First fatalities of the Easter Rising remembered in Ballykissane
Three Irish Volunteers drowned when their car went off the pier in Co Kerry
Three Irish Volunteers who were the first three fatalities of the Easter Rising were commemorated in Co Kerry on Thursday morning.
They were on their way to Cahirciveen to seize the wireless station at Valentia Island with a view to transmitting a series of false signals which would fool the Royal Navy into believing that a German attack on Scottish naval bases was imminent. It was hoped that such a move would allow the Aud, the German ship carrying arms for the Irish Volunteers, to proceed unmolested through Irish waters.
A wreathlaying ceremony took place at the exact spot where 100 years previously, the driver Tommy McInerney took a wrong turn in Killorglin and proceeded to the pier. It was night and the Briscoe car had only a single headlamp. McInerney mistook the reflection of the pier in the moonlight for a bridge and realised too late that they were going straight into the water. McInerney survived the tragedy.
Speaking at Ballykissane pier, Con Keating’s niece Kay Keating said the three men were remembered with “love and gratitude” by those who knew them.
“As we all gather here today we say a prayer for the souls of Tommy McInerney, Dan Sheehan, Charlie Monahan and Con Keating. May they rest in peace.”
A wreath was laid by Cllr Pat McCarthy, the chairman of Kerry County Council on behalf of the people of Ireland. He recalled that the tragedy of Ballykissane pier had wider significance because it influenced the decision by Eoin MacNeill to issue a countermanding order stopping the Rising going ahead.
Later on Thursday, the biggest centenary event outside Dublin takes place at Banna Strand when President Michael D Higgins will lay a wreath in memory of Sir Roger Casement who landed there on April 21st, 1916 from a German submarine and was arrested.
He was later hanged for treason in Pentonville Prison.