War Of Independence Remembered At Blennerville Commemoration

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Helen and Paddy Shea and Paddy and Ornagh Moriarty at the Blennerville commemoration.

A COMMEMORATION was held on Sunday, at Robert Emmet Park, in Blennerville where local historian, Martin Moore, gave a short talk on the village’s involvement in the War of Independence, which ended 100 years ago, on July 11, 1921.

In the course of his speech, Martin referred to the daring escapades of Jimmy ‘the Yank’ O’Shea, former captain of the Blennerville Volunteers and of his sister, Sarah, who held a similar rank in Cumann na mBan.

He outlined the strategic importance of Blennerville especially regarding the war in west Kerry in 1920 and 1921.

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Among the members of Cumann na mBan then in Blennerville were Nannette and her daughter, Annette Tyndale. Annette Tyndale was imprisoned during the troubled times.

Her grandfather, George Tyndale was a sea captain based in Blennerville and in August 1914 he and his brother-in-law, Matthew McSweeney were in Hamburg.

Annette and Aoife Kennedy with Martin Moore at the commemoration.

There they were detained at the outbreak of World War 1 and thus two Blennerville men were among the first detainees of the First World War. Roger Casement is supposed to have visited them.

Unfortunately, George Tyndale died in captivity. Martin also noted the link between Robert Emmet and Blennerville still preserved in the folklore of the district.

On the centenary of the gaining of Irish Independence it was fitting to read an excerpt from Emmet’s speech from the dock.

Family members of the activists from that time attended including members of the O’Shea, McCarthy, Tyndale and Foley families.

The roll of the Blennerville Volunteers was read by Michael O’Connor, with Helen Sugrue listing the members of Cumann na mBan.

A wreath was laid on behalf of the McCarthy family, daughter and nieces of Jack and Harry McCarthy. A poem, written by Jack McCarthy on those eventful times was read to conclude this beautiful ceremony.

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