Thomas Kent fi­nally back home in Cast­leyons

The Corkman - - NEWS - BILL BROWNE

THE Castle­lyons man dubbed ‘ the for­got­ten pa­triot of 1916’ was fi­nally give a State fu­neral al­most a cen­tury after he was ex­e­cuted by Crown forces.

Re­mains ex­humed from the grounds of the for­mer Cork Prison in 2015 were con­firmed to be those of Thomas Kent, the only per­son out­side of the cap­i­tal with the ex­cep­tion of Roger Case­ment, to be ex­e­cuted fol­low­ing the 1916 Ris­ing.

Mys­tery had sur­rounded the ex­act lo­ca­tion of Thomas Kent’s body fol­low­ing his ex­e­cu­tion in the prison on May 9, 1916.

His re­mains laid in an un­marked grave up un­til the sum­mer of 2015 when they were ex­humed and for­mally iden­ti­fied fol­low­ing a joint oper­a­tion by the Na­tional Mon­u­ments Ser­vice, the Ir­ish Prison Ser­vice and the State Pathol­o­gists Office.

The Kent fam­ily sub­se­quently ac­cepted an of­fer by the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny of a State fu­neral for Thomas, which took place in his na­tive Castle­lyons on Fri­day, Septem­ber 18, 2015.

The fu­neral was at­tended by thou­sands of mem­bers of the public, mem­bers of the Kent fam­ily and dig­ni­taries in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Chris O’Leary and County Mayor Cllr John Paul O’Shea.

Thomas Kent had been due to take part in ac­tions out­side of Dublin on the day of the ris­ing and was wait­ing in his Cast­leyons home, along with his brothers Wil­liam, David and Richard, for or­ders to sup­port the Dublin vol­un­teers with a Cork ris­ing.

De­spite re­ceiv­ing in­struc­tions to stand down, mem­bers of the Royal Ir­ish Con­stab­u­lary (RIC) and the British Army raided the prop­erty of the well-known na­tion­al­ist fam­ily just hours after fight­ing be­gan at the GPO.

The brothers re­fused to sur­ren­der and a four hour bat­tle, the only armed en­gage­ment of the Ris­ing out­side of Dublin, en­sued dur­ing which Richard was killed and David se­verely wounded.

Fol­low­ing their ar­rest, Thomas and Wil­liam were marched over Fer­moy Bridge and taken to Cork where they were tried by court-mar­shal at Cork De­ten­tion Bar­racks (now Cork Prison).

While Wil­liam was ac­quit­ted, Thomas was sen­tenced to death, ex­e­cuted and his body in­terred in the un­marked grave.

His fam­ily had long cam­paigned for Thomas’ grave to be iden­ti­fied so that he could be re-in­terred at the fam­ily plot in Castle­lyons. This be­came pos­si­ble after doc­u­ments, kept se­cret by the British were re­leased iden­ti­fy­ing his grave.

After a com­plex DNA test­ing process the re­mains found were iden­ti­fied as those of Thomas Kent.

Thomas Kent’s re­mains be­ing es­corted from the grounds of Cork Prison in 2015.

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