The King of all Birds
Photo: Chris Grayson
It’s That Time of Year
It’s THAT time of year.
The Kerry flags are out for the All Ireland Final. The children are back in school and Moriarty’s are putting up the lights for the Harvest Festival. And it’s still only August.
The Convent Bell
The old bell from The Presentation Convent has been installed at St. Mary’s Church.
“At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them”
We remembered them; soldiers of WW1 on Saturday August 24 2019 in Ballydonoghue, Co. Kerry.
In a moving ceremony organised by Ballydonoghue Parish Magazine Committee, their descendants and friends remembered the young men from the parish who soldiered in that “war to end all wars”.
Many of those who served in the British Army came home to a very changed North Kerry, where the upsurge in republican feelings meant that they dare not speak of their ordeals in the trenches and where their heroism and sacrifice were never celebrated.
When I arrived in Lisselton, preparations were in full swing. The National flag was at half mast and local people and participants in the pageant were arriving. Stevie Donegal was setting up the sound system, David Kissane was setting up his ladder in order to get a good vantage point to record the event for posterity, Noelle and Kate were preparing grub in the catering tent, Colette was making sure everyone had their lines.
Jim Halpin’s list of soldiers had pride of place. Many stopped to read the names and to talk about men they remembered. It was strangely reminiscent of pictures we are used to seeing of people in towns in England scanning the lists of the fallen that used to be displayed publicly after battles.
On Saturday August 24th 2019 children from local schools read out the names of the fallen and then, one by one descendants and relatives of some of the Ballydonoghue soldiers told us of their exploits in foreign fields. As well as the British Army, many fought in the US army or with the Australian army.
Some of the soldiers were remembered in great detail. Some memories were more sketchy as people struggled to remember relatives who rarely spoke about this part of their lives. We also remembered those who didn’t make it back to North Kerry and those who have no relatives left here to remember them. The day was spiced and made more poignant with songs and poems.
Then it was time to lower the flags and play The Last Post. Tom Dillon, our MC, told us that the Last Post is played at close of day to signal that the soldier’s work is over, he has done his duty.
A wreath was laid, the flags were lowered, we observed a minute’s silence, the piper played Reveille the national flag was raised, we sang the national anthem and the colour party was led by the lone piper back down the lane from whence they came. It was a very moving ceremony and a credit to all the organisers and participants.