The Manager of Roscrea Credit Union and Chairman of the local Enhancement Committee, Brian King told the local media following the event that the Credit Union’s involvement in organising the World War 1 Commemoration day and bringing the Seattle Police Pipes & Drums Band to Roscrea was one of the greatest community project’s that either himself or the local volunteers was ever involved with. Brian said that “the day, which honoured and remembered all those who served in World War 1, will live long in the memory of all those who were part of the occasion and will leave a lasting legacy which hopefully Roscrea will benefit from for many generations to come”.
Certainly anyone who gathered on the streets of Roscrea and in St Cronan’s Church on Tuesday last would find it difficult to disagree with those comments. In what proved to be a day charged with emotion, all those involved can be very proud of doing something extremely positive for the town of Roscrea. On Tuesday last Roscrea showcased itself to a local, national and global audience and all who were present will have lasting memories of one of the most historic day’s that the town has ever witnessed.
Captured are members of Roscrea Credit Union who had a major involvement in the organising of last Tuesday’s events, together with Adrian Hewson who led the Ecumenical service and members of the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums Bank who kindly visited Roscrea to participate in the most memorable occasion.
Parade Down Main Street:
A glimpse of the parade that took place in Roscrea on Tuesday last as part of the town’s World War 1 Commemoration day.
On departing Roscrea the Seattle Assistant Chief Of Police, Paul McDonagh, addressed the band and reflected on their ten days in Ireland. The Assistant Chief told his troops to savour the memories, memories that would make them even better people and stronger as a group. The Assistant Chief told those gathered to remember Roscrea in particular, a town where they had received their greatest welcome and hoped some day they would return.
Brian King said he was heartened by the words of the Seattle Assistant Chief of Police and humbled by the outpouring of gratitude from those that witnessed and were part of the event. He said he would like to give as many involved as possible a mention but would like to reserve a special word of thanks and praise for Rev. Adrian Hewson who presided over the Ecumenical Service, a service that brought tears of sorrow and tears of joy to the eyes of all those gathered. Brian said he really landed Adrian in the deep end when he approached him only two weeks ago once the band was confirmed to help with the occasion. Since that request Adrian and his church team worked around the clock to prepare for the occasion and deserve high praise for their efforts.
O.N.E & U.N
Members of the O.N.E and I.U.N.V.A get ready to parade from Main Street to Church Street
Thanking Roscrea Scout Troop, Brian King said that the Scouts had the greatest honour of all on the day in that it was they that the organising committee asked to recite the names of “The Roscrea Fallen”. This was done very eloquently and sincere thanks was extended to James Marks in particular for his support in addition to fellow scouts, Caroline Marks, Lorraine Shaw, Conor Abbott, Tony Foyle & Shane Cahil.
Roscrea Scout Troop prepare to march.
L/R: Conor Abbot, Shane Cahil, Tony Foyle, Caroline Marks, Lorraine Shaw and James Marks
Brian King said great credit must also go to Paul Fogarty and the staff of the “White House” for their generosity and kindness throughout the day. Lunch was proved free for an entourage of over sixty people and afterwards refreshments was provided throughout the evening for all those gathered for a great although brief session and celebration of Irish and Roscrea culture. In this regard thanks are extended to Comhaltas, especially, Tadhg Maher, Billy Hynes, Michael Ryan, Mick McEvoy, Liam Phelan, Mai Phelan, a whole host of dazzling dancers, Anthony Burke and anyone else that might have been forgotten. Gratitude
was also extended to P.J Wright who was on hand throughout the day with his cameras and Noel O’Meara who recorded the event for posterity. Cllr Michael Smith and Tipperary County Council was also thanked for ensuring that parking in the vicinity of the Church was free on the day and thanks also were extended to the local Gardaí for their help and support.
Roscrea Credit Union:
Members of Roscrea Credit Union prepare to march on Tuesday last. Through Dick Conroy, Hugh Keane and Brian King, the Credit Union had a major role in organising the day’s events.
L/R: Liam Phelan, Mai Phelan, Dick Conroy, Hugh Keane, Sean Hogan, Jim Bolger and Brian King.
The day itself commenced with a musical recital outside the credit union where onlookers, well-wishers and participants gathered from late lunch to welcome our American guests. At 3.10pm the order was given to commence the march to St. Cronan’s Church. The procession party included the O.N.E, Representatives from the I.U.N.V.A, Roscrea Scouts, Roscrea Credit Union the Seattle Police Pipes & Drums Band, dignitaries from Seattle and people from Roscrea and throughout the country who gathered in the town to be a witness to such an important occasion.
Parading down Main Street, on to Castle Street and around Church Street, the parade party was greeted by Adrian Hewson at 3.30pm in St. Cronan’s Church. Assisting Adrian was Fr. Michael Harding, Dom Lawerence O.C.S.O, Fr Aodhan O.C.S.O, Rev Tom Kingston (Former Methodist Minister), The Rev. Shannon Delaureal (Methodist Minister), and Jason Patterson (Parish reader and relative of President Harry S. Truman). At the Church the procession extended to include members of The Limerick Branch Of The British Legion, Representatives of the Veteran Irish Guards Section Of the British Legion, Roscrea Boys Brigade, Girls Friendly Society and representing wives of mothers left at home was the “Roscrea Branch Of The Mothers Union”.
The Ecumenical Service itself as mentioned earlier brought a tear to many an eye. The offertory procession was one of deep symbolism. Gilian Kingston, former lay leader of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and Vice-President of the World Methodist Council, presented a poppy wreath which was placed under the East Window with its many stained glass colours representing the colours of the flags of the nations of the world. In the Millennium year Roscrea’s Ashbury Residents Association developed a Garden of Remembrance and Matthew McNamara of the association presented a photograph of their garden and a Widow’s Penny symbolic of remembrance and hardships endured. The only individual soldier of the war buried on Roscrea soil is Private Frederick Bennett who lies in the grounds of St Cronan’s Church. His sister’s grand-daughter Rosemary from Dublin presented the postcards received by Private Bennett’s mother from The Front. Stuart Wright presented a calendar designed by “The White House” Roscrea celebrating Roscrea’s status as a Heritage Town while Michael McEvoy presented a hurley capturing the spirt of “teams” be they on the sporting field or the battlefield. The hurley beckoned with blue and gold also represented the annual “Tipperary Award” which promotes peace amongst peoples and nations. Hugh Keane presented the scarf of “The Seattle Police Pipe & Drum Band” as a gesture of welcome to the American visitors. That goodwill between Roscrea and Seattle also extends from Roscrea to the whole United States of America and every state there has citizens with Roscrea ancestry. In this regard the Benn Family from Bourney, relatives of President Barack Obama presented a plaque commemorating America’s bicentenary of independence. Joan Murray made a presentation capturing the essence of the famous “Gospel Book Of Dimma” and Eamon Horan from the local branch of “Ireland Reaching out” presented a globe symbolic of the world Roscrea soldiers fought and died in and also symbolic of today’s global village. Florence Reid made the final presentation. A simple lighting candle symbolising hope and tanks to those that fought bravely to ensure so many people from so many backgrounds could gather for the occasion, to remember in liberty and freedom.
Matthew MacNamara from the Ashbury Residents Association was one of many who participated in the offertory collection that formed part of the Ecumenical Service.
As part of the service local poet John Browne recited a poem and Joe Coughlan sang a song about one of the many World War 1 soldiers from Roscrea that was killed in the war. That solider was one of four Kavanagh brothers who never returned from the killing fields and many of the Kavanagh family came to Roscrea from various parts of the country on Tuesday last to be part of the service. This was followed later in the service by John Kavanagh who had asked the organisers could he speak for a few minutes about his family’s involvement in the war and their tragic losses. John’s words were greatly appreciated by the congregation.
After the scouts recited the roll of honour, the band played “the last post” which was followed by a minute’s silence which was observed with great dignity and solemn reflection.
Band Observe Minutes Silence:
Members of The Seattle Police Pipes and Drums Band observe a minutes silence in honour of all those from Roscrea who went to war between 1914 and 1918.
When the service was complete Brian King who had taken a lead role in organising the day’s events was given the great honour of making a presentation to the American delegation. Accepting the presentation was Ryan J. Gallagher, founder and President of the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums Band. Brain thanked the visitors for coming to “our great town, Roscrea” and for giving us some wonderful memories that all who witnessed will cherish for the rest of their lives”. Brian was joined by his uncle and another one of the organising committee, Michael McEvoy who presented a hurl and sliotar which prompted Brian king to suggest that maybe it would have helped Tipperary if we had some of our invited guests from America on the bench for the All-Ireland final replay on the previous Saturday!”. Tommy Murphy from the Ashbury Residents association then made a presentation to Josie Delaney representing St Cronan’s Church (Abbey Street), Martin Byrne made a presentation to Bertha Hastings representing the Methodist Church and Dom Lawrence made a presentation to Des Young representing the Church Of Ireland.
Presentation To US Delegation:
Brian King (Manager Of Roscrea Credit Union) had the honour of making a presentation to the American delegation and thanking them for taking the time to visit Roscrea and participate in the day’s events. The presentation was accepted by Ryan J. Gallagher founder and president of the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums Band. Adrian Hewson who performed the Ecumenical Service in honour of the Roscrea World War 1 soldiers, watches on.
Presentation To St Cronan’s Church
Tommy Murphy representing Ashbury Residents Association makes a presentation to Josie Delaney representing St Cronan’s Church. Also pictured is Fr. Michael Harding.
In conclusion Brian King said that it was very important that two very important credit union volunteers are thanked for their efforts to make the occasion possible. Brian said that it was through Hugh Keane’s connections that it was all made possible for the band to visit Roscrea (Hugh’s brother John is the Irish Counsel In Seattle). Brian thanked Hugh most sincerely for his efforts and said everyone who was part of last Tuesday’s events in any way would always remember and be grateful to have witnessed such an occasion. Brian said he would like to work with Hugh and now that a connection has been formally established with Seattle investigate if a twining arrangement etc could be put in place which would obviously have significant benefits for Roscrea in particular. Brian also said that after the service he spoke with Tommy Murphy and both reflected on the possibilities for Roscrea if the town could establish it’s own pipe band but perhaps that’s a challenge for the more musical gifted people of the town!
Dick Conroy Presentation:
Dick Conroy who researched the Roll Of Honour of the Roscrea soldiers who died in World War 1 was delighted to make a presentation to the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums Band.
Brian King also complimented the Credit Union, Secretary, Dick Conroy whose research into the event was tremendous and should be applauded. It is always difficult producing lists as one leaves themselves wide open for criticism but Dick did the very best he could and will update the list accordingly with any additional names that present themselves. Brain said Dick was also conscious that the list was only that of those who died in the war but that in time he hoped to produce a full list of all those from the area that went to war and either died or survived.
Credit Union Presentation:
The Credit Union played a key role in helping to organise the events surrounding last week’s visit to Roscrea by the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums Band. An informal presentation of a Tipperary T-Shirt and hat was made to Ryan J Gallagher after the formal proceedings for the day had concluded.
L/R: Dick Conroy, (RCU), Hugh Keane, (RCU), Ryan J. Gallagher (Seattle Police) & Brian king (RCU)
Tuesday the 30th of September 2014 will always be remembered in Roscrea. One of the participants commented that he would “probably never live to witness such an important occasion to him again” while leading representatives of the O.N.E and I.U.N.V.A commented that this was the best event they had attended. A former World War 11 veteran in attendance said it was the most “solemn” occasion he had attended giving true respect to those unfortunate fallen of WW1. Well done to all concerned for providing us all with memories that will be cherished forever.
Dancers Entertain American Guests:
These dancers were delighted to entertain Roscrea’s American Guests on Tuesday last. The Seattle delegation was thrilled with the efforts made by all.
American Guests Entertain Roscrea Hosts:
Members of the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums Band didn’t have to be asked twice to sing at a post service reception which took place in the “White House” on Tuesday last.
Band Enjoying Roscrea Hospitality:
Unfortunately there wasn’t much time after the World War 1 Ecumenical service on Tuesday last to enjoy some Roscrea hospitality but what time there was, was certainly enjoyed by all.
An interesting footnote to last Tuesday’s events was that there so happened to be three Canadian tourists in the town on Tuesday morning doing research on their ancestors. When they found out about the Ecumenical Service and the day’s events in general they decided to stay in town and later that evening it came to their attention that three of their relatives were on the “Roll Of Honour” put together by Dick Conroy. They were anxious to thank the people of Roscrea for their hospitality and promised that some they would try and return.