Dead of first World War and Clontarf remembered at ceremony in Dublin

Three faiths, including five Christian denominations, led prayers

There was a special emphasis on Irish people who died in the first World War during the National Day of Commemoration ceremony at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin yesterday.

In the presence of President Michael D Higgins, members of the Government, diplomatic corps, judiciary, Defence Forces and Irish war veterans, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "It is fitting that we remember here today all those Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations. This year in particular we remember all those who died in the Great War."

More than 200,000 Irishmen fought and about 35,000 died in that conflict.

Three faiths, including five Christian denominations, led prayers “each according to their own tradition”, as the Taoiseach put it.


Rabbi Zalman Lent, representing Ireland’s Jewish community, prayed: “Let us never forget the sacrifice of those who served and fought so boldly for justice, freedom and for the dignity of the human race.”

Rev Dr Heather Morris of the Methodist Church in Ireland prayed for: "The healing of relationships between nations divided by hostility." Romanian Orthodox Fr Godfrey O'Donnell, president of the Irish Council of Churches, prayed: "We remember in different voices, from different perspectives . . . show your mercy to all."

History of conflicts

Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Right Rev Dr

Michael Barry

said: “We recall that our history is marked with conflicts. In this year we especially remember the Battle of Clontarf and the beginning of the first World War.”

The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Most Rev Michael Jackson, read from the Revelation of St John the Divine, while Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, Eamonn Walsh, recited Our Father in Irish followed by a closing prayer and joint blessing by the Christian clergy.

Final prayers were by Imam Sheikh Hussein Halawa of the Clonskeagh mosque in Dublin who sang verses from the Koran. His son Ibrahim (18) has been in prison for 11 months in Egypt and is to face trial there on unknown charges on Wednesday. "Let the strong show mercy to the weak," his father prayed in Dublin yesterday.

At the Taoiseach's invitation President Higgins laid a laurel wreath, followed by a minute's silence, the firing of a canon, and a rendering of the Last Post.

The Tricolour was raised and Reveille was sounded as four Air Corps planes flew past.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times