The Plaque was unveiled by Paddy Butler, Ann Walsh & Anthony Butler
On Sunday last, 27th August, the community of Ballingarry, along with descendants, as well as representation from serving Irish Defence Force personnel and veterans, lead by Major General Kieran Brennan, and many guests came together to unveil a fitting tribute to the 80 individuals who participated in World War 1 from the Ballingarry area.
The proceedings commenced with a moving ceremony in The Church of the Assumption, celebrated by Fr. Derry Quirke, with Rev. Victor Fitzpatrick from the Kilcooley and Fertagh Parish in attendance, who were lead into the church to Amazing Grace played by Ger Neville from the Moycarkey Pipe Band.
The ceremony began with the presentation of individual White Crosses by a family member to the altar with the names of the 78 Soldiers, 1 Chaplain and 1 Nun, with young people from the parish reading out each name.
Fr. Derry Quirke gave an amazing account of experiences these soldiers would have encountered on the Front and the most moving moment was when he ‘blew a whistle’ to replicate the indication for the soldiers to ‘Go over the Top’ out of the trenches, to almost certain death.
The choir’s participation in the church enhanced the ceremony, a fitting tribute to Sr. Teresa Walsh who fulfilled her final duty as choir organist as she moves to Clonmel this week and a lovely presentation of flowers was made to Sr. Teresa Walsh by Fr. Derry Quirke and Kitty Norton on behalf of the parish in appreciation of her work in the community.
The reflection ‘Road to Eternity’ following communion was read by Carmel O’ Brien. The congregation was lead from the church to the unveiling to ‘Going home’ played again by piper Ger Neville.
Chairman Martin Maher opened the unveiling ceremony by welcoming everyone and introduced Dr. Thomas McGrath, local historian who gave a fascinating account of the involvement of the individuals commemorated on the plaque, highlighting the numbers killed between 1914-1918, with August 1917 having the highest number of casualties from the Ballingarry area.
He also linked significant historical events such as the Battle of the Somme with Patrick Delaney killed on 1st July 1916, the first day of the battle.
The plaque was then unveiled by brothers and sister Paddy and Anthony Butler and Ann Walsh who are sons and daughter of William Butler, Boulea who survived the War and died of his wounds in 1957.
The bugler played a fanfare as the plaque was unveiled.
Rev. Victor Fitzpatrick read a blessing and Fr. Derry Quirke blessed the plaque. Major General Kieran Brennan laid a laurel wreath and addressed the gathering thanking the committee for the invitation to himself, his wife Marie and his comrades in attendance on the day.
He gave a very fine account of what War means and spoke about the continued peace keeping mission of the Irish Defence Forces in places like The Lebanon, Goa and Mali as well as assisting local communities in times of need such as the flooding in Donegal last week.
He commended the committee for the excellent plaque unveiled and suggested that a plaque such as this should be in every parish in Ireland.
Anthony Ivors, The Commons who had raised the tri-colour at the 1848 Monument for many years, was then invited to raise the tri-colour and the bugler played the poignant ‘Last Post’ before Amhrán na bhFiann was played by the piper.
MaryAnne Maher read ‘In Flanders Fields’, after which a lament was played by the piper.
Chairman Martin Maher noted that another important event is due to take place in the parish on 30th September next with the National Famine Commemoration being held in The 1848 Warhouse.
He then thanked everyone for their attendance and participation on the day and everyone was invited for refreshments to the local Community Centre.
The committee is extremely grateful to the Community Centre committee and their volunteers who catered to a large crowd, who enjoyed the afternoon.