VIDEO: Honouring Thomas Kent’s ultimate sacrifice with state funeral

More than 5,000 people filed past the coffin of Thomas Kent as his remains lay in state in Cork City last night and the Lord Mayor has called on people to line the streets of the city today as the patriot is taken to his final resting place.

Thousands more people are expected to converge on the village of Castlelyons, Co Cork, this afternoon for his requiem Mass, watch his reinterment in the Kent family vault, and listen to a graveside oration from Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Sean Sherwin, who acts as a liaison for the Kent family, said they were “very grateful to all those who had turned up to pay their respects” and are looking forward to seeing even more people honour him when he is buried today.

The remains of Thomas Kent lying in state at St Michael’s garrison church at Collins Barracks, Cork. Video: David Keane

The rosary beads Kent clutched as he faced the firing squad are to be used for the offertory procession during today’s requiem Mass.

Lord Mayor Chris O’Leary paid his respects last night to the republican who, aged 50, was executed by the British on May 9, 1916 — describing it as “a great privilege to finally honour the man who had lain in a shallow grave in the grounds of Cork prison for nearly 100 years”.

Thomas Kent’s remains arriving at Collins Barracks Cork ahead of his state funeral in Castlelyons. Video: David Keane

He said the Kent state funeral “encapsulated the relevance to us of commemorating the centenary of the Easter Rising” and asked the people to line the streets to pay their respects as his remains are taken from Collins Barracks down to Kent Station at 12.20am today on their way to Castlelyons.

“This is a state funeral to recognise Thomas Kent who along with his brother, Richard, made the ultimate sacrifice for Ireland,” said Mr O’Leary.

Kent’s remains arrived at Collins Barracks shortly before 4pm yesterday and were brought into the garrison church, where more than 80 relatives attended a private viewing before a prayer service took place.

They included his nieces Kathleen, 84, and Prudence, 81. Their older sister, Eily, 93, was unable to attend due to frailty.

For many years, members of the Kent family have attended Mass at the garrison church to mark the anniversary of his death.

A ceremonial guard of Army, Air Corps, and Naval Service formed around the coffin before the public filed past it after signing the book of condolencies.

The Kent relatives later attended a special reception in the officers’ mess hosted by Brigadier General Phillip Brennan, the commanding officer of 1 Brigade and Collins Barracks.

Funeral timeline

12.20pm:

Following a private family prayer service, Thomas Kent’s remains will be taken by hearse from Cork Prison at Rathmore Road and travel to north Cork by the following route:

  • Rathmore Road to Glen Avenue;
  • Turning right onto Ballyhooly Road, through Dillon’s Cross, Luke’s Cross, and onto Summerhill North;
  • Left at the bottom of Summerhill North (Coliseum corner) on to Lower Glanmire Road and past Kent Station,
  • On to Dunkettle interchange and to M8 motorway, exiting at Junction 15 Fermoy (Corrin exit),
  • Passing the Kent home at Bawnard House.

1.20pm: Funeral cortege will arrive at St Nicholas Church in Castlelyons.

1.45pm: Funeral Mass begins.

Gardaí will be on point duty to ensure free passage for the funeral cortege along the route, which will mean traffic restrictions in those areas.

Anyone attending the funeral is asked to arrive before 1pm in Castlelyons, where gardaí will direct motorists to parking in the Glanbia site and near the local primary school. Traffic from Conna should travel through Coolagown village, and those travelling from Fermoy should arrive through Rathcormac. The road from Corrin to Coole upper will be closed from 1.20pm-1.40pm to facilitate the cortege.

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