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Collins has ‘em singing 100 years later

by Jimmy Rhatigan
Pics by Donal Foley

IT WAS poignant; it was a history lesson of sorts but most importantly, it commemorated the death of a great leader and Irish man.

Thanks to the brilliance of The Kilkenny Historical Re-enactment Group, John Joe Cullen and his merry men, the ceremony was as near as makes no difference to the real thing at Béal na Bláth on August 22, 2022.

That the Kilkenny commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Michael Collins, Chairman of the Provisional Government and Commander-in-chief of the National Army was on Sunday, August 21 mattered not a hoot.

What did matter was that it was a well-organized and respectful tribute and thanks to astute planning and interesting amateur acting the Kilkenny Castle Park event was a fitting throwback to a fateful day that still courts controversy.

The props were convincing too, an old army vehicle, similar to the one in which Collins was travelling when his convoy was attacked, along with an old style motor bike that also fitted the bill. 


That circa 1,000 turned up to the Kilkenny County Council- promoted ceremony was proof positive that Collins is still in the hearts of many Irish men and women.

Local thespian Gerry Cody, resplendent as he peeped out over what we might call his de Valera-type specs was an excellent master of ceremonies, aided and abetted by Donal Croghan.

There was a minute’s silence and the Last Post and Reville were played by a lone piper. 

Spectators had a role in the alfresco spectacular too. They joined in the singing of Amhrán na Bhfiann, a poignant finale on a sun-kissed afternoon.

Public representatives Pat Fitzpatrick and David Fitzgerald spoke and laid wreaths.

It may not have been a case of dancing at the crossroads, but talented girls Kate Flanagan and Lauren Scallan from The Kilkenny Academy of Irish Dancing played their parts in an afternoon that began at 4.10pm and finished at 5.15pm.

It was short and sweet, but bloody impressive too. 

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