Kerry Ciarraí

Kerry Skelligs

From 1915, Kerry was central to plans for the Rising. In autumn of that year Austin Stack, the leader of the Volunteers in Kerry and a member of the IRB was informed by PH Pearse of the plans for the Rising. Arrangements were being made for an arms shipment from Germany to arrive in Tralee Bay on Easter Sunday 23 April 1916.

Ó 1915 ar aghaidh, bhí baint lárnach ag Ciarraí leis na pleananna don Éirí Amach. I bhfómhair na bliana sin, chuir Pádraig Mac Piarais na pleananna don Éirí Amach in iúl do Austin Stack, ceannasaí na nÓglach i gCiarraí, agus comhalta den IRB.

The Aud, with its cargo of arms and ammunition, arrived in Tralee Bay on 20 April, Holy Thursday, instead of Easter Sunday, and nobody was there to meet it. The ship waited until early Good Friday morning by which time it attracted the attention of HMS Bluebell. A chase took place culminating in the scuttling of the ship in Cork harbour. The guns and munitions destined for the rebels are still at the bottom of Cork harbour.

Sir Roger Casement had been in Germany since 1914 organising this shipment of arms, amongst other supports. He arrived in Tralee Bay on board a German U-boat around midnight on Holy Thursday. Shortly after landing he was arrested by the RIC and brought to Ardfert barracks. Later that day, Good Friday, he was brought to Tralee barracks and on the morning of Holy Saturday he was transferred from Tralee, via Dublin, to London. The failure to land the arms and Casement’s arrest had a significant impact nationally, leading to Eoin MacNeill’s countermanding order calling off the Rising.

By this stage, however, the first casualties of the Rising had already taken place in Kerry. On Good Friday evening three men drowned at Ballykissane pier near Killorglin: Con Keating from Reenard, Co. Kerry; Charles Monahan from Belfast; and Domhnall Sheehan from Limerick. The men were on active service, engaged on a special mission direct from G.H.Q. in Dublin, to retrieve wireless equipment from the Atlantic Wireless College in Caherciveen.

Austin Stack was arrested on the afternoon of Good Friday in Tralee RIC Barracks. He was transported on Holy Saturday to Cork leaving Tralee and Kerry without a leader for the rebellion. On Easter Sunday , despite the setbacks of the previous days, the Kerry Volunteers mobilised in Tralee. Contingents arrived from throughout the county over the course of the day. Dingle, Boolteens, Churchill, Cahirciveen, Ballymacelligott and Tralee were all represented with a total of 316 men. Before any action could t ake place, news arrived in Tralee of the order countermanding the rebellion, and the men dispersed later that day.

The countermanding order had the effect of confining the Rising largely to the Dublin region when it started the next day. But even so, Kerry still had a role to play in national events. The responsibility for informing the outside world of the events in Dublin fell, in part, to two brothers at Valentia Island cable station, Tim and Eugene Ring. On Easter Monday they sent a coded message to John Devoy, the Clan na nGael leader in New York: ‘Mother operated on successfully today’, signed ‘Kathleen’. Both men were subsequently arrested. The cable had come via Rosalie Rice in Kenmare, and she too was jailed.

Kerry people played their part in the Rising outside of the county as well. Thomas Ashe, a native of Kinard, was arguably the most successful commandant of the rebellion. He achieved his objective and was the last one to surrender. The role of Ashe and his men was to ‘disrupt and destroy enemy communications in north Co. Dublin’. He adopted guerrilla tactics with his men winning a major victory at Ashbourne, Co. Meath. Ashe was sentenced to death, but this was later commuted to penal servitude.

Four Kerrymen died during the course of the Rising in Dublin. They were Patrick O’Connor from Rathmore, Patrick Shortis from Ballybunion, Michael Mulvihill from Ballyduff and The O’Rahilly.

The most famous of these, Michael Joseph O’Rahilly of Ballylongford, was a founding member of the Irish Volunteers. It was he, as Director of Arms, who organised the landing of arms at Howth in 1914. He was not, however, a member of the IRB and, like Casement and MacNeill, had strong reservations about the timing of the Easter Rising. Indeed he spent much of Easter weekend driving throughout Munster attempting, with some success, to prevent the mobilisation of men. Nonetheless he did play an active part in the Rising in Dublin. He fought in the rebel headquarters in the GPO and was shot dead in the Moore Street area shortly after evacuating. Yeats’ poem remembering The O’Rahilly famously attributes to him the words, ‘Because I helped to wind the clock / I come to hear it strike.’

Kerry’s Commemorative Programme

Kerry’s 2016 commemorations program will showcase the aforementioned. The commemorations program offers people the opportunity to learn more about the Rising in Kerry and those involved in Ireland’s fight for freedom.

Community consultation in Kerry showed a strong desire to ensure the commemorations are an honest reflection of life in Kerry at the time. People who attended the meetings want future generations to understand the context which brought about the Rising, to value the Irish Flag and the peace it represents, to look at the values endowed to all Irish citizens in the Proclamation, for arts and creativity to be central to the program.

Kerry County Council’s main program focuses on the historical events and figures that played a key role in the Rising. There will be a ceremonial event at Banna Strand at 11 a.m on April 21st to commemorate Sir Roger Casement. We will also have a smaller ceremonial event at Ballykissane pier at 7a.m. to commemorate the first casualties of the Rising.

An exhibition on the life of Sir Roger Casement; a Revolutionary Journey at Kerry’s County Museum, will be officially opened on April 21st. Casement’s international contribution as a humanitarian is still relatively unfamiliar to many outside of the academic world. His experiences in the Congo and the Amazon are recorded in the exhibition which will touch upon the big themes of the period – imperialism, the scramble for Africa, global capitalism and its effect on indigenous people, geo-politics and the build-up to the outbreak of war in 1914. This is a global story that will resonate not only with Irish people but with all of our international visitors.

Kerry County Council and the Ring family are organising a commemorative plaque for the Ring Brothers on Valentia Island. Dingle Library intends to place on permanent display a collection of memorabilia of Tomas Ashe, which was donated by his family to the library.

There will also be a series of lectures in libraries across Kerry on Kerry figures involved in the Rising, and the role of women in the Rising.

Towns and villages across the county are arranging lectures, recitals, readings, performances, exhibitions and walks to reflect on the Rising, the past hundred years and to look to the values of the Proclamation and the future for the next generations in Kerry. The program will be open to everyone; valuing the true meaning of Republicanism: as of the people, by the people and for the people.

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Bhí socruithe á ndéanamh chun airm a sheoladh ón nGearmáin a bhainfeadh Bá Thrá Lí amach Domhnach Cásca, an 23 Aibreán 1916. Bhí ar Stack agus Óglaigh Chiarraí na hairm a fháil agus a scaipeadh i measc Óglaigh Chiarraí, an Chláir, Chorcaí, Luimnigh agus na Gaillimhe.

Tháinig an long, ar ar tugadh an Aud, ar a raibh lastas airm agus armlóin i dtír i mBá Thrá Lí ar an 20 Aibreán, Déardaoin Mandála, seachas ar Dhomhnach Cásca agus ní raibh duine ar bith ann chun casadh leis an long. D’fhan an long go dtí tráth luath maidin Aoine an Chéasta ach bhí aird an HMS Bluebell tarraingthe aici faoin tráth sin. Chuaigh an Bluebell sa tóir ar an long agus, ar deireadh, rinneadh scuitleáil ar an long i gcuan Chorcaí. Chuaigh na gunnaí agus na muinsin a bhí le tabhairt do na reibiliúnaigh go tóin poill i gcuan Chorcaí.

Bhí Ruairí Mac Easmainn sa Ghearmáin ó 1914 ar aghaidh, agus seoladh na n-arm seo agus t acaíochtaí eile á n-eagrú aige. Tháinig sé i dtír i mBá Thrá Lí ar bord U-bhád Gearmánach thart ar mheán oíche Déardaoin Mandála. Go gairid ina dhiaidh sin, ghabh Constáblacht Ríoga na hÉireann (RIC) é agus tugadh é a fhad le beairic Ard Fhearta. Níos déanaí an lá céanna, Aoine an Chéast a, tugadh é chuig beairic Thrá Lí agus maidin Shathairn Naofa, aistríodh é ó Thrá Lí, trí Bhaile Átha Cliath, go Londain. D’imir an teip ar na hairm agus gabháil Mhic Easmainn tionchar mór go náisiúnta, agus tharla gur thug Eoin Mac Néill freasordú chun an tÉirí Amach a chur ar ceal.

Faoin tráth seo, áfach, bhí na chéad daoine san Éirí Amach tar éis bás a fháil i gCiarraí cheana féin. Tráthnóna Aoine an Chéasta, bádh triúr fear ag cé Bhaile Uí Chíosáin i ngar do Chill Orglan: Con Keating ón Rinn Aird, Contae Chiarraí; Charles Monahan ó Bhéal Feirste; agus Domhnall Sheehan ó Luimneach. Bhí na fir ar seirbhís ghníomhach, fostaithe go díreach ón gCeanncheathrú i mBaile Átha Cliath ar mhisean speisialta chun trealamh gan sreang a fháil ó Choláiste gan Sreang an Atlantaigh i gCathair Saidhbhín.

Gabhadh Austin Stack tráthnóna Aoine an Chéasta i mBeairic RIC Thrá Lí. Iompraíodh é Satharn Naofa go Corcaigh, agus fágadh Trá Lí agus Ciarraí gan cheannasaí don éirí amach. Domhnach Cásca, in ainneoin na moille a bhí á cur le roinnt laethant a anuas, thionóil Óglaigh Chiarraí i dTrá Lí. Tháinig grúpaí ó áiteanna fud fad an chontae i gcaitheamh an lae. Tháinig go leor daoine ón Daingean, na Buailtíní, Cathair Saidhbhín, Baile Mhic Eileagóid agus Trá Lí agus bhí 316 fear ina measc. Sula bhféadfaí t abhairt faoi ghníomh ar bith, bhain nuacht faoin ordú a thug freasordú don éirí amach Trá Lí amach, agus scaip na fir ní ba dhéanaí an lá sin.

Ba é an tionchar a d’imir an freasordú ná go ndearna sé an tÉirí Amach a theorannú go mór chuig réigiún Bhaile Átha Cliath nuair a thit sé amach an lá dar gcionn. Ach ina ainneoin sin, bhí ról le comhlíonadh ag Ciarraí fós féin in imeachtaí náisiúnta. Bhí beirt deartháireacha, Tim agus Eugene Ring, ag stáisiún cábla ar Dhairbhre freagrach as an domhan mór a chur ar an eolas faoi na himeacht aí i mBaile Átha Cliath. Luan Cásca, sheol siad teachtaireacht chódaithe chuig John Devoy, ceannasaí Chlann na nGael i Nua- Eabhrac: B’éard a deir an teachtaireacht ná ‘Mother operated on successfully today’ sínithe ’Kathleen’. Gabhadh an bheirt fhear ina dhiaidh sin. Tháinig an teachtaireacht chábla trí Rosalie Rice i Neidín, agus cuireadh ise chun príosúin chomh maith.

Bhí ról ag muintir Chiarraí san Éirí Amach lasmuigh den chontae chomh maith. D’fhéadfaí a rá go raibh Thomas Ashe, dúchasach de chuid Chinn Aird, ar an gceannfort ba rathúla san éirí amach. Bhain sé a chuspóir amach agus bhí sé ar an duine deireanach a ghéill. Ba é ról Ashe agus a bhfear ná chun ‘cur isteach ar chumarsáid an namhad i dtuaisceart Chontae Bhaile Átha Cliath agus an chumarsáid sin a mhilleadh’. Ghlac sé le teaicticí treallchogaíocha agus bhain a fhir bua mór amach i gCill Dhéagláin i gContae na Mí. Bhí Ashe faoi phianbhreith an bháis, ach athraíodh seo ní ba dhéanaí go pianseirbhís.

Fuair ceathrar Ciarraíoch bás i gcaitheamh an Éirí Amach i mBaile Átha Cliath. Ba iad siúd Patrick O’Connor ón Ráth Mór, Patrick Shortis ó Bhaile an Bhuinneánaigh, Michael Mulvihill ón mBaile Dubh agus Laoch Uí Rathaille nó ‘The O’Rahilly’.

Ba chomhalta bunaidh Óglaigh na hÉireann an duine ba cháiliúla de na daoine seo, Michael Joseph O’Rahilly ó Bhéal Átha Longfoirt. Ba eisean, agus é ina Stiúrthóir Arm, a d’eagraigh teacht i dtír arm ag Binn Éadair in 1914. Níor chomhalta den IRB é, áfach, agus fearacht Mac Easmainn agus Mac Néill, bhí amhras mór air faoi thráthúlacht Éirí Amach na Cásca. Go deimhin, chaith sé go leor de dheireadh seachtaine na Cásca ag tiomáint ar fud Chúige Mumhan agus iarrachtaí á ndéanamh aige, ar éirigh leo go pointe áirithe, chun cosc a chur ar fhir a earcú. Dá ainneoin, ghlac sé páirt ghníomhach san Éirí Amach i mBaile Átha Cliath. Throid sé i gceanncheathrú na reibiliúnach in Ard-Oifig an Phoist agus maraíodh é tar éis gur lámhachadh é i gceantar Shráid an Mhúraigh go gairid i ndiaidh dó aistriú amach ón Ard-Oifig. Sanntar na focail a leanas go clúiteach dó i ndán de chuid W.B. Yeats i gcuimhne Laoch Uí Rathaille, ‘Because I helped to wind the clock / I come to hear it strike’.

Clár Comórtha Chiarraí

Déanfar sárthaispeántas i gclár cuimhneacháin Chiarraí 2016 ar an méid thuasluaite. Tugann an clár cuimhneacháin an deis do dhaoine níos mó a fhoghlaim faoin Éirí Amach i gCiarraí agus fúthu siúd a ghlac páirt i gcomhrac na hÉireann chun an tsaoirse a bhaint amach.

Thaispeáin comhairliúchán pobail i gCiarraí gur rí-mhian le daoine go ndéanfaidh na cuimhneacháin léiriú ionraic ar an saol i gCiarraí ag an tráth sin. Teastaíonn ó dhaoine a d’fhreastail ar na cruinnithe go dtuigfidh an ghlúin amach anseo an comhthéacs as ar eascair an tÉirí Amach, go mbeidh luach acu ar Bhratach na hÉireann agus ar an tsíocháin a chuireann sí in iúl, go gcaithfidh siad súil ar na luachanna a bhronntar ar gach saoránach Éireannach san Fhorógra agus go mbeidh baint lárnach ag na healaíona agus an chruthaitheacht sa chlár.

Díríonn príomhchlár Chomhairle Contae Chiarraí ar na himeachtaí stairiúla agus na daoine a ghlac príomhpháirt san Éirí Amach. Beidh imeacht searmanais ar siúl ag Trá na Beannaí ag 11 a.m. an 21 Aibreán chun comóradh a dhéanamh ar Ruairí Mac Easmainn. Anuas air sin, beidh imeacht searmanais níos lú ar bun ag cé Bhaile Uí Chíosáin ag 7 a.m. chun comóradh a dhéanamh ar na chéad daoine a fuair bás san Éirí Amach.

Osclófar taispeántas ar shaol Ruairí Mhic Easmainn go hoifigiúil an 21 Aibreán ag Músaem Contae Chiarraí, Sir Roger Casement; a Revolutionary Journey. Is beag cur amach go fóill atá ag daoine lasmuigh den saol acadúil ar rannchuidiú idirnáisiúnta Mhic Easmainn mar dhaonnúlach. Tugtar cuntas ar a eispéiris sa Chongó agus san Amasóin sa taispeántas, a bhainfidh le téamaí móra na tréimhse – an t-impiriúlachas, an streachailt don Afraic, caipitleachas domhanda agus an tionchar a imríonn sé ar dhaoine dúchasacha, geopholaitíocht agus an tréimhse a fhad le tús an chogaidh i 1914. Scéal domhanda é seo a mbeidh ní hamháin Éireannaigh in ann dáimh a bheith acu leis, ach gach duine dár gcuairteoirí idirnáisiúnta.

Tá plaic chomórtha á heagrú ag Comhairle Contae Chiarraí agus muintir Ring in ómós Dheartháireacha Ring ar Dhairbhre. Tá sé ar intinn ag Leabharlann an Daingin bailiúchán d’earraí cuimhneacháin ar Thomas Ashe, a thug a mhuintir don leabharlann, a chur ar buantaispeáint.

Anuas air sin, beidh sraith léachtaí ar siúl i leabharlanna ar fud Chiarraí ar mhuintir Chiarraí a ghlac páirt san Éirí Amach, agus an ról a bhí ag mná san Éirí Amach.

Tá léachtaí, ceadail, léamha, léiriú, taispeántais agus siúlóidí á n-eagrú ag bailte agus sráidbhailte chun machnamh a dhéanamh ar an Éirí Amach, na céad bliain atá imithe thart agus chun súil a chaitheamh ar luachanna an Fhorógra agus ar an todhchaí don chéad ghlúin eile i gCiarraí. Beidh an clár oscailte do gach aon duine; agus léireoidh sé fíor-chiall an Phoblachtachais: de réir na ndaoine, ag na daoine agus ar son na ndaoine.

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