All things Irish, from sport to funerals

GAA programmes and medals - and Parnell’s funeral bill - in auction of historical memorabilia

 

In one of the most famous of all GAA encounters, Cork, with star players including the late Jack Lynch and Jim Young, beat Dublin to win the All-Ireland Hurling Final in 1944.

It was the county’s fourth successive victory and hurling’s first four-in-a-row. A copy of the highly prized programme for the match, estimated at €350-€500, is among a big selection of GAA memorabilia in Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers’ fascinating sale, A Gathering of All Things Irish.

Viewing begins at the Clyde Court Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin tomorrow afternoon and the auction takes place there on Tuesday, July 23rd, at 10.30am.

In the GAA medals section, highlights include a 9ct gold medal awarded to a member of the Kildare team that beat Kerry in the 1905 All-Ireland Football Final (€2,000-€3,000).

In all, some 950 lots of historical and sporting memorabilia and rare books, including many first editions, go under the hammer.

Among the historical memorabilia is correspondence relating to the funeral of Charles Stewart Parnell, which seems to show that his political friends haggled for a price cut on his funeral expenses.

The Wicklow-born 19th-century campaigner for Home Rule, who founded and led the Irish Parliamentary Party in Westminster and was known as “the uncrowned King of Ireland”, died, aged 45, in Brighton on October 6th, 1891.

Parnell’s remains were brought back to Ireland and his funeral, to Glasnevin cemetery, was attended by an estimated 200,000 people. It was one of the largest funerals ever seen in Dublin.

Fanagan’s Funeral Establishment of Aungier Street, Dublin duly sent a bill for 52 pounds, eight shillings and two pence “for funeral expenses of the late Charles S Parnell MP” to party officials at 43 Upper O’Connell Street. They, however, appear to have ignored it.

Haggling over the bill
Almost two years later, an MP for the party, Tim Harrington, wrote to Fanagan’s offering only £35.

Finally, in October 1893, the Irish Parliamentary Party paid Fanagan’s the sum of £40 to settle the matter. The undertakers duly issued a receipt to Dr St Lawrence Ffrench-Mullen, a party activist.

The documents, on illustrated, headed notepaper from Fanagan’s, have been consigned by a private collector and the estimate is €300-€400.

Auctioneer George F Mealy said it was “interesting that the Irish Parliamentary Party was not above bargaining about the costs of its late leader’s funeral”.

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