Headstones erected at unmarked graves of 1920 Bloody Sunday victims

Headstones erected at unmarked graves of 1920 Bloody Sunday victims

Headstones have been unveiled at the last three unmarked graves of those killed in the 1920 Bloody Sunday shootings at Croke Park.

The GAA organised the commemorative stones in Glasnevin Cemetery on the 99th anniversary of the killings.

Eight of the 14 people killed by British soldiers at the historic GAA ground in Dublin were laid to rest in unmarked graves.

Liam Dineen (second right), from Skerries, at the grave of his great uncle Patrick O’Dowd, during a ceremony at Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)
Liam Dineen (second right), from Skerries, at the grave of his great uncle Patrick O’Dowd, during a ceremony at Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Since 2015 the Bloody Sunday Graves Project has been working with the surviving relatives of these victims to see the graves marked.

On Thursday morning headstones were unveiled for Jerome O’Leary, 10, the youngest of the victims, as well as for labourer Patrick O’Dowd, 57, and former soldier Michael Feery, 40.

On November 21 1920, British soldiers opened fire in Croke Park during a football match between Dublin and Tipperary.

Fourteen were killed and dozens others injured.

Liam Dineen, from Skerries, at the grave of his grand uncle Patrick O’Dowd (Brian Lawless/PA)
Liam Dineen, from Skerries, at the grave of his grand uncle Patrick O’Dowd (Brian Lawless/PA)

It came hours after the killing of 14 men by the IRA in an operation targeting British agents.

Almost a century on, members of the victims’ families were present alongside GAA president John Horan for the unveiling ceremony.

Liam Dineen, a relative of Mr O’Dowd, described the ceremony as poignant and fitting.

His great-uncle is recalled heroically as having helped others escape over a wall before being shot himself.

“We are very proud as a family that his courage is recognised,” he said.

“My aunt always spoke about her dad and the time growing up when she had lost a young brother and lost her father. She always regretted the fact that nothing had been done or said in his memory.

“It gives me a mark of closure for my aunt that at long last her father’s sacrifice has been noted and appreciated.

“So two years ago when the GAA approached me (about installing a headstone), I said ‘of course, I’d be delighted’, I know that it would be a tribute to my aunt as well that this was being done.

“It was very fitting and very appropriate.”

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