'We will remember them': Bloody Sunday marked in moving ceremony at Croke Park

Fourteen torches were also lit on the Hill in memory of those who died in the massacre
'We will remember them': Bloody Sunday marked in moving ceremony at Croke Park

Brendan Gleeson speaking at the GAA Bloody Sunday Commemoration at Croke Park. Picture: ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Croke Park is used to high emotion and it was clearly in evidence this evening as a special ceremony to mark 100 years of Bloody Sunday was held at GAA headquarters.

Wreaths were in front of Hill 16 by President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, GAA President John Horan and GAA Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan to mark the deaths of 14 people a century ago when Crown Forces opened fire ahead of a football match between Tipperary and Dublin.

Uachtarán CLG John Horan lays his wreath watched by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and An Taoiseach Micheál Martin during the special remembrance ceremony at Croke Park, Dublin, to honour the 14 victims killed at the stadium by Crown Forces on Bloody Sunday, November 21, 1920. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Uachtarán CLG John Horan lays his wreath watched by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and An Taoiseach Micheál Martin during the special remembrance ceremony at Croke Park, Dublin, to honour the 14 victims killed at the stadium by Crown Forces on Bloody Sunday, November 21, 1920. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Brendan Gleeson, in an oration written by Michael Foley, author of the book The Bloodied Field, said: "In 90 seconds, 14 people lay dead and mortally wounded in the fields and banks of Croke Park and on the streets outside. Tonight, 100 years on, we pause to remember them all: the 14 who went to a match and never came home."

The names of the victims are lit by candlelight at the Bloody Sunday memorial in Croke Park. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
The names of the victims are lit by candlelight at the Bloody Sunday memorial in Croke Park. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Fourteen torches were also lit on the Hill in memory of those who died in the massacre, with the occasion also marking the renaming of a lane near the stadium in honour of Joseph Traynor. He died there having earlier been shot in the attack.

Dozens more were injured in the 1920 killings which came during Ireland's War of Independence.

Kerry great Pat Spillane paid tribute to the 14 victims and describing Bloody Sunday as "one of the darkest, saddest days in Irish history."

The commemorative event also saw Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Lisa Hannigan and Catherine Fitzgerald perform a specially commissioned piece, 'More Than a Game', alongside a video re-enactment of some of events of the day.

The event concluded with the words "We will remember them all. Cuimhnínis orthu uilig."

Earlier, Dublin GAA had unveiled two plaques at Parnell Park to mark the centenary, featuring the names of those who were killed and the players and substitutes on the Dublin team that day.

Speaking ahead of the Croke Park event, President Higgins said many lives were irrevocably changed as a result of the events that day.

"We recall today those lost and those who suffered with a sense of profound sadness and outrage even, but also as a reminder of the fragility of the hard-earned peace to which we have become accustomed and the consequences that flow from the abuse of power and the failure of diplomacy and politics," he said.

"That the events that took place can, in their brutality and casualness to the taking of life, still shock and challenge us all is to be understood.

"People from different backgrounds on the island may reflect on Bloody Sunday in different ways.

"We must respect this and be open to differing perspectives, and encourage a hospitality for these differing narratives of the events of that day.

"For all of us, to avoid becoming captives of any frozen version of the events of our past, we must find the courage to remember painful events with honesty.

Doing this can only assist us in taking responsibility for the present and our shared, peaceful future together.

Mr Martin described Bloody Sunday as "one of the most poignant days in Ireland's struggle for independence".

"The violence of what happened in Croke Park still has the capacity to shock and move us," he said.

"100 years on, we remember the 14 people who lost their lives that day."

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