The Centenary Bridge
1916 and the Glin Connection
When the Irish Government announced plans to commemorate the 1916 Rising, it stated that the Commemoration of 2016 would belong to everyone on this island, to our friends and families overseas, regardless of political or family background or personal interpretation of our modern history.
0n Easter Monday last, the 28th of April when John Anthony Culhane , Chairperson of Glin Development Association welcomed a large crowd of people to the opening of the Centenary Bridge in the Town Park in honour of all those who were involved in the Rising of 1916, he reminded us that ceremonies of commemoration were happening all over the world and it was important that we in Glin also commemorate this historical occasion. In a time of reconciliation and remembrance the people of Glin honoured two native sons, Constable James OBrien and Irish Volunteer Eamonn Dore.
James O’Brien was the first person killed in the 1916 Rising in Dublin. He was born in Ballybeg, Kilfergus, Glin, and joined the Dublin Metropolitan Police in 1895. On Easter Monday, April 24th 1916 he was shot and killed by Seán Connolly, leader of a group of Irish Citizen Army men and women, who had come from Liberty Hall to seize Dublin Castle.
Eamonn Dore was born in 1886 at Main Street, Glin. He fought alongside many of the rebel leaders in the GPO during Easter Week 1916, including Pearse, Connolly and Clarke.
Following the Rising, Eamonn Dore was detained in British internment camps with many other Irish Volunteers including Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera. He was released in January 1917 and later married Nora Daly, sister of Ned Daly and sister-in-law of Tom Clarke, both executed for their part in the Rising.
Also remembered was Michael OConnor from Ballyhahill, who was an innocent victim of the Rising when he was shot near the Phoenix Park in Dublin. He is buried in Kilfergus Cemetary beside Constable OBrien.
Proceeding began with Enya Mc Intyre reciting the poem ‘Mise Eire’and The Proclamation of the Irish Republic was read by Rosha Mc Intyre from Ballyguiltenane National School. The song ‘Grace’ written about Grace Gifford who married Joseph M Plunkett a few hours before his execution in Kilmainham Jail was beautifully sung by Leo Buckley of St Fergus National School, Glin and young Sean Adams read his own composition, Eiri Amach 1916 as gaeilge.
Garda Billy McElligott addressed the gathering on behalf of the Garda Siochana and local councillor, John Sheahan,in his address reminded us that one hundred years on we still had work to do to fulfil the words of Padraig Pearse.
A poem written by local artist Val OShaughnessy encapsulated the ideal behind the whole ceremony.
If I was asked to choose between one good man and another……I would not choose.
Instead, I would stand shoulder to shoulder and be……….
a listening ear,a compassionate heart,a grounding presence.
I would be a bridge,I would bridge the divide.
We can be bridges over troubled waters.
Think of the flow, the eternal letting go
Nourishing us and soothing the passage of time.
Wherever you go; be a bridge.
Special guests, Mairead Dore, daughter of Eamonn Dore, and Gus OConnor, grand nephew of James OBrien, unveiled an interpretive board and two plaques on the footbridge. A special welcome was extended to Mairead Dore and her niece Rianach Campbell who made the trip from the commemorative ceremonies in Dublin that morning to be present.
Glin Development, Glin Historical Society, Glin Comhaltas , the children and teachers from the local schools, sponsors and all those in attendance were thanked for their help and support in organising the event. A special mention was made to Glin ICA and Glin Homes who served up a wonderful array of refreshments to the large and very appreciative crowd who gathered in Clover Field Daycare Centre afterwards.
After a blessing from Fr. Tom Crawford P.P. the footbridge was officially named ‘The Centenery Bridge’ in honour of all those men and women that dared to dream that one day the Irish Republic would stand among the nations of the world. Sean O hEalaithe of Glin Comhaltas lead the large crowd in a rousing rendering of Amhran na bhFiann.