Monument to Irish patriots to be erected in Rosscarbery

O’Donovan Rossa, Michael Collins and Tom Barry all linked to Co Cork community

A monument commemorating three Irish patriots, including Michael Collins (above), is to be unveiled next month in the West Cork parish of Rosscarbery. File photograph: Walshe/Getty Images

A monument commemorating three Irish patriots, including Michael Collins (above), is to be unveiled next month in the West Cork parish of Rosscarbery. File photograph: Walshe/Getty Images

 

A monument commemorating three Irish patriots is to be unveiled next month in the West Cork parish where the men were either born or grew up.

Rosscarbery plans to mark the decade of centenary commemorations by erecting a monument to Fenian Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa and War of Independence heroes Michael Collins and Tom Barry.

James Ronan of the Rosscarbery National Monument Committee explained that the unveiling of the monument next month will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the death of O’Donovan Rossa.

“It’s probably a fair assumption to claim that no other Irish parish has given more patriots to the cause of Irish freedom than Rosscarbery and of this, we are justifiably proud,” he said.

Mr Ronan said most people are aware of O’Donovan Rossa’s links with the parish, the Fenian was born there in 1831, and that many would also know Mr Barry grew up in Rosscarbery.

“Tom Barry’s father was from Rosscarbery -he was an RIC man and he was stationed in Killorglin in Co Kerry when Tom was born but he returned to Rosscarbery and Tom grew up in the village.

“What probably a lot of people don’t know though is that Michael Collins was also born in the parish - at Woodfield near Sam’s Cross which is also part of Rosscarbery so he too was a Ross man.”

Apart from their Rosscarbery connections, all three are linked in other ways with Mr Collins being a central link to O’Donovan Rossa, who emigrated to America, and to Mr Barry who died in 1980, he said.

It’s reported that Mr Collins arranged the filming of O Donovan Rossa’s funeral at Glasnevin on August 1st 1915 when Padraig Pearse delivered his famous “The Fools, the Fools, the Fools” oration.

Some 50 years later in 1965, Mr Barry, who took the republican side in the Civil War against Mr Collins, unveiled a monument at Sam’s Cross to his old comrade from the War of Independence.

Mr Ronan said one of the interesting features of Mr Collins’s life was that he spent both the first and last days of his life in Rosscarbery as he visited the parish on the day he was killed at Béal na Bláth.

“There is actually a local woman, Hannah Murphy of Cross Street in Rosscarbery who is 104 years old and she remembers seeing Collins in Rosscarbery on the morning of August 22nd 1922,” he said.

A carved stone monument remembering all three men will be unveiled in the Square in Rosscarbery on June 28th the day before the centenary of O’Donovan Rossa’s death on Staten Island in New York.

The sculpture, comprising a standing stone and a laying stone from a local quarry in Rosscarbery, is designed by Cork County Council architect Giulia Vallone and features images of the three men.

“This will be a unique monument as it will be the only one of its kind, bringing all three men together for the first time and it will be a fitting tribute to their memory,” said Mr Ronan.

Cork County Council has granted aid the project to the tune of €7,400 but the Monument Committee have appealed to the public for help to raise the balance of the €15,000-€20,000 cost.

Anyone who wishes to assist or wishes to find out more about the project can do so by visiting www.rosscarbery.ie/rnm or www.odonovanrossacentenary.ie.