Fingal to remember Battle of Ashbourne as part of Rising events

Battalion had decisive impact in one of few 1916 battles outside Dublin

Fingal County Council has unveiled a comprehensive centenary programme centred around the Battle of Ashbourne which occured during Easter Week 1916.

Ashbourne was one of the few places outside Dublin where engagements took place. Eight RIC men and two IRA members were killed when the RIC men resisted attempts by the Irish Volunteers to seize the barracks in Ashbourne on April 28th, 1916.

The raid on the barracks at Ashbourne was carried out by men from the 5th battalion (Fingal Brigade) of the Irish Volunteers led by Thomas Ashe, who was a teacher in Rush when the Rising broke out.

Activities surrounding the Battle of Ashbourne will take place next weekend.

The military historian Paul O’Brien will give a lecture on the Battle of Ashbourne at Ardgillan Castle, Balbriggan on Saturday, March 5th at 11am.

On March 6t, a Fingal Memorabilia Day will take place at the Bracken Court Hotel in Balbriggan. The public are invited to bring memorabilia along.

Fingal County Council chief executive Paul Reid said 1916-related events have already been "hugely well attended" with more than 100 people in attendance at an oral history event last week. There have also been two similar oral history events.

Mr Reid said the themes of the commemoration would be respectful, remembering all those who died including the RIC men in the Battle of Ashbourne.

“There is a strong sense of pride and connection with the 5th battalion led by Thomas Ashe,” he said.

“From our perspective it is a really big initiative . We are putting a lot of time and money into it. There is a huge connection with Fingal. It has really struck a chord with people. They want to tell the story in a different way.”

A reenactment of the battle and a wreathlaying ceremony takes place on Easter Monday, March 28th, 2016. The other big ceremony for Fingal will be on Sunday, April 24th, the chronological start of the Rising. There will be a a parade, bands, re-enactments and the launch of a public arts project in Swords Castle.

Fingal 1916 co-ordinator Eithne Mallin, who is a relative of executed Easter Rising leader Michael Mallin, said the council wished to have a distinctively different commemoration to Dublin City Council.

They have chosen the bicycle as a symbol of remembrance as it was the way that most people got around 1916. Consequentally, a mobile exhibition featuring bicycles as art groups will be unveiled in April.

“We have been blown away by the response. The stories we have heard have been extremely meaningful to those involved. We are trying to get the community to maximise their efforts and to become involved,” she said.

“We’re here to support the stories of the public. We want them to bring their heritage to the table.”