Saturday, 26 March 2016


On this Easter Sunday, the Sean Wall Memorial Committee invites you once again to join with us in  a short, simple and dignified memorial ceremony.

The idea for a memorial to the fallen heroes of the 3rd Battalion was conceived and a committee was formed representative of the surviving members of the battalion. It took many years to raise the money for the memorial. Many IRA brigades were split by the Civil War, and this committee was remarkable for being one of the first which contained men from both sides. The fine detailing of this monument, unveiled by Sean T. O'Kelly in  October 1952, is indicative of high quality craftsmanship. Its prominent location, and the fact that it is larger than life, makes it a focal point in Bruff.

Over the decades since that day the Sean Wall Memorial Committee has endeavoured to be faithful to the words of the original memorial committee chairman, over 60 years ago.
“It is grand to think that those men are remembered. It is grand to see that so many men have come here to honour their memory and to keep their traditions. I hope the younger generations will do so in the future”

During the years since then, the weather has varied, as have the numbers attending both here each Easter and  in Grange, each December (at the Republican Plot in the cemetery adjacent to the church). It is to the credit of the Sean Wall Memorial Committee that they have honoured  the memory over these many years.

Today we will have the same simple and dignified ceremony that has taken place each year. In each place we have prayed, raised the National Flag to the sound of the Last Post and then sung the National Anthem,
 In Bruff, the Proclamation has been read and in Grange each year a guest (in the tradition and spirit of the original committee, speakers  have come from right across the political spectrum)  is invited to give an oration. In the last dozen years we have published a programme at each ceremony that has given much history and background to the story.

On April 24th the 100th anniversary we will have another celebration. On that day, young and old will join together, in words and music to commemorate once again.

From the first Chairman, William Purcell, to the present Chair of the Memorial Committee Mr. Thomas Meaney, the aim of continuity in remembrance, has been an aim “ the hope that younger generations will do so in the future.”

In the last few weeks, the work of our schools, and local community has done so much to inform our children about the story of the early years of our nation. Respect for the National Flag has been encouraged.  Many parents have also made significant efforts to help their children to understand the history of their native land.

It is perhaps symbolic, that this programme has an image of Sean Wall on the front cover, and on  the back, a picture of young Patrick Barry, standing in front of the Proclamation and the National Flag in Dail Eireann just this week.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Funeral arrangements for Liam Fitzpatrick

THE funeral arrangements have been announced for Liam Fitzpatrick, who lost his life in a road accident outside Bruff on Sunday evening.
Mr Fitzpatrick, who resided in Kilfinane, will be reposing at his mother Eileen’s residence in Knocklong this Tuesday from 3pm to 8pm.
The funeral Mass will take place at Knocklong church on Wednesday at 11.30am with burial afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Daily Life in Bruff

Good to see Bill Mulqueen recording daily life in Bruff in a series of great photos and posting on his facebook page

Bruff V Old Crescent Friday 4th

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Michael J. Noonan R.I.P

The Sean Wall Committee are sad to record the death of our friend and colleague Mr. Michael J. Noonan. Those of us privileged to work with Michael over the years saw at first hand his outstanding commitment to the service of his community.  Michael was Secretary of the main Sean Wall Committee, The Sean Wall Memorial Committee,  Sean Wall Restoration Co. Ltd and Bruff Housing Co. Ltd.  Michael was also a most enthusiastic member of the Bloomsday in Bruff Committee.
The saving and restoration of the Old RIC Barracks and the beautiful restoration of The Church of Ireland  are two fine examples of his legacy to the community in Bruff. The construction of five housing units at the rear of the barracks are also a result of his energy and commitment. His work with the Sean Wall Memorial Committee ensured that due respect was accorded  in our community, every Easter, to those who fought and died in our fight for freedom; likewise an annual ceremony at the republican plot in Grange.
Michael was one of the original committees members that established what is now the fine GAA Sports Ground in Bruff. He worked tirelessly to support  the work of Margaret Shaughnessy at Foynes Flying Boat Museum. He was a director of Ballyhoura Community Development Co. Ltd and a Director of Carebright Company, working for care in the community.
 Michael had a longstanding working relationship with his great friend of many years Mr. Dennis Barrett, Chairman of The Sean Wall Committee.   Dennis said  “ Michael was great man, with a commitment to his community that was unparalled. I have been privileged to be his friend for many years, to see at close hand his work. I shall miss his company and friendship with a great sadness”           
We who worked closely with him, were very aware of the many kind and compassionate deeds, performed quietly and privately for those who sought his help. Until relatively recently we were also in awe of his energy and determination, to see a project through, to attend all meetings of the various committees.

Donal Thurlow PRO for the Sean Wall Committee said “Michael adopted the technology of the mobile phone with enthusiasm, and was an avid texter! He would ask you to see to a certain task. He would phone the next see how you were...   and   to check that you had completed the task. If you had not he would follow up your progress with a relentess energy; you soon learnt that it was easier to see to Michael’s tasks promptly! It has been a daunting task to cover for Michael in recent months as Acting Secretary. I have become more aware than ever of the amount of work he got through. Michael was a compassionate man of great integrity; we were privileged to have him as a colleague and as a friend."

Donal Thurlow

PRO Sean Wall Committee

Friday, 21 June 2013

Kennedy family visit to Bruff

As Ireland said farewell to the Obamas, a Co Limerick town was yesterday making final preparations to welcome the Kennedy clan.

JFK’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, along with her husband Edwin Schlossberg, their three children, and other members of the extended family will visit Bruff on Friday.

The old courthouse in the town will be renamed after John F Kennedy’s great grandfather, Thomas Fitzgerald, who emigrated to the US from Bruff in 1852.

He took with him the family Bible, which was used for the swearing into office of JFK in 1961.

The visitors will see the site of the old Fitzgerald homestead on the Palatine Road.

The visit has been organised by Bruff Heritage Group. Spokesman Paul Dennehy said: "During Friday’s visit, we will dedicate and rename the former district court building the ‘Thomas Fitzgerald Centre’ to acknowledge the strong links between Bruff and the Fitzgerald Kennedy family. With this visit, every generation of the Fitzgerald Kennedys will have come to Bruff."

The centre will be used partly as a training site by Ballyhoura Development and will also be used as both an exhibition and heritage amenity.

Mr Dennehy said: "Caroline Kennedy is of course a lawyer and will be very interested to know that an important reform in the history of the Irish legal system was introduced as a direct result of an occurrence in the old Bruff courthouse in 1829 — the right of the Irish citizen to have legal representation was established and the practices of local magistrates in disallowing this was forbidden.

"So it is especially significant that she will be present in Bruff to dedicate this historical building to her ancestor."

After arriving in Amer-ica, Thomas Fitzgerald married Rosanna Cox from Cavan and one of their children, John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, went on to become mayor of Boston, serving a number of terms in office.

Honey Fitz married his second cousin, Mary Hannon, whose family also came from Bruff. Their daughter was Rose Fitzgerald, born Jul 22, 1890.

Rose married Joe Kennedy in 1914 and one of their children was John F Kennedy — the 35th president of the US.

In 1908, John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald and Rose, then aged 18, visited Bruff and stayed in Shaughnessy’s Hotel on Main St for three days. During their stay, they visited the small farmhouse at The Pike, Bruff, where the Fitzgerald clan originated.

All that remains now is a model of the farmhouse, which was constructed in the early 1960s by a local artist who married into descendants of the Fitzgerald family. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Commemoration Ceremony at Grange, Co . Limerick on Sunday 18th December

Commemoration Ceremony at Grange, Co . Limerick on Sunday last
Despite the very treacherous road conditions around Grange, Co. Limerick a large group of people made their way to the the Church in Grange last Sunday morning. A Mass of Commemoration was celebrated to commemorate the memory of those who were killed at Caherguillamore on Sunday 27th December 1920.
After Mass a ceremony was held at the Republican plot in the adjoining graveyard. Many County Councillors joined invited guests as wreath was laid.  Fr. Joseph Foley C.C Bruff, recited a decade of the Rosary. The Last Post sounded and the National Anthem was sung as the National Flag was raised. 
The wreath was laid and the oration delivered by Patrick O’Donovan T.D. In a thoughtful and inspiring oration the T.D spoke about the events at Caherguillamore and placed them in the context of our present state of affairs.

He pointed out that we are approaching a time when many significant centenary celebrations or memorials will take place. These include  the birth of the Irish Labour movement in Clonmel , the outbreak of the First World War, the 1916 Rising, the end of the Great War in 1918, The War of Independence 1920. The most significant centenary will be  in 2016
T.D. . O’Donovan said  “ ...  we need to ask ourselves  as we approach Easter  1916, what kind of Ireland do we want for future generations, and do we ensure that the legacy of Caherguillamore is properly lived out . I firmly believe that an essential part of that legacy building must be the pursuit  by political leaders , of common goals on behalf of the Irish people.”
“Just like Robert Frost in the poem, “The Road not Taken,” Ireland is now at a junction. We have been presented with a choice, to take a road of looking backwards, of seeking recriminations. Of apportioning blame or we can take a road of looking forward , of building hope, of confronting  problems of working together. The second road while it sounds the most positive, is the most difficult, especially for political leaderss, and is like Robert Frost said, the road less travelled. Now more than ever Ireland’s political leaders need to be brave, and to show the same courageas those at Caherguillamore. And while the modern challenge is not one of armed struggle, it is still one of adversity, of conquering economic problems rather than roblemsof occupation, and in doing so winning again our national sovereignity, our ability to make our own decisions and the right of the people again to self-determination”
On the recent visit of the Queen of England, he said “  I am certain that those that gathered (in Caherguillamore) on that faithful night to raise funds for the pursuit of freedom, would never have imagined that the grandaughter of the then King George V would, two short generations later, would vist the Garden of Rememberance in Dublin and bow her head as a mark of respect to thos who lost their lives fighting for Ireland”
Mr. O’Donovan finished by thanking those reponsible for organising such ceremonies saying that woithout the commitment of local volunteers  other generations would lose a vitally important part of our heritage which is such a critical part of our identity.