90 years since Curragh handover marked

A cold damp day reminiscent of May 16, 1922, fittingly marked the anniversary of the handover of the Curragh Camp from the British Army 90 years ago.

A cold damp day reminiscent of May 16, 1922, fittingly marked the anniversary of the handover of the Curragh Camp from the British Army 90 years ago.

Professor Eunan Ó Halpín, Professor of Irish History at Trinity College Dublin, provided the spectators with a historical address to mark the significance of the day. He paid tribute to the Irish soldiers who took over from the British on May 16, 1922, recalling the equally dismal weather on that day.

“The press accounts of the hand over in the Irish Times were slightly sneering,” he said. “The soldiers were not attired as they are today, there wasn’t a band to mark the occasion and there wasn’t the dignity or professionalism that we have today. It was the very fact that Irish men who had fought for Ireland were taking over from the British - that is what we should remember and salute today. We got one thing right and that was the weather.”

Brigadier General Séamus Ó Giolláin, General Officer Commanding the Defence Forces Training Centre, officially marked the anniversary of the hand over at a midday ceremony held at the Water tower, Curragh Camp, last Friday May 18.

A representative body of Irish Defence Forces, commanded by Comdt Colin Miller of the 3rd Infantry Battalion, participated in marking the event through the raising of the Tricolour on the Water tower.

An ecumenical service remembered those Curragh Camp members, who have passed away over the last ninety years. Many local schools were also represented at the event. Children of both primary and secondary schools from the Curragh and Newbridge, were present to witness the raising of the Tricolour over the Water tower at 12 o’clock, the same time that Lieutenant General O’Connell climbed the tower in 1922 to hoist the Tricolour for the first time.

On dismissal of the parade, attendees were invited to the Curragh Museum where they were able to view among other historical artefacts, the last British Flag that was lowered on the Curragh Camp.

- Paula Campbell