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A quiet commemoration for Headford Ambush centenary

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HISTORIC: Committee members from l-r: Dr Tim Horgan (Historian), Derry Healy, Mike Scannell, Tina Healy, Liz Spillane, Seamus Moynihan and Jimmy Kelly met at 3pm on Sunday to mark exactly one hundred years since the Headford Ambush.

 

By Michelle Crean

It may not have been the event they had originally planned but members of the Headford Ambush Commemoration Committeee quietly marked the centenary on Sunday.
At 3pm, approximately the time the ambush began one hundred years ago, the Headford Ambush committee, which included Dr Tim Horgan (Historian), Derry Healy, Mike Scannell, Tina Healy, Liz Spillane, Seamus Moynihan and Jimmy Kelly, gathered to remembered lives lost.

It was a poignant visit as not only was a bigger event postponed due to current COVID restrictions but for the first time the names of the volunteers who took part in the ambush are inscribed on plaques in the monument.

The Ambush on British troops at Headford, near Glenflesk, was carried out on March 21, 1921, by 33 members of the Kerry IRA No. 2 Brigade Flying Column. It was the largest ambush in Kerry during the War of Independence.

13 died – eight British soldiers, two IRA volunteers Dan Allman and Jimmy Baily, and three cattle dealers.

A three-year-old girl was also badly wounded in both legs when a bullet passed through her father's leg as he sought to shelter her.

The attack, led by Dan Allman and Tom McEllistrim, targeted a detachment of British troops due to return by train from Kenmare to Tralee. Allman, along with Jimmy Baily, died in the attack. McEllistrim went on to be a Fianna Fáil TD.

[caption id="attachment_36659" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] RELATIVES: Tina Healy, Listry points out her two relatives, Dan Allman and Dan Healy on the plaque at the Headford Ambush Monument.[/caption]

The Headford Ambush was one of the largest engagements of the whole conflict and was certainly the largest engagement between British forces and the IRA to take place in Kerry during the War of
Independence.

In October, €10,000 was given to the local commemoration committee from the Government to help renovate the existing monument, which was erected in 1971 and had fallen into disrepair. Extensive work has also been done to landscape the whole monument site which is located about 300 yards from where the actual ambush took place.

"It was important we met on the day socially distanced to mark the occasion," committee member Derry Healy told the Killarney Advertiser.

"We had 11am Mass at Barraduff Church and Fr George Hayes prayed for those involved and lit a candle which he brought down to the site. Originally we had a great day planned, we'd big plans including a marquee, old memorabilia, signs and different things we never had before, so it was disappointing."

 

 

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Killarney co-drivers to the fore at this weekend

Two Killarney-based co-drivers will contest this weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the fourth rounds of the British Rally Championship. The two-day event gets underway tonight (Friday) with one stage set to be run under the cover of darkness. On the startline will be Muckross man Noel O’Sullivan and Aghadoe’s Mikie Galvin. O’Sullivan, co-driver to Welshman Osian […]

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Two Killarney-based co-drivers will contest this weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the fourth rounds of the British Rally Championship.

The two-day event gets underway tonight (Friday) with one stage set to be run under the cover of darkness.
On the startline will be Muckross man Noel O’Sullivan and Aghadoe’s Mikie Galvin.

O’Sullivan, co-driver to Welshman Osian Pryce, is the current leader of the series while Galvin, who reads pacenotes for fellow Killarney and District Motor Club member, West Cork’s Keith Cronin, is eighth after missing the opening round.

“The element of darkness certainly brings an additional challenge to all the crews, especially since most of us will not have done any night stages for some time, the most recent I did was in 2017 on the Ulster Rally,” Cronin noted.

The route layout reads like an extract from the itinerary of the World Championship counting RAC Rally of the 1980s, featuring familiar locations such as Dalby, Gale Rigg and Langdale, and it will be the Dalby Forest test that opens the competition shortly after 8pm tonight.

Meanwhile, Irish rallying returned last Sunday after the pandemic-enforced lay-off with the ‘Munster Car Club’s Cork 20’.

London-based Listry co-driver Shane Buckley was the best of the local entrants, guiding Daniel Cronin, Keith’s brother, to fifth overall.

Ger Conway and his driver Stephen Wright were just two places and 8.9 seconds behind in another Ford Fiesta RC2. It was Conway’s first taste of a RC2 car since he and Rob Duggan finished second overall on the 2018 Donegal International Rally.

“There is a taste of more after this,” said Ger after a trouble-free day.
Damien Fleming came close to making it four local co-drivers in the top 10. He and his driver Stephen McCann were 11th, just 16.6 off the leader board. They said it took a while to get used to the bumpy Irish tar after a recent trip to the Tour of Flanders in Belgium.

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Education Minister officially opens The Mon’s new classrooms

A town primary school – which has a deep connection to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty – has a whole new look which was officially opened today (Friday) by the Minister for Education. Norma Foley TD officially opened the newly constructed wing to the Presentation Monastery Primary School on New Road which will house two special needs classrooms, a multi-sensory room […]

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A town primary school – which has a deep connection to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty – has a whole new look which was officially opened today (Friday) by the Minister for Education.

Norma Foley TD officially opened the newly constructed wing to the Presentation Monastery Primary School on New Road which will house two special needs classrooms, a multi-sensory room and a general-purpose hall.

The project, which was funded by Department of Education along with money raised by the school as part of their ‘THE MON-ster Fundraiser’, was just one of three officially opened new additions to the school along with a special dedication of the school’s hall in honour of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a past pupil of the school from 1909-1914.

Also, The Most Rev. Ray Browne, Bishop of Kerry, officially opened a three-classroom extension at the school’s present site which was opened in 1958 having moved from its College Street location which was opened in 1838 by the Presentation Brothers.

Former Supreme Court Judge Hugh O’Flaherty and Mrs Pearl Dineen the nephew and niece of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty officiated over the dedicating of the school’s new hall to past pupil, Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, in recognition of his heroic deeds during WWII.

O’Flaherty, who also taught at the school later, became better known for the role he played in World War II while at the Vatican leading over 6,500 prisoners of war, partisans and Jews to freedom to earn him the title of the ‘Vatican Pimpernel’, leading to the 1983 film ‘The Scarlet and the Black’ with Gregory Peck portraying the role of O’Flaherty.

OUTDOOR CLASSROOM

A special outdoor classroom ‘Dotts Garden’, dedicated to the memory of Dorothy (Dott) Hennggler the 2011 Washington DC Rose who died at the family home in Baltimore from a brain tumour, was officially opened by Anne O’Shea (aunt of the late Dorothy), and Àine McMahon (cousin of the late Dorothy and BOM member). The outdoor classroom was beautifully decorated over the summer by artist Katríona Lynch.

Due to COVID restrictions, the main event took place outdoors with staff joined by a small group of pupils selected from each of the classes representing the student body along with members of the school’s Board of Management.

“Your achievements have been remarkable over the last number of months,” Minister of Education, Norma Foley, said today at the official opening.

“It is my wish going forward that the next year in education will be less complicated, less trying and less difficult one. I think school staff are deserving of that. We can put the COVID atmosphere behind us and we are moving positively along. We hope that in a few months we will talk about living in a post-COVID time. The story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty speaks of the calibre of students produced here, but it also speaks of the courage and bravery and vision that Kerry people can have in the most difficult and trying of times.”

School principal Colm Ó Suilleabháin, who is shortly moving on to St Oliver’s NS in Ballycasheen, was delighted to be in attendance to see the building come to fruition.

“It’s a fantastic culmination of hard work by the staff and the Board of Management, and we are delighted to see the school is fully equipped and resourced for the next generation of pupils from Killarney and beyond,” he said.

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