Resting-place of Red Hugh
Madam, - I read with interest Martin McGinley's Irishman's Diary of September 10th about Red Hugh O'Donnell, Marcas Ó Murchú's search for his remains and his intention to erect a commemorative plaque.
Mr McGinley omitted to mention, however, that a splendid plaque is already in place at Simancas Castle, location of Red Hugh's death. Its unveiling in 1991 was the centrepiece of the celebration of an Irish Week in Valladolid, organised in the context of a teacher exchange by my exchange partner, Pilar Salamanca, and myself. This bronze plaque was funded by the Department of the Taoiseach (then Charles J. Haughey), designed by Ciarán O'Connor and Gerard O'Sullivan, architects of the Office of Public Works, and cast by Palmer Brothers of Dublin.
It depicts the O'Donnell coat of arms and bears the following inscription (also in Spanish): "Ar an 10ú lá de Mheán Fómhair 1602 fuair Aodh Rua Ó Domhnaill, Prionsa Thír Chonaill, bás sa Chaisleán seo i Simancas agus é ar a bhealach go Valladolid le cabhair mhíleata bhreise a lorg ar Rí Pilib III taréis briseadh chath Chionn tSáile in Éirinn ar fhórsaí na Spáinne agus na hÉireann ag arm Shasana."
The plaque was unveiled by the late Don Leopoldo Ó Donnell, Duke of Tetuan, in the presence of Nuala Ní Dhomnaill, collateral descendant of Red Hugh, the late Micheline Kerney Walsh, distinguished historian of the Wild Geese, and others attending the Irish Week. The conclusion of the ceremony, when the strains of "O'Donnell Abú" rendered by Barry Carroll and his group of Irish musicians wafted through the sunlit courtyard of Simancas Castle on that May day in 1991, provided a moving and unforgettable moment. - Yours, etc,