Thomas Ashe Exhibition Opens In Dingle

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Thomas Ashe.

TO coincide with the forthcoming centenary of the death of Thomas Ashe on September 25, 1917, Kerry Library has today  opened an exhibition at Dingle Library of archival documents, photographs, personal effects and other memorabilia relating to the west Kerry patriot.

The exhibition tells the story of Thomas Ashe’s life through a number of personal items such as Ashe’s sword, Uileann pipes, tunic, beret, shawl and prison shirt as well as correspondence and photographs.

The exhibition also features a number of information stands highlighting the contribution of Ashe to the events of the period.

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Speaking at the opening of the exhibition in Dingle this morning, which was attended by members of Thomas Ashe’s family, the Cathaoirleach of the South and West Kerry Municipal District, Cllr Seamus Cosaí Fitzgerald, said it was fitting that such items would go on public display close to Ashe’s home place:

“This is a very important and valuable collection of memorabilia related to Thomas Ashe and really brings you up close and personal with the man himself. A lot of work has gone into collecting, maintaining and displaying these items and I am pleased to see that the collection is available over the coming months in a location so close to Ashe’s native Lispole,” he said.

“Now that we have moved on from last year’s very successful and reflective commemorations of the Easter Rising, the focus this year is very much on the events of 1917 and particularly Thomas Ashe and the role he played at the time, and not least because the centenary of his death which occurs on 25September.

“While Ashe’s key role in the events of the Rising were marked at many ceremonies during 2016, including at his native Kinard in Lispole, this year sees a very clear focus on Ashe’s wider life story and his role during the entire revolutionary period,” he said.

Thomas Ashe, who was born at Kinard in 1885, played a major role in the Easter Rising, leading the Fingal Battalion of the Irish Volunteers and was the last of the leaders to surrender at the end of Easter Week. Between the end of the Rising and his death, he spent several periods in various prisons both in Ireland and in Britain.

Ashe’s final arrest was in August 1917, and he spent the remaining weeks of his life at Mountjoy Prison, before being transferred to the Mater Hospital due to illness on the day of his death. He died of heart failure and congestion of the lungs caused by mistreatment in prison and complications arising out of forcible feeding while on hunger strike.

The exhibition at Dingle Library will run until 14 October 2017 and will be open to the public during normal library opening hours (10am-5pm, Monday-Saturday, and 10am-8pm on Thursdays).

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