By Dan Walsh at the Battle of Enniscorthy
Shots rang out on Castle Hill this morning as the Battle of Enniscorthy was re-enacted exactly a century after the event – July 2nd 1922 – and descendants of some families involved were present to witness the historic commemoration which was the highlight of the Wexford Library Arts Festival taking place this weekend.
Aside from the re-enactment which featured members of Enniscorthy Re-enactment Historical Society and Lord Edwards Own with action emanating from Enniscorthy Castle pouring out onto the street, there were a number of speeches. Historian Barry Lacey acted as narrator and Maria Nolan was master of ceremonies.
Enniscorthy Municipal District’s Cllr Aidan Browne, who took over the chains of Cathaoirleach from Cllr Cathal Byrne, last Monday, welcomed the guests and the good sized attendance on the street, and offered some sobering words about the battle of a century ago.
Deputy Sean Haughey, grandson of former Taoiseach Sean Lemass, was the keynote speaker, while there were also contributions from Minister James Browne, Carmel Smyth, author of ‘Monteith-The Making of a Rebel and representative of the 1916 Relatives Committee.
Guests included Paul Kehoe T.D., Cllr George Lawlor, Cathaoirleach Wexford County Council, Cllrs Barbara-Anne Murphy, Kathleen Codd-Nolan, Jackser Owens, John O’Rourke and Cathal Byrne. Anne Gilpin and Carmel Long represented the Literary Festival Committee, Bernie Quigley, Enniscorthy District Council and the Council staff were also praised for their co-operation and encouragement in the staging of this novel event.
Rev. Canon Nicola Halford read a prayer; Liam Doyle played a piper’s lament; Maria Nolan read a prose extract and the pleasant ceremony concluded with the National Anthem.
Afterwards the re-enactors marched to the Post Office where Colm O’Brien and Orla McKeown laid wreaths at the site where Patrick (Paddy) O’Brien and Maurice Spilanne were shot during the Battle of Enniscorthy in 1922. Their memory is preserved by a plaque on the Post Office wall.