1798 Centenary Commemoration

The Unveiling Ceremony of the Carlow Graigue Memorial cross was an event of great significance in the Centenary year of the '98 Rebellion. The Memorial Committee worked hard to ensure that the great commemorative demonstration which formed part of the programme was an imposing and worthy occasion. The Memorial Cross had been erected in the neatly enclosed burial place of the United Irishmen who fell on the 25th of May 1798. This place originally called "The Croppy Hole" was now called '98 Street out of respect to those who died. It is still referred to locally as the "Croppy Grave".

On the day of the Commemoration the crowds attending exceeded all expectation. From 11 o'clock onwards, the deputations began to arrive. A special train had been organised to bring crowds from Dublin to the ceremony. Between two and three hundred people attended from Athy. A thousand people came from the Queen's County [County Laois] and they were led by Fr. Dempsey Parish Priest of Arles. Other parishes represented included Graigue and Killeshin, Wolfhill, Arles and Stradbally. The Stradbally Fife and Drum Band accompanied these delegations. The procession began at 2pm from Potato Market in the centre of Carlow. The route along by the old Jail was spanned by arches. Tullow street and surrounding areas of the town were decorated by arches of greenery and flags with patriotic mottoes. Flags and bunting were displayed along the route. The procession walked along Tullow Street and then through Castle Street, Coal Market and Castle Hill. It then made its way over the bridge spanning the Barrow and on to Maryborough and '98 streets to the Memorial site. The area in the vicinity was profusely decorated with green branches and foliage with many colourful flags in evidence. Pike heads were displayed along the route too. The procession was headed by the band of the St. Patrick's Branch of the Irish National Foresters, followed by the members of that association in all their regalia. Contingents from the neighbouring counties of Kildare and Queen's County [Laois] as well as from parishes in County Carlow followed on behind. The Carlow Gaels marched too and they carried the banner of the "Old Guard" (Dublin) banner. Many intricately designed banners were carried in the procession.

The chair was taken on the occasion by the parish priest of Graigue Very Rev. G.P. Byrne. He gave a fine oration in which he honoured the men of '98 and encouraged those present to unite and strive to make Ireland a "nation once again". Following the speech Mr. O'Gorman of the Memorial Committee announced to the assembled crowd that a letter of apology had been received from Michael Davitt M.P. [and later notable patriot]. Other speeches were made by John Dillon, M.P., Rev. John Cullen, Administrator (Carlow Cathedral), M.Governey, Carlow Town Council, Martin Morris and Haviland Burke.

previousPrevious - Carlow - Graigue 1798 Memorial
Next - Bicentenary of 1798 - The Liberty Treenext