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Now that the state ceremony in Glasnevin is over, may I use your columns to say a ludicrously brief, but intensely sincere, thank you to everyone who participated in whatever form in the Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa centenary commemoration in West Cork over the last number of weeks – and most especially to those who have helped organise the various events (all of whom I hope to thank in person over the coming weeks).
We are too close to the commemoration to judge its overall success or failure, or its longer term impact, locally and nationally, but what we can say with certainty is that it feels like a success, and that, not for the first and hopefully not the last time, west Cork has led the country on a project of national significance. Simply – thank you!
I also wish to thank the Irish Examiner for the unfailing support given by the paper for the programme - in publicising events in advance, and in reporting on them after the fact. Again, thank you!
Three brief final points. Firstly may I ask that if anyone has photographs, or videos, or spare artefacts (programmes, posters etc) relating to any event that took place as part of the programme, and which they don’t mind donating to me, that they make contact (firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the address below). I hope to assemble a digital, as well as a physical, archive of the commemorative programme that will hopefully complement a permanent exhibition or museum to the memory of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa and the Fenian movement that will, also hopefully, be created at some point as part of the legacy of the commemoration. Secondly, following on from this, contact shall be made with relevant local and national tourist bodies with a view to the development of a dedicated, tourist-friendly ‘Rossa trail’ or ‘Fenian trail’ in the West Cork area, again as part of a dedicated legacy of the commemoration. Thirdly, I propose that two final events should be added to the commemoration programme, as a coda it were – a launch in Reenascreena of the Shane Kenna biography of the man in question (the launch of which had to be deferred from July), with an open invitation to all to attend, and a social evening later that same night, again for everyone who was involved in the organisation of, or participated in, the local commemorative programme – whether they be located in Reenascreena, Rosscarbery, Skibbereen, Clonakilty or further afield – with the event likely to take place in the Celtic Ross hotel, Rosscarbery, on a Saturday evening sometime in September. More details to follow!
Again – to the people of West Cork, thank you!
School of History
University College Cork
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