A major series of commemorations are planned next year to mark the centenary of Thomas Kent’s execution, which include creating a monument and museum in his honour as well as a period costume re-enactment of his arrest and trial.
Months before it was announced that Kent’s body had been discovered and positively identified through DNA, a committee had been set up in his native village of Castlelyons, Co Cork to put together a series of centenary commemorations about his role in the 1916 Rising.
Seeing their patriot son come home for good is likely to spur the local community into even more events next year, on top of a highly extensive programme already in place.
The 20-strong Castlelyons 1916 Commemoration Committee is leading the plans locally, with the main commemorations happening from May 9 onward, the day Kent was executed in Cork prison following the skirmish at his family home which led to the deaths of his brother, Richard, and RIC Constable William Rowe.
On May 9, a State ceremonial event is planned in his memory, which will involve the city and county councils and the community in Castlelyons, details of which will be revealed nearer the date. A Thomas Kent lament has been composed by Barry Murphy, a renowned piper from Carrigaline, and it will be performed on that day.
On May 15, in Castlelyons, the community will host a myriad of events, the centrepiece of which will be the unveiling of a 1.8m black granite obelisk to his memory at the community field, adjacent to the national school. It is hoped the obelisk will be completed by Christmas.
The same day will feature a period costume re-enactment of his arrest and his later trial, based on historical transcripts the local organising committee have acquired.
A temporary museum reflecting his life will also be opened in Castlelyons National School. A lot of memorabilia associated with the man and his family has already been collected and more is being sourced.
The local tidy towns and heritage group plan to plant a row of trees in his honour.
On a date yet to be announced in August, renowned author Meda Ryan will give a lecture on Kent at Fermoy library.
The local GAA Club will also honour Thomas Kent with a tournament, the final of which is to take place on May 15 and a fly-fishing competition is to be arranged at a date yet unknown as he was know for his prowess in that sport.
On May 2, the people in nearby Fermoy will march over the town’s bridge. It was on this bridge the iconic picture of Kent flanked by British soldiers was taken.
The bridge will formally be named Thomas Kent Bridge and a plaque erected on it to commemorate the patriot.
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