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  • Northside West

Special day at Glasnevin Cemetery

Thursday, 5th September, 2019 7:59am
Special day at Glasnevin Cemetery

Geraldine Dalton, Great Grandneice of General Collins and her son Joseph Williams pictured with the iconic Sliabh na mBan armoured car.

Special day at Glasnevin Cemetery

Geraldine Dalton, Great Grandneice of General Collins and her son Joseph Williams pictured with the iconic Sliabh na mBan armoured car.

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MINISTER for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan, Chairman of the Collins/Griffith Commemoration Society, William Lavelle, and Chairman of Glasnevin Trust John Green, led proceedings at the recent 97th annual Collins/Griffith commemoration at Glasnevin Cemetery.

The event, one of the oldest commemorations in the history of the State, was marked by the raising of the of the National Flag at the Sigerson Monument by the Defence Forces.

There was also a wreath laying ceremony at the grave of General Michael Collins by Minister Madigan, the grave of Arthur Griffith by Cllr Colm O’Rourke (FG), and the grave of Eamonn Duggan by Cllr Sarah Reilly (FG).

The annual oration at the graveside of Michael Collins was given by author and journalist, Justine McCarthy.

The ceremony also heard a reading of the Declaration of Independence of the First Dáil from John Stanton, and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil by Seamus Scally, both of the Collins/Griffith Commemoration Society.

The longstanding tradition of prayers at the graveside, which dates back to 1923, was led by Geraldine Dalton.

Speaking at the event Minister Madigan said it was important that we continue to remember the contribution made by Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith, in guiding Ireland’s path to independence.

“This year marks the centenary of the foundation of Dáil Éireann, one of the most significant events in the Decade of Centenaries,” the minister said.

“We recall the immense contribution that both men made as members of the Dáil and the Cabinet.

“This commemoration provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon that contribution to our enduring parliamentary tradition.”

Following the wreath laying ceremony and readings, a minute’s silence was held.

This was followed by the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille.

To close the commemoration, the National Anthem was sung A Capella by soprano Sarah Bass.   

 Speaking at the event, William Lavelle said the Collins/Griffith Commemoration Society had been organising this annual commemoration for 97 years.

“Nearly a century after their deaths, it is only right that we continue to mark the lives and legacies of Collins and Griffith, two towering heroes who paved the way for independent Irish state,” he added.

The Irish Defence Forces also participated in the commemoration ceremony, with the iconic Sliabh na mBan armoured car on display.

The Sliabh na mBan formed part of the General Michael Collins’ convoy, which was ambushed on the 22nd of August 1922, at Béal na mBláth in West Cork, resulting in the tragic death of General Collins.

Commenting on the day’s events Chairman of the Glasnevin Trust, John Green, said it was important that as a nation, we continue to recognise the greatness of two great Irish legends, Collins and Griffith.

“The impact of these two great figures in Irish history is immeasurable; both made invaluable contributions which ultimately made Irish independence possible,” he continued.

“Although they had their differences initially, they were ultimately brought together by the Anglo-Irish Treaty, of which they were both signatories.

“It’s quite moving to think that just two weeks before Collin’s funeral, he was giving a speech at Griffith’s grave.

“It’s an honour to be able to remember and pay homage to them here today at their final resting place.”

The ceremony took place on August 18. Photos:  Iain White/Fennell

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