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.
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