Tipp monument to birth of Tricolour


HIDDEN GEMS:EVERY DAY of the year a simple and dignified ceremony honouring the Tricolour takes place in the Commons, Co Tipperary.

The village claims that the green, white and orange flag was first raised there in 1848, and today it is home to the National Flag Monument.

Getting there isn’t easy; it’s about 30km from Thurles, on the southern side of the M8 Dublin-Cork motorway, and way off the beaten track.

The flagpole rises from a crossroads next door to the post office and Webster’s Bar and Lounge. A large stone monument marks the site where leaders of the Young Ireland movement first flew the flag during their ill-fated rebellion in 1848.

They had gathered in the Commons “for the last time” on July 28th, but the following day their rebellion ended “in a fatal engagement” nearby, and the leaders were forced into exile.

Among them was Thomas Francis Meagher, who presented the Tricolour to the Irish people and said: “The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the orange and the green, and I trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood.”

Every morning the flag is raised and every evening it is lowered by a local volunteer. The rarely-seen ceremony is currently performed by John Webster, a carpenter. He says he is delighted to be able to “honour our national flag which is part and parcel of our history”.

The crossroads is further embellished by a memorial to John Joe Barry, a local athlete nicknamed “the Ballincurry Hare”, who achieved fame during the 1940s; and by a plaque honouring Larry Wall-Fitzpatrick, “a man of song, traditional music, and master fiddler” and a star of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Do you know of a hidden gem? E-mail us at go@irishtimes.com