Kil­murry event hon­ours MacSwiney

Irish Examiner - County - - News -

life and lega­cies of Ter­ence MacSwiney (1879-1920) will be cel­e­brated in an in­au­gu­ral Ter­ence MacSwiney Week­end, tak­ing place at In­de­pen­dence Mu­seum Kil­murry this Fri­day to Sun­day.

As a cel­e­bra­tion of the cul­tural - as well as the rev­o­lu­tion­ary – side of his life, orig­i­nal mu­sic and po­etry have been com­mis­sioned by or­gan­is­ers, Kil­murry His­tor­i­cal & Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (KHAA).

The com­mu­nity of the midCork par­ish has in­sti­gated what it plans to be an an­nual event, as it has unique links to MacSwiney. It was the birth­place of John MacSwiney, fa­ther of the late Lord Mayor of Cork city and first TD for Mid-Cork.

Ter­ence MacSwiney spent much of his adult life in the sur­round­ing Mac­room dis­trict, be­tween leisure and ed­u­ca­tional time in the Gaeltacht and Ir­ish col­lege at Ballingeary, and es­tab­lish­ing Ir­ish Vol­un­teer com­pa­nies in Kil­murry and sur­round­ing parishes in 1915 and 1916.

Peadar Ó Ri­ada has com­posed a hymn which will have its first pub­lic per­for­mance by Kil­murry Par­ish Choir dur­ing an Ir­ish-lan­guage Mass, to be cel­e­brated by Mon­signor Kevin O’Cal­laghan in St Mary’s Catholic Church in Kil­murry on Sun­day morn­ing.

The same venue – right next to KHAA’s In­de­pen­dence Mu­seum Kil­murry – will hear open­ing re­marks to the Ter­ence MacSwiney Week­end from his grand­son, Cathal MacSwiney Brugha, on Fri­day night.

A suc­ces­sor of MacSwiney’s, Cork’s cur­rent Lord Mayor Coun­cil­lor Mick Finn will also at­tend.

“It is fan­tas­tic to see the many as­pects of Ter­ence MacSwiney’s life cel­e­brated in this won­der­ful set­ting, where his con­tri­bu­tions to cul­ture, pol­i­tics and revo­lu­tion a cen­tury ago are al­ready well com­mem­o­rated,” said Cllr Finn.

“As Lord Mayor of Cork city, it is an hon­our to carry on a may­oral tra­di­tion carved by MacSwiney and his con­tem­po­rary Tomás MacCur­tain. They left in­deli­ble marks on the his­tory of Cork and I ap­plaud all those keep­ing that alive in Kil­murry,” he said.

On Satur­day, In­de­pen­dence Mu­seum Kil­murry will host a num­ber of talks about the life and the lit­er­ary works of Ter­ence MacSwiney.

Gabriel Do­herty, a lec­turer at Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Cork’s School of His­tory, will de­liver a lec­ture: ‘The Look of the Con­queror: Ter­ence MacSwiney and Jeremiah O’Dono­van Rossa.’ He will ex­plore points of sim­i­lar­ity, and the dif­fer­ences, in the lives and po­lit­i­cal ca­reers of the two men.

MacSwiney had just taken up the role of full-time Ir­ish Vol­un­teers or­gan­iser in Cork when he at­tended the fa­mous west Cork-born Fe­nian, O’Dono­van Rossa’s fu­neral in Dublin.

“I will seek, more par­ticu- larly, to ex­plore the in­flu­ence that O’Dono­van Rossa had on MacSwiney’s out­look on life, pol­i­tics and revo­lu­tion,” said Mr Do­herty.

MacSwiney’s work as a writer of drama and po­etry is one of the lesser-known as­pects of his rel­a­tively short life, be­fore his death af­ter a 74day hunger strike in Oc­to­ber 1920. But this is some­thing which the or­gan­is­ers of the Ter­ence MacSwiney Week­end want to rec­tify.

This year’s event will fea­ture a dis­cus­sion of his po­etry, with read­ings of some ex­am­ples. A dis­cus­sion of the con­text and verse will be pro­vided by Dr Mary Breen, who taught lit­er­a­ture at Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Cork’s School of English from 1993 to 2017.

A poem com­mis­sioned by Kil­murry His­tor­i­cal and Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion will also be heard for the first time. Award-win­ning lo­cal poet John Fitzger­ald’s poem

was in­spired by the po­lice code cipher in MacSwiney’s pos­ses­sion at his fi­nal ar­rest, and by the in­de­ci­pher­able pat­terns of a piece of rock art in the Kil­murry par­ish.

“The poem doesn’t seek to make any po­lit­i­cal state­ment, sim­ply to regis­ter the ex­is­tence of this unique stone in our midst, the ex­tra­or­di­nary courage of one of our own, and the per­pet­u­ally un­re­solved ques­tion of self-sac­ri­fice, it­self a kind of cipher,” John Fitzger­ald said.

On Satur­day af­ter­noon, those at­tend­ing the Ter­ence MacSwiney Week­end will be given a tour of places of sig­nif­i­cance to his life and his fam­ily in the area.

It will in­clude a talk by lo­cal his­to­rian Michael Galvin at Clodagh Cas­tle near Crook­stown (weather per­mit­ting), once the seat of the MacSwiney clan. The house in Kil­murry vil­lage where MacSwiThe ney’s grand­par­ents once lived will be seen, fol­lowed by a visit to St Mary’s grave­yard where his ances­tors are buried.

Kil­murry His­tor­i­cal and Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (KHAA) chair­per­son Deirdre Bourke said it is in­tended to make the week­end an an­nual event, co­in­cid­ing with the an­niver­sary of Ter­ence MacSwiney’s death on Oc­to­ber 25, 1920.

“We have been plan­ning to be­gin this cel­e­bra­tion for many years. We want not only to mark Ter­ence MacSwiney’s deep links to Kil­murry, but also to spread aware­ness of his im­por­tance na­tion­ally to the rev­o­lu­tion­ary strug­gle for his in­de­pen­dence, and of his in­flu­ence and legacy in­ter­na­tion­ally,” Ms Bourke said.

Those at­tend­ing this in­au­gu­ral event can also en­joy the ex­hi­bi­tion of arte­facts of, and re­lated to, Ter­ence MacSwiney which are promi­nently dis­played at In­de­pen­dence Mu­seum Kil­murry.

It was of­fi­cially opened in Au­gust 2016 by Pres­i­dent of Ire­land Michael D. Hig­gins, pro­vid­ing a state-of-the-art ex­hi­bi­tion space to a col­lec­tion gath­ered over more than 50 years by Kil­murry His­tor­i­cal & Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion. The col­lec­tion was pre­vi­ously housed in the Ter­ence MacSwiney Me­mo­rial Mu­seum in the vil­lage, where MacSwiney’s ances­tors once lived, which was opened by his only child Máire MacSwiney Brugha in 1965.

The Ter­ence MacSwiney ex­hi­bi­tion space at In­de­pen­dence Mu­seum Kil­murry, which hosts the in­au­gu­ral Ter­ence MacSwiney week­end on Oc­to­ber 19-21. De­tails on Eventbrite.ie or www.kil­mur­ry­mu­seum.ie

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn, who will at­tend the Ter­ence MacSwiney Week­end at In­de­pen­dence Mu­seum Kil­murry (Oc­to­ber 19-21).

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