The day started on the play area of Kilbrine community centre to blow away the remaining cobwebs, then Denis O’Donoghue led us past Kanturk, over the blackwater river near the village of Banteer to a small cemetery in Clonmeen where Alasdair McColla is buried. It is a small cemetery with a church in ruins and up until the beginning of the 20th century, Folks could come and see the body of Alistair under glass and pay their respect to a man that for centuries kept their proud heritage and hope for liberation alive. Alasdair McColla is remembered in countless Gaelic songs and Poems. We laid wreaths for Colonsay, Siol nan Gaidheal and Crann Tara.
We then visited Mercy Secondary School in Kanturk where a life-size Painting of Alasdair McColla greets the pupils at every dinnertime. The picture is by Vincent Crotty 1997. They say that Alasdair wore 7 layers of thick hide under his well-tailored cloth as a form of armour plating. It was heart-warming to witness that his name and memory is alive and well in today’s Ireland.
The group was invited to visit the spot where McColla, with his Scots and Munster regiments charged down and cut through the Parliament troops Infantry. The Crann Tara Banner was unfurled to pay our respect to the Gaelic hero. A BIG thank you to Gerard and Pauline for their hospitality, not only did they welcome us on their land but gave us refreshments and tasty home baking. Their incredible welcome made us extremely reluctant to leave.
Our Celtic cousins in Ireland’s hospitality throughout the trip was second to none and even more so when the whole group was invited to Nicholas and Margaret Corkery’s house for a BBQ where we were treated to good food and dare I say it more liquid refreshments. The Party went on to the Corkerys Bar in Dromahane near Mallow were the music and atmosphere was tremendous and the partying went on into the wee small hours as we made firm friends with everyone. Thank you again to all the people of the area who made us feel so welcome and were such wonderful hosts.
By Rab and Juliette Cairney