to one of the darkest events in the history of our country has been destroyed in an attack which has provoked a response peppered with strong language.
Locals and organisers are considering offering a reward for information to find those responsible for the act of thuggery which knocked the head off the solid, three-inch-thick slab.
Crowd of 200
The unveiling of the stone on the Sunday afternoon of November 17th 2013 drew an estimated crowd of 200 people around the quiet Talbot’s Bridge area of Knocknagoshel in the townland of Ballyduff. The work on the stone and its anchoring at the bridge cost in the region of €1,000 at the time. Now, just five months later, comes this act of indescribable visciousness which has left the locals angry and hoping that those responsible will be caught.
The stone was erected and unveiled to the memory of five National Army or Free State soldiers who lost their lives after being lured to the site of a land-mine just up the hill from the road on March 6th 1923. The atrocity led, a day later, to the massacre of Ballyseedy – one of the most notorious events from that bloody chapter in Irish history.
The act of the unveiling and its aftermath drew an emotional response from the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD on the day.
Admired & Appreciated
Mr. Deenihan – departing from his scripted delivery – pointed out that Paudie Fuller – a son of the sole survivor of Ballyseedy, Stephen Fuller – was in attendance. It was a gesture which Mr. Deenihan said he greatly admired and appreciated.
The emotion of the day and Mr. Deenihan’s gesture also, clearly got the better of Mr. Fuller. The former Fianna Fail member of Kerry County Council stood at the back of the crowd.
“Paudie Fuller has done more than any other man in North Kerry to bring us all together and his bravery and generosity in being here today is something we all appreciate,” said Mr. Deenihan to an outburst of spontaneous, warm applause.
“I would like, in the first instance, to thank Ben Brosnan, Knocknagoshel and Jimmy Thompson from Scartaglin and Kilkennyman Larry Cummins for their initiative in arranging this appropriate tribute and providing this memorial to the five members of the National Army who were killed here by a trap mine in March 6th 1923,” said Minister Deenihan on the occasion. He went on to name those killed : Private Laurence O’Connor, Lissycurrig, Causeway;
Captain Edward Joseph Stapleton, Dublin; Captain Michael Dunne, Dublin; Lieutenant Patrick O’Connor, Castleisland and Private Michael Galvin, Killarney and he also remembered Private Joseph O’Brien who lost his limbs on that occasion.
Gardaí from Listowel
There are marks on the broken slab and Gardai from Listowel have examined the damage done and the area around it.
Now the committee members, whose work was admired and praised on that Sunday afternoon in November, are left picking up the pieces – quite literally and hoping that those responsible will be caught.
The contact number for the Knocknagoshel Garda Station is 068-46102. The Garda Confidential Line Number is: 1 800 666 111 – ©John Reidy – The Maine Valley Post