Replica of 1798 rebel's flag presented to Prosperous Heritage Festival

Festival taking place Friday to Sunday, May 25 to 27

Conor McHugh

Reporter:

Conor McHugh

Email:

conor@leinsterleader.ie

Replica of 1798 rebel's flag presented to Prosperous Heritage Festival

Presentation of the replica 1798 flag to Prosperous Heritage Festival organisers by Mayor Martin Miley.

A flag which is a replica of a one used by rebels in the 1798 rebellion was presented to Prosperous Heritage Festival organisers by Kildare Mayor Martin Miley yesterday evening.

The Heritage Festival, which commemorates the part played by Prosperous in the 1798 rebellion,  takes place over the course of the weekend of Friday to Sunday, May 25, 26 and 27 and will include talks, re-enactments, presentations and tours of local houses.

The flag is an exact replica of the flag held high by the rebels in the village 220 years ago.

Entry in Freeman's Journal dated June 21, 1798, is the inspiration for the replica of the flag.

Kildare Decade of Commemorations Committee, as part of their ‘Irish Military Seminar’ is supporting the Heritage Festival and commissioned two of the flags, based on the original description in the Freeman’s Journal, Mario Corrigan of KDCC explained.

And Colrs Pádraig McEvoy and Brendan Weld of the Kildare Decade of Commemorations Committee were  present in Prosperous, alongside the County Librarian, Marian Higgins.

Mr Corrigan explained that one of the flags is for the people of Prosperous,and the other will be presented at the Seminar.

The festival committee thanked the Mayor, Kildare County Council and Prosperous Community Association whose chairman Paul Reilly spoke in advance of the presentation.

“Without them and their backing, this project would have never happened,” the festival committee explained. “The same goes for our many local businesses who have sponsored us.”

On the Friday and Saturday of the Festival weekend, there will be a show at the Drama Hall starting at 8.30pm which will involve a history talk by Mr Corrigan.

Young Cillian Cullen, Prosperous's youngest Pikeman!

The local Drama Society, fresh from their All Ireland winning performance, will act out particular scenes from the lead up to the battle.

“There will also be 20 minutes of 1798 songs, including one called the ‘Battle of Prosperous’,” said Darren Brereton of the Heritage Festival. Mr Brereton said that ‘Battle of Prosperous’ had no known music to it, but that researchers had come across the words to it and he put it to music.

“We will probably record it in the coming weeks,” he told the Leinster Leader.

On the Saturday after, at 2pm, there will be a talk at Downing’s House including a guided tour of the period building. That building was the residence of Henry Starmars who was the landlord’s agent at the time, having taken over when Robert Brooke, the founder of the village, left. The tour will include the secret escape tunnel and Starmar’s vault (where he was discovered hiding and murdered), the house’s original basement.

In more recent times, Christy Moore recorded his album, Prosperous, in the house. Historians Seamus Cullen and Mario Corrigan will give talks there.

“Sunday is the big day,” Mr Brereton explained. The area of the village street down around Larry’s bar and the ICA hall will feature battle reenactments with groups from all over the country coming to the area.

“The battle will be from 3pm and there will be farmer and craft markets in the area,” Mr Brereton explained. The ICA hall will be a temporary 1798 museum and will have weapons, uniforms, a video slideshow and pike heads on display.

The R406 which goes through Prosperous, from the Church to Londis, will be closed to a new hours on the Sunday, and diversions will be in place.

“It’s for all amateur and professional historians or even just for anyone with a passing interest in history or the village. Everyone is very welcome,” said Mr Brereton.

The organisers are locals Joe Murphy, Ciaran Healy, Brian Moran and Darren Brereton and are a subcommittee of Prosperous Community Association.

For tickets to events in the drama hall, text 0851615590.

Read more: COLUMN: New festival could point way to 'prosperity' for Prosperous