EASTER SUNDAY marks the commencement of the East Clare Memorial Committee’s second century of commemorations.
The group, who have annually commemorated both the East Clare IRA and Scariff Martyrs across the last 100 years, have once again planned to remember those who fought for Irish independence.
At the East Clare Memorial Park in Tuamgraney, where the East Clare IRA and Cumann na mBan Brigades are commemorated, a wreath will be laid at 10.00am. This year, Chairman of the West Clare Brigade Commemoration Group, JT Larkin, will be called on to perform the ceremonial duty.
Larkin will lay a wreath in honour of the West and East Clare IRA Brigades who combined in April 1921 to attack the heavily militarised town of Kilrush. In April 2021, members of the East Clare Memorial Committee travelled to West Clare to acknowledge the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Kilrush Ambush.
At the ground of Scariff Roman Catholic Church, a wreath will be laid at the grave of the Scariff Martyrs, Michael ‘Brud’ McMahon, Alphie Rodgers, Martin Gildea and Michael Egan. The four men were shot dead by British forces on Killaloe Bridge in November 1920. The historian, Dr Tomás Mac Conmara published his seventeen-year research, The Scariff Martyrs, War, Murder and Memory in East Clare, into the story in September of last year, which has ignited significant interest in the story across East Clare and beyond.
The Memorial Committee have arranged for the family of Paddy McDonnell to lay a wreath for the occasion. McDonnell was a native of Kiltea in Tuamgraney and was a senior IRA Volunteer during the revolutionary period. For over two years, Paddy was ‘on the run’ during which time his home was raided over fifteen times by Crown Forces. It was eventually burned down by members of the RIC, Black and Tans and Auxiliaries in late 1920. On the night that the bodies of the four Scariff Martyrs were brought back to Scariff Church, Paddy, against the advice of his comrades, went in secret to the church to see the remains of his friends. Decades later he descried the condition of their bodies in an interview with Ernie O’Malley. On Easter Sunday, his oldest son, Aindréas MacDómhnaill will perform the wreath laying duty in memory of his father, who died in Nenagh in 1962. Patrick Murphy, a member of the Tulla Pipe Band will continue a tradition, reaching back over fifty years, of leading the commemorations at both Tuamgraney and Scariff.
The Chairman of the East Clare Memorial Committee, Cllr. Pat Hayes (FF) emphasised the importance of continuing their annual commemoration, “We have said for many years that while the landmark occasions are important, we are committed to remembering the men and women who fought for this country’s independence ever year. We have been overwhelmed by the meaning that the people who we invite gain from the simple process of laying a commemorative wreath. It is their chance to honour their family members who they are rightly proud of. It also helps us to learn more about the period and the various characters that make up the story of our past”.
The East Clare Memorial Commemorations will take place in Tuamgraney at 10.00am and outside Scariff Church at 11.30am. For more information, call 087 9160373.