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27 Sept 2022

Tipperary marks centenary of Crown Forces leaving for good

More than 150 people braved the cold and wet conditions in Nenagh on Sunday afternoon last to attend an event hosted by the Tipperary in the Decade of Revolution history group which marked the departure of more than 3,000 members of the Crown Forces - the British army, the Royal Irish Constabulary and Black and Tans - from more than 100 barracks across Tipperary.

Events were held in both Nenagh and Templemore last Sunday to mark the departure of the soldiers of the Northamptonshire Regiment from the former Richmond Barracks - now the Garda Training College - in Templemore and the North Staffordshire Regiment from the military barracks at Summerhill, Nenagh.

Those attending the Nenagh event took part in a parade from Banba Square to Summerhill where a ceremony was held at the barracks.

This saw the lowering of the Union flag by ONE member Thomas Maguire and the hoisting of the Tricolour by descendants of those who had performed the same historic ceremony one hundred years earlier on February 14, 1922.

The national flag was raised by John Lawlor, a grand-nephew of Capt Terence Byrne who took over Nenagh military barracks on behalf of the fledgling new State, and Una Walsh, a niece of Capt Tom Walsh from Kyle who led the local Tipperary contingent that occupied the barracks.

Describing the historic events in Nenagh which were being remembered, John Flannery of Tipperary in the Decade of Revolution Group spoke of the tragic Civil War that was to come and which would claim the lives of both Byrne and Walsh, as it would two others in a photo of the party which occupied the barracks, fighting on the anti-Treaty side, Comdt Jimmy Nolan and Vol Thomas (Laddie) Hayes.

A splash of colour was added to the event by the presence of members of ONE (Óglaigh Naisiúnta na hÉireann) - the organisation of retired members of the Defence Forces - who led the large crowd in the parade from Nenagh’s Banba Square to the now derelict barracks.

Members of Enniscorthy Historical Re-Enactment Group attended in uniforms and carrying weapons from the period.
Both groups stood to attention while the Last Post was sounded in remembrance of all those killed in the War of Independence and Civil War.

ONE veteran Seán Ó Foghlú from Puckane remembered Mick McMahon, another of young volunteers involved in the events of 100 years ago.

Cllr Michael O’Meara, cathaoirleach of Nenagh Municipal District, also spoke at the event, thanking all those who contributed to event and praising the work of Tipperary in the Decade of Revolution who prepared the excellent 50-page booklet marking the centenary of the evacuation of Crown Forces from Tipperary.

The group had staged a hugely impressive programme of events over the past few years and Tipperary County Council were happy to have been able to support their work, he said.

Tipperary in the Decade of Revolution is a period-specific as well as a county historical society.

It comprises a small group of local historians working to create an awareness of the events which impacted on life in County Tipperary during Ireland’s revolutionary period 1914-1924.

They work with local historical societies, Tipperary County Council, Comhaltas Ceoltórí Éireann, the GAA and others to bring awareness of events back to the communities where history was created. Its aim is to remember the people involved in what were frequently bloody events that shaped this critical period in our county’s history, as Ireland struggled to assert its independence from empire and build a nation.

They do this through our annual programme of events to remember specific episodes or people, as well as lectures and publications.

Tipperary in the Decade of Revolution is non-political and non-partisan in outlook, believing that its task is to ensure that as many as possible who were involved in, or affected by, the events of the revolutionary period are remembered. It wants to neither glorify nor vilify the generation involved, but to tell the story of their activities in accordance with the referenced evidence, and to remember them appropriately and with the respect they deserve for what they have given us.

Contributing historians include John Flannery, Maura Kiely, John Connors, Noreen Higgins McHugh, Des Marnane, Caitlín White, Ger Heffernan, Sean Hogan, Margaret Kennedy and Neville O’Connell.

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