Mon­teith’s Tri­colour proudly flown at Banna cer­e­mony

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - NEWS - BY DÓNAL NOLAN

THE fore­sight of the orig­i­nal com­mit­tee re­spon­si­ble for the erec­tion of the fa­mous Case­ment mon­u­ment in Banna was lauded at a spe­cial cer­e­mony last week mark­ing its first half cen­tury.

And it was made that bit more spe­cial by virtue of the pres­ence of both the last sur­viv­ing mem­ber of the orig­i­nal com­mit­tee – Kil­moy­ley na­tive Seán Seosamh Ó Conchub­hair – and what is be­lieved to have been the very flag Robert Mon­teith had in his posses­sion as he made land­fall with Case­ment at Banna in the early hours of Good Fri­day, April 21, 1916.

MC’d by Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa, the cer­e­mony – held on Sun­day, Novem­ber 25 – had at its core an ora­tion by one of the county’s lead­ing his­to­ri­ans of the In­de­pen­dence strug­gle, Dr Tim Hor­gan.

Na­tional Graves As­so­ci­a­tion Kerry rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dr Hor­gan – who re­cently pub­lished Fight­ing for the Cause: Kerry’s Repub­li­can Fighters – also out­lined the his­tory of a price­less arte­fact he brought to the event: Mon­teith’s Tri­colour.

“It’s be­lieved that Mon­teith and Case­ment came in with two flags: one, a tri­colour, and the other the Lim­er­ick flag, which some­body had given to Case­ment to be flown in Lim­er­ick.”

Case­ment was, of course, cap­tured, flag et al, but Mon­teith fa­mously evaded cap­ture via a re­mote Gle­nageenty hide­out.

“His daugh­ter, Florence Mon­teith Lynch, do­nated ma­te­ri­als to the Na­tional Graves As­so­ci­a­tion on her death, and among them was found the Tri­colour flag, with a note pinned to it read­ing :‘This flag was flown in the 1916 Ris­ing’.

“You re­ally would have to prove that this wasn’t the flag Mon­teith had in his posses­sion as all the ev­i­dence sup­ports the like­li­hood that it was, and it may well have been flown here on Easter Sun­day, when the Vol­un­teers pa­raded in Tralee un­der Mon­teith’s com­mand,” Dr Hor­gan ex­plained.

The cer­e­mony also in­cluded con­tri­bu­tions from Brian Ca­ball, Ciarán Daltún, Se­nan Cotter, De­nis O’Reilly, Donal Dowl­ing and John Ma­son, as well as the orig­i­nal com­mit­tee mem­ber Seán Seosamh, who played a key role in the 1968 in­stal­la­tion of the fa­mous mon­u­ment, now un­der the care of the Na­tional Graves As­so­ci­a­tion.

“Seán Seosamh was a driv­ing force of the com­mit­tee formed in 1965, with the sod turned in 1966 and the mon­u­ment ul­ti­mately erected in 1968,” Dr Hor- gan said. “But for the fore­sight of those com­mit­tee mem­bers in plac­ing the mon­u­ment where it is, few would know at this stage where Case­ment came in through the dunes im­me­di­ately op­po­site the mon­u­ment.

“They knew the ex­act po­si­tion thanks to Mon­teith’s re­turn in 1948 when he pointed out the lo­ca­tions,” Dr Hor­gan added. Lo­cals play a huge part in main­tain­ing the me­mo­rial, with Michael Moyni­han and James O’Donoghue re­pair­ing it as needed and Donal Dowl­ing keep­ing the Tri­colour fly­ing on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

Photo by Dom­nick Walsh

Sean Seosamh Ó Conchub­hair, Dr Tim Hor­gan and Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa at the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the erec­tion of the mon­u­ment to Roger Case­ment at Banna last week.

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