Sunday the 21st of August 2016 was the official 1916 themed day in Killavullen and was a fantastic success, with loads of parishioners entering into the spirit of the day for dressing up in period costumes.
The 11.30 AM mass was particularly spectacular, with the Irish United Nations Veterans Association (IUNVA) providing a spectacle during both before and during mass with their military medals, and flags. The mass was uniquely different especially when the IUNVA group Rendered Honours to Blessed Sacrament. A bugler played also, and with the superb acoustics of the church, and its vaulted ceiling, the sound travelled impressively. The Mna na hÉireann re-enactment group from Cobh were very fetching in their dress, both military and civilian of the day.
The homily from our parish Priest Fr. Condon was most appropriate for the day, challenging each of us, to live our lives as better citizens, interjecting with the sacrifices of what had been given up, by our fore bearers.
With the church choir bedecked splendidly in period costume, and lead by Fiona Hannon on Guitar, the mass was a true celebration of faith. Parishioners were bedecked as well in finery and club colours, and it must have been quite a spectacle for Fr. Condon to look down from the altar on.
After mass, the Castlelyons pipe band lead a possession in the following order:
- Pipe Band
- All uniformed in front
- Clergy & dignitaries
- Locals in Dress
- Children in club attire - both boys and girls in jersey tops
To the gates of the GAA Grounds, where our very capable Master of Ceremonies, Michael Rea welcomed the crowd.
The 1916-2016 Plaque, beautifully created by Michael Walsh, Kildorrery and appropriately mounted in position by Bernard Looney was unveiled by:
- Paddy Walsh , Ballygriffin, representing the community of Killavullen / Annakissa
- Ava Howard, youngest Girl in Killavullen school role in June 2016
- Will Fitzgerald, youngest boy in Ballygown school role in June 2016
- Clr. Frank O Flynn, Chairman Cork County Council 1916 Commemoration Committee, and acting mayor of Cork on the day.
At the ceremony:
- Fr, Condon blessed the plaque.
- We had a slow air, beautifully played by local musician Leah McCarthy Cahill.
- Clr. Frank O Flynn read the proclamation with real gusto and stirring.
- The local church choir sand Grace - a song about Grace Gifford, the tragic bride of 1916. The ballad tells the story of the hopeless love between Grace and Joseph Plunkett, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising. Its stunning rendition was very moving and poignant.
- Local Historian Sean Nagle, whose own father Michael was the adjunct in the 2nd Battalion of the IRA in Cork, gave a very though provoking and very interesting speech on where we are now, in relations to the ideals of 1916.
- There was perfectly observed minutes silence before this was interrupted by a volley of shots – 21 to be precise, orchestrated by Noel Keating from Milstreet, dressed in the military uniforms of the rebels of that time.
- The tri-colour was raised by Mr Tom McCarthy, Chairman IUNVA while a Bugler played the last post & reveille.
Afterwards, the crowd dispersed to the community centre where Mary Coakley, Jerome Coakley, and Catherine Thornhill somehow managed to feed the multitudes.
The community hall looked re-splendid under the giant tri-colours; (6 metres long) stitched together by Carmel Nagle, and graciously hung up by volunteers in the GAA club.
In the hall were local historian artefacts, a very interesting rifle of the 1916 period, a detailed review of the population of Killavullen at the time, manned consciously well by Mehaul Magner, local military records compiled by Sean and Carmel Nagle, school records from Wallstown presented by John Hannon and scores of local interest photographs donated by various sources were on display.
An exhibition of 1916 volunteers, and in particular Maurice Breenan was available and the GAA club are grateful to John Breenan for lending persuasion to family members in Dromina, to allow this impressive display to be put on show in Killavullen. Indeed, a good spattering of Dromina people was observed in Killavullen on the day, conspicuous with their tell-tale banner of same.
Another noteworthy event was the Tom O’Neil exhibition of original Irish military artefacts 1913-1923 that Tom brought to Killavullen.
This was a fascinating insight into a fascinating period, and the club are grateful to Tom for his generosity in displaying this exhibition.
Mna na hÉireann served afternoon tea in the community centre at 4.00 PM, and it was the presentation, presided over by the very capable Claire Cullinane that certainly left a lasting impression. The cakes served were the stable diet of the ruling aristocrats at that time, while the Irish ate meagre rations, and more mundane food.
With Eddie Linehan, Seanachai telling stories of weasels and spiders without legs, and the local Gun club displaying fowl and game, that were eaten at the time, Joe Taylor displaying his sticks and wares, and Timmy Mulchnock and his wife displaying their aware winning bog oak and floral displays, the village was certain an entertaining place to be, on the Sunday.
All of the vintage clothing that was worn by the parishioners was made available by Caitriona Forde, and this local lady contributed enormously to the success of the day. Her next outing is a Dowtown Abbey inspired ICA event, and that, judged by the standards of the Sunday, the 21st will certainly be a spectacle worth seeing.
To each and every one that helped out, in any way, over the week end, the GAA club is indebted. But praise upon praise goes to the community for backing the day.