LT THOMAS J. KENNEDY

Lt TJ Kennedy of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Lt Thomas James Kennedy was Editor of The Northern Standard newspaper in Monaghan when he enlisted in the British Army. He was killed in action in France on 9th September 1916.

He was the eldest son of Samuel and Mary Kennedy, Terressan, Moneyhaw, County Derry near Cookstown, and brother of Mr. Joseph A. Kennedy, journalist, Lisburn.

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Placing a cross in memory of Lt Kennedy at Thiepval Memorial July 24th 2019

For five years previous to the outbreak of war Mr Kennedy was Managing Editor of the newspaper, The Northern Standard, in Monaghan. He was described as “a journalist of much ability”. In March 1915, he joined the 16th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. Shortly afterwards was given a commission in the 12th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He had served during the Easter Rising in Dublin and a month later on May 25th 1916, he was sent to France.

Lieutenant Kennedy was attached to the 8th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers at the Somme where he was killed in action on 9th September 1916.

Panel 4D on Thiepval Memorial with name of TJ Kennedy

His unit was part of the 16th Irish Division, composed mainly of former members of the National Volunteers, who played an important part in capturing the towns of Guillemont and Ginchy, although they suffered massive casualties. During these successful actions between 1st and 10th September, casualties amounted to 224 officers and 4,090 men.

The Irish conquest of Ginchy turned out to be one of the few victories the Allies could claim in the terrible year of 1916. It gave them control of a series of vital observation posts overlooking much of the Somme region that would prove to be a game-changer in the inch-by-inch battle for the Western Front.

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Thiepval Memorial

Lieutenant Tom Kettle was among the casualties recorded by the 16th Irish Division and he was commemorated in Dublin last week. His name and that of Lieutenant Kennedy would later be carved upon the Thiepval Monument to the Missing of the Somme along with 72,194 others whose remains were never identified.

Panel 4D on Thiepval Memorial

They include the names of Monaghan men from the 9thBattalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, part of the 36thUlster Division who were killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on July 1st1916 (see Northern Standard July 14th2016). When I visited the memorial in July 2016 for the Somme centenary commemoration I had not realised that all these names were on the memorial, especially that of a former journalist from the Northern Standard. So on this latest visit in July 2019 I checked the relevant panel with the help of an intern from the CWGC who told me she came from Belfast and that a relative had served in the same Battalion as Lt Kennedy.

Cross left by me at Thiepval Memorial remembering Lt TJ Kennedy

Thomas James Kennedy was born in County Tyrone about 1881. The 1901 census lists him as age 20 living with the family at house 4 in Terressan, Moneyhaw, near Cookstown. Thomas was working as a printer; his father was a farmer. Before the war he had served his apprenticeship in the offices of the Mid Ulster Mail as a reporter, and was well known in journalistic circles in Dungannon, Derry, Dublin and Dundalk.

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From the Belfast Newsletter dated 10th March 1915:

A Journalist’s Commission. Compliment to Mr T J Kennedy, Monaghan. A deputation, representing the journalists of county Monaghan, waited on Mr. Thomas J Kennedy yesterday at the headquarters of the Ulster Division Cadet Corps at Brownlow House, Lurgan, and made him the recipient of a presentation on the occasion of his departure from Monaghan. Mr Kennedy, who has occupied the position of managing editor of the Northern Standard, Monaghan, for a period of five years is extremely popular in that town, and particularly so amongst his colleagues in journalism.

He is a member of the Ulster District of the Institute of Journalists, and is well-known in newspaper circles in Ireland. He has joined the Cadet Corps at Lurgan prior to taking up a commission in the Royal Irish Rifles. The presentation, which took the form of a handsome gold wristlet watch, with luminous dial, was made by Mr Samuel Bothwell, who succeeds Mr Kennedy in the position of managing editor. He paid an eloquent tribute to the many good qualities of Mr Kennedy as a journalist and gentleman , and wished him every success in his military career.

He also conveyed to him the sincere good wishes of Mr William Swan, the proprietor of the Northern Standard. Mr J J Turley spoke of his association with Mr Kennedy in Monaghan and of the kindly, cordial, and genial relationship that always existed between them. He regretted the temporary departure of such a warm personal friend, and trusted that Mr Kennedy would return decorated with high military honours.

Mr Kennedy, having suitably replied, the proceedings terminated.

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During the Easter Rising in April 1916 he was recommended for promotion for services in the field. While attached to the 12th Inniskillings he was deployed to the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin, where he signalled to have the iron gates and doors open, and arranged to have his men cross under heavy fire without loss. It was through his courtesy afterwards that arrangements were made for a fifteen minute ceasefire so as to enable Mr. Richard Bowden, Administrator at the Cathedral, to procure provisions for a large number of refugees who were compelled to take refuge with the men in the building.

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Mid Ulster Mail Saturday 15thJanuary 1916

Second Lieutenant T J Kennedy, 12th (Reserve) Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, has been promoted Lieutenant. He is a son of Samuel Kennedy, Tyressan, Cooktown, and well known in journalistic circles, commencing his career in the staff of the Mid Ulster Mail.

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Mid Ulster Mail Saturday 20thMay 1916

Local Soldiers (furlough)

During the last ten days, quite a number of soldiers have been home on furlough. Mr T J Kennedy (son of Mr Samuel Kennedy), formerly of the Mid Ulster Mail staff, who is a lieutenant of the Inniskillings and did valuable work in quelling the Sinn Fein rebellion.

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Mid Ulster Mail Saturday 12thAugust 1916

Mr Samuel Kennedy, Tyresson, Cookstown, has received a telegram from the War Office that his son, Lieutenant T J Kennedy, has been wounded. Lieutenant Kennedy was a well-known journalist. He served his apprenticeship with the Mid Ulster Mail and prior to receiving his commission about eighteen months ago he was editor of the Northern Standard, Monaghan. Prior to going to France, he was on duty in Dublin during the Rebellion. He has written since that his wound was on his hand and that he hopes to be on duty again soon.

Lieutenant Kennedy was attached to the 8th Inniskillings at the Somme where he was killed in action on 9th September 1916.

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Side section of Thiepval Memorial

Mid Ulster Mail Saturday 16thSeptember 1916

LATE NEWS Lt TJ Kennedy Killed

A telegram from the War Office was received on Friday afternoon informing Mr Samuel Kennedy, Tyresson, Cookstown, that his eldest son, Lieutenant Kennedy, of the Inniskillings, was killed in action in France on 9th September. He served his apprenticeship in the Mid Ulster Mail, and was well known in journalistic circles in Londonderry, Belfast, Dublin, Dundalk and Monaghan, and was the editor of the Northern Standard in the latter town when war was declared. He had been on the South Irish Horse, and volunteered for service, and was given a commission in the Ulster Division, being later transferred to the 16th Division. He was engaged during the Sinn Fein Rebellion with his battalion in Dublin, and his efforts were warmly commended by the administrator of the Pro-Cathedral, where he was stationed during most of Easter Week, and it was understood he was recommended for promotion.

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Tyrone Courier 21stSeptember 1916

Intimation has been received by Mr Samuel Kennedy, Tyresson, Cookstown, that his son, Lieutenant Thomas J Kennedy, Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in action on 9th September. Lieutenant Kennedy was a well known Ulster journalist, and for a time acted as a reporter for the Tyrone Courier, and proper to receiving his commission was editor of the Northern Standard, Monaghan. Before going to the front, he took part in the quelling of disturbances in Dublin. He was wounded on the 4th August last, but the injury, which was to the hand, was of a slight nature, and he was able to resume his duties in a short time.

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Mid Ulster Mail Saturday 23rdSeptember 1916

(Death Notice)

KENNEDY – Killed in action on 9th September 1916. Lieutenant T J Kennedy, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Ulster Division (attached to the Irish Brigade), eldest son of Samuel and Mary Kennedy, Tyresson, Cookstown. Deeply regretted by father, mother sisters and brothers.

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Mid Ulster Mail Saturday 23rdSeptember 1916

Lt TJ Kennedy

A telegram from the War Office was received on Friday afternoon informing Mr Samuel Kennedy, Tyresson, Cookstown, that his eldest son, Lieutenant Kennedy, of the Inniskillings, was killed in action in France on 9th September. He served his apprenticeship in the Mid Ulster Mail, and was well known in journalistic circles in Londonderry, Belfast, Dublin, Dundalk and Monaghan, and was the editor of the Northern Standard in the latter town when war was declared. He had been on the South Irish Horse, and volunteered for service, and was given a commission in the Ulster Division, being later transferred to the 16th Division. He was engaged during the Sinn Fein Rebellion with his battalion in Dublin, and his efforts were warmly commended by the administrator of the Pro-Cathedral, where he was stationed during most of Easter Week, and it was understood he was recommended for promotion. The following letter was received from the Rev. Richard Bowden, B.A., Administrator of the Pro-Cathedral, dated 14th May 1916, and addressed to Sir John Maxwell K.C.B. (a copy of which is treasured by Lieutenant Kennedy’s parents), testified to the way he performed his duties. It runs:-

‘Sir. After the telephone message to the military to occupy the Pro-Cathedral, I deem it my duty to state to you my great appreciation of the efficiency and courtesy with which the occupation was carried out by the 12th Inniskillings. I wish to mention specially Mr Kennedy (Lieut), who signalled to have the iron gates and doors opened, and arranged for his men to cross under fire without loss, and through whose courtesy afterwards, arrangements were made to cease fire for fifteen minutes so as to enable me to procure provisions for the large number of refugees who were compelled by the fire to take refuge with us. Richard Bowden, Administrator, Pro Cathedral, (Dublin).’

The following information is from the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin website:- Dublin Diocesan Archivist Noelle Dowling and Darren Maher have studied the accounts of those priests who ministered on the streets of the burning city in Easter 1916. Twenty priests, including a curate who would go on to become Archbishop of Dublin, were involved in ministering to those caught up in the events on both sides of the divide one hundred years ago.

Among the historic 1916 documents in the Diocesan Archives is an account of how over forty people sought refuge in the Pro-Cathedral when fighting broke out in the city centre. All around the Cathedral buildings were ablaze – the group were forced to stay inside the “Pro” for three days. Meanwhile, the priests of the Cathedral continued to come and go from the building to be with the wounded and dying. One Cathedral curate ran from the Pro to Wynne’s Hotel through streets raked with gunfire from all sides to attend to a wounded man who was badly injured.

Jervis Street Hospital quickly filled with the wounded and it was the busiest hospital in the city centre during the week of the Rising. A priest was in attendance at all times to cater for the many religious needs of the wounded and dying. The Very Rev. Fr. Richard Bowden, Administrator of the Pro Cathedral, ensured that clergy were always available. He stayed there constantly through Monday, Tuesday and left on Wednesday morning when curates, Fr. Edward Byrne (who would later become Archbishop of Dublin) and Fr. Joseph Mc Ardle took over.

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Mid Ulster Mail Saturday 23rdSeptember 1916

Major A J Walkey, of the 8th Inniskillings wrote:-

‘I regret having to inform you that your son was killed while leading his men during an attack on the 9th September. I have gathered that he was going down a trench with his bombers, when they met a party of Germans, who put up a fight, one of them throwing a bomb which killed your son. I am glad to say that afterwards some of his men got him away and buried him in decency. Please accept my sincerest sympathies in your bereavement.’

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Mid Ulster Mail Saturday 23rdSeptember 1916

Colonel Sir John Leslie Bart, of Glasslough, County Monaghan, commanding the 12th (R.) B., R. I. Fusiliers, (whose son Captain Norman Leslie was killed in France in 1914) writes to Mr Samuel Kennedy as follows:- ‘I cannot say how much I feel for you and your family in the loss you have sustained in the death of your gallant son. In this battalion, he was beloved by both officers and men, and none of us are more grieved by his loss than I am myself. I had always a very strong liking for him ever since the evening he offered me his services at Monaghan, where his talents as a journalist were fully recognised. No one helped me more than he did in forming the Battalion, where he was so quick to learn and impart the knowledge he had acquired. He accompanied me often on the recruiting platform, and none could speak better.’

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Mid Ulster Mail Saturday 23rdSeptember 1916

Lieutenant Colonel J C Ker Fox, second in command of the 12th Inniskillings, writes from Finner Camp:- ‘I believer Sir John Leslie is writing to you on behalf of the battalion and himself to sympathise with you in your great loss. I myself have been away on duty for the last five days, and only returned on Saturday night, hoping that the news might not be correct, and was sorry to have it confirmed yesterday. I wish to tell you how much I personally regret the death of your gallant son. Although I am considerably more than twice his age, I had taken a great liking to him, and had seen a great deal of him, on and off duty. He was a brilliant young officer and if he had lived would, I am sure, have distinguished himself. He was very popular with all his brother officers, and deservedly so, for he was a kind hearted, good natured and cheery young fellow, whom we could ill spare. I wish I had words at my command to express my feelings better, but I bitterly regret his death, and feel most deeply and sincerely for his family and for you’.

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Mid Ulster Mail Saturday 23rdSeptember 1916

Rev P.D. McCaul of St Eunan’s College, Letterkenny, writes as follows to Mr S Kennedy:-You have my deepest sympathy in your great sorrow caused by the death of your son. During the week of the Rebellion I met him a good deal, and I must say that Lieutenant Kennedy was a general favourite with all the people staying in the Hamman Hotel. He was more than kind to myself, personally. He was affable, gentlemanly, fearless, and good humoured. I am deeply touched by his death. The loss of such a noble son is a crushing blow. His parents and other members of the family have my deepest sympathy. May God comfort you in your sorrow is the earnest prayer of one who greatly admired your darling son.”

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Mid Ulster Mail Saturday 23rdSeptember 1916

The following telegram has been received by Mr Kennedy:- ‘The King and Queen deeply regret the loss you and the Army have sustained by the death of your son in the service of his country. Their Majesties truly sympathise with you in your sorrow. Keeper of the Privy Purse’.

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Tyrone Courier 1stFebruary 1917

The late Lieutenant T J Kennedy, a native of Cookstown, and formerly a member of Cookstown, and formerly a member of the Tyrone Courier reporting staff, and Lieut W E Wylie, the well known K.C. and member of the North West Circuit, are among those ‘mentioned’ for their services in Dublin during the rebellion.

In a letter to his father Major A.J. Walkey of the 8th Inniskillings wrote:

“I regret to inform you that your son was killed while leading his men during an attack on the 9th September. I have gathered that he was going down a trench with his bombers, when they met a party of Germans, who put up a fight, one of them throwing a bomb which killed your son. I am glad to say that afterwards some of his men got him away and buried him in decency.”

NORTHERN STANDARD Saturday 16thSeptember 1916

LIEUT. T. J. KENNEDY KILLED IN ACTION.

With extreme regret we announce the death in action of Lieutenant Thomas J. Kennedy, of the 8thBattalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The sad news was conveyed to this office late this afternoon in a telegram from the deceased officer’s bereaved father, who resides at Cookstown, his gallant son having fallen on the 8thinst.

Lieutenant Kennedy was for nearly five years managing editor of the “Northern Standard”. In March 1915 he gave up his position to join the Cadet Corps of the 16thBattalion Royal Irish Rifles (Pioneers), shortly afterwards gaining a Commission. He was posted to the 12thInniskillings, and after a period of training with his battalion was sent to France a few months ago, since when he was transferred to the 8thInniskillings. He was slightly wounded on August 4th, but was able to take up duty again after a short period.

During his lengthened stay in Monaghan the late Lieut. Kennedy made hosts of friends by reason of his genial , friendly disposition, and his popularity with the public was enhanced by the patriotic response which he gave to the call of Duty. He took an active part in connection with the Monaghan Battalion of the U.V.F. prior to the war, his valuable services to the cause of Unionism both in this and other directions being highly appreciated. In athletic circles in Monaghan and elsewhere he was a prime favourite, and amongst all classes the greatest sympathy will be felt with the bereaved relatives in the loss they have sustained. He has made the supreme sacrifice in defence of the Empire, and we deeply deplore his death.

NORTHERN STANDARD Saturday 23rdSeptember 1916

THE LATE LIEUTENANT T.J. KENNEDY

MONAGHAN BOARD’S SYMPATHY

Sympathetic reference was made at Monaghan Board of Guardians on Monday to the death in action of Lieut. T.J. Kennedy. Mr. Jas. Loughead said it was with feelings of deepest regret he proposed a resolution of sympathy with the relatives of the late Lieut. T.J. Kennedy, “Northern Standard”. He was a gentleman who from time to time came amongst them as a member of the Press, one for whom every one of them had a warm corner in their hearts. He was one of nature’s gentlemen, who never drew a dividing line between members of that board, but was at all times considerate and courteous to all. He fought nobly for his country and fell like a hero on the plains of France. He proposed the adoption of the following resolution:-

“That we, the members of Monaghan Board of Guardians, have heard with deep regret of the death in action in France of Lieut. T.J. Kennedy, late managing editor of the ‘Northern Standard’. For many years he attended the meetings of this Board in his journalistic capacity, and at all times the members found him most courteous in his endeavor to further the interests of the Board of Guardians and of the ratepayers they represented. We desire to express our sincere sympathy on his death”.

Mr. Hugh O’Brien seconded. The late Lieut. Kennedy, he said, was a gentleman he knew personally for many years. He could not add anything to what Mr. Loughead had said regarding the deceased gentleman.

Mr. Jas. M’Quaid, J.P. — I desire to be associated with the feeling expression contained in the resolution. I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Kennedy for many years. I bear out what was said about him as to his courtesy and efficiency as a journalist.

Mr. T.W. Hanna, J.P. — It is unnecessary for me to say anything. I wish to be associated with the resolution.

Several other members desired to be associated with the resolution.

The Chairman in putting the resolution to the meeting said he was sure they all symapthised with Lieut. Kennedy’s relatives on his sad death. As Mr. Loughead embodied in his resolution, he fell like a man fighting for his country. They all knew Lieut. Kennedy. He was a fine journalist and all regretted to learn of his death in a foreign country. He was sure his relatives had the sympathy of all the boards he attended.

The resolution was passed unanimously, all the members standing, and a copy was ordered to be sent to the relatives of the deceased officer.

Commemorating the former Editor of The Northern Standard, Lt TJ Kennedy

Thomas J. Kennedy was buried at the time of his death but his grave could not be found later by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He is therefore commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. He is also commemorated on the Cenotaph in Cooktown and Molesworth Presbyterian Roll of Honour, Cookstown.

The reports in the Northern Standard at the time of the First World War show how the paper under the proprietorship of William Swan was a pro-unionist publication. It carried weekly reports of the war effort including details of local men who had died fighting for the British Army. The “Dublin rebellion” or Easter Rising featured only briefly in the columns of the paper in May 1916. Much of the information on Lt Kennedy has been taken from the records of www.cookstownwardead.co.uk as well as the files of The Northern Standard.

This article appeared in The Northern Standard on 15th September 2016 on the centenary of his death.

MAYO HONOURS MONAGHAN MAN

Tommy McKenna with his son Tom McKenna, wife Regina McKenna and daughters Siobhan & Regina and friend Fr Paddy McMahon, Emyvale, of the Monaghan Association, Manchester. Photo: © Bernie O'Brien.

Tommy McKenna with his son Tom McKenna, wife Regina McKenna and daughters Siobhan & Regina and friend Fr Paddy McMahon, Emyvale, of the Monaghan Association, Manchester. Photo: © Bernie O’Brien.

MONAGHAN MAN RECEIVES MAYO AWARD IN MANCHESTER

Monaghan footballers were overwhelmed by Mayo at the weekend, but in Manchester, Mayo gave an honorary award to a Monaghan man. Tommy McKenna, a native of Longfield, Carrickmacross, was singled out by the Mayo Association for giving over thirty years’ service to the Irish Community Care charity in Manchester. Tommy said he was delighted to have been named “Mayo” man of the year. He was presented with a commemorative crystal bowl by the Manchester Mayo Association President Marcella Wilkinson and Chairperson Patricia Gallagher. He was joined by his family at the event: his wife Regina, son Tom and daughters Siobhan and Regina.

Tommy is a very successful businessman, having set up a civil engineering and building contractors company after emigrating to England in 1954. At one stage he also owned an entertainment venue called the Ardri Ballroom. He would bring over performers such as Big Tom, with their showbands. It was thanks to his sponsorship over the years that many bands were brought over from Ireland to take part in the annual St Patrick’s Day parade. Tommy still has brothers and a sister in the Carrickmacross area and returns a couple of times a year to Longfield, where he has a house.

Irish Community Care was founded by Tommy and other members of the Irish community in 1985. The charity now has two centres in Cheetham Hill and Levenshulme, staffed by ten people and a team of fifty volunteers. The centres provide a wide range of services, offering advice and information and providing outreach support, including to the travelling community. The charity runs a bereavement service and also gives support to survivors of institutional abuse. It also runs a reminiscence project, collecting stories about the experiences of emigrants.

Tommy McKenna, Carrickmacross, is congratulated by Manchester Monaghan Association President, Fr Paddy McMahon from Emyvale. Photo: © Bernie O'Brien.

Tommy McKenna, Carrickmacross, is congratulated by Manchester Monaghan Association President, Fr Paddy McMahon from Emyvale.  Photo: © Bernie O’Brien.

One of the first to congratulate Tommy on his award was another emigrant from Monaghan, Fr Paddy McMahon, who comes originally from Drummully, Emyvale. Fr McMahon attended Edenmore school followed by St Macartan’s College in Monaghan, before being ordained. He has been based in Manchester since 1968 and one of his first assignments was a parish in Old Trafford, where Manchester United football club is situated. Over the years he became friendly with a number of the people at the club, including former manager Alex Ferguson and he has been following the Red Devils ever since.

He is now parish priest at nearby St John’s in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, where the late Matt Busby lived. Sometimes Fr McMahon says prayers at Mass for United and he has been known to give out the Premier League results at the end of Saturday vigil Masses. Despite the rivalries between the clubs, he has also welcomed to his church Manchester City supporters and occasionally one of their players. Fr McMahon helped to form the Monaghan Association in Manchester around 1975 and is still President of the group.

Tommy McKenna, Carrickmacross, receives a commenorative crystal bowl with his award from the Manchester Mayo Association President Marcella Wilkinson and Chairperson Patricia Gallagher. Photo: © Bernie O'Brien

Tommy McKenna, Carrickmacross, receives a commenorative crystal bowl with his award from the Manchester Mayo Association President Marcella Wilkinson and Chairperson Patricia Gallagher. Photo: © Bernie O’Brien

The Irish community in Manchester is now busy preparing for St Patrick’s Day. The Manchester Irish Festival is Europe’s biggest Irish Festival outside of Ireland. The city will be turned Green and Red on Friday 6th March at 8pm for the launch of a special promotional event sponsored by Mayo County Council. The annual Irish Festival runs from Friday 6th for a fortnight and features over 200 events. They include headlining gigs from Nathan Carter, The Script, Noel Gallagher, and Young, Gifted & Green.

For more information about any of the events in this year’s Manchester Irish Festival visit: www.manchesteririshfestival.co.uk.

Note: These pictures are copyright B. O’Brien. My thanks to photographer Bernie O’Brien in Manchester for giving permission to use these photographs, which I used in the article in this week’s Northern Standard (see Carrickmacross News p.35).

Northern Standard: Carrickmacross News Thursday 5th March 2015 p.35

Northern Standard: Carrickmacross News Thursday 5th March 2015 p.35

 

 

TAOISEACH IN MONAGHAN

Northern Standard Thursday 12th February p.1

Northern Standard Thursday 12th February p.1

My front page story in this week’s Northern Standard Thursday 12th February including a brief interview I got with Enda Kenny as he was leaving the Monaghan Education Campus after the official opening. He was already an hour behind schedule, heading for Virginia in County Cavan, but provided me with a few good quotes about how important a day it was for Monaghan, and the impact of the new Campus and 200 new jobs at Combilift would be ‘phenomenal’.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny unveiling plaque at Monaghan Institute with Director Dr Fiona McGrath, Cllr Padraig McNally & Joe McGrath, Chair CMETB  (left) and CEO CMETB Martin O'Brien, Heather Humphreys TD & Michael Moriarty ETBI  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Taoiseach Enda Kenny unveiling plaque at Monaghan Institute with Director Dr Fiona McGrath, Cllr Padraig McNally & Joe McGrath, Chair CMETB (left) and CEO CMETB Martin O’Brien, Heather Humphreys TD & Michael Moriarty ETBI Photo: © Michael Fisher

This was a wonderful day for Monaghan, according to the Taoiseach, putting the county back on top. Speaking to the Northern Standard after a major jobs announcement by Combilift and the official opening of the Monaghan Education Campus, Enda Kenny T.D. praised what was going on in both locations and said the impact of the two developments would be phenomenal.

It was all about the future, he said. He said the mix of sport, learning, community and culture at the Education Campus would yield benefits not only for the schools, but also for the community, town and county. He welcomed the news that Combilift is planning to link in with Monaghan Institute to develop a new apprenticeship course for educating mechanics and said this was how industry would be able to diversify and create sustainable jobs nationwide.

Mr Kenny also confirmed that the government is still committed to contributing €50 million towards the development of the N2/A5 road scheme from the border towards Letterkenny and Derry, half of the amount this year and the remainder next year.”

Taoiseach Opens New Education Campus: Northern Standard 12/02/15 p.1

Taoiseach Opens New Education Campus: Northern Standard 12/02/15 p.1

Opening of Monaghan Institute: Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD unveils plaque in the main entrance hall.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny unveiling plaque at Monaghan Institute with Director Dr Fiona McGrath, Cllr Padraig McNally, Joe McGrath, Chair CMETB, Sean Conlan TD & Brendan Smith TD  (left) and CEO CMETB Martin O'Brien, Heather Humphreys TD, Caoimghín Ó Caoláin TD, Matt Carthy MEP & Michael Moriarty ETBI  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Taoiseach Enda Kenny unveiling plaque at Monaghan Institute with Director Dr Fiona McGrath, Cllr Padraig McNally, Sean Conlan TD & Brendan Smith TD (left) and CEO CMETB Martin O’Brien, Heather Humphreys TD, Caoimghín Ó Caoláin TD, Matt Carthy MEP & Joe McGrath, Chair CMETB (right) Photo: © Michael Fisher

BOSE TO CLOSE CARRICKMACROSS PLANT

Bose factory, Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Bose factory, Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

Union representatives will meet management at the BOSE audio systems plant in Carrickmacross  next week, after the multinational suddenly announced it is to close the plant in April, with the loss of 140 jobs. The company has been manufacturing audio products in Monaghan since 1978 but will wind down operations within three months. In a statement on Thursday evening, the US-based business said it would be consolidating its wholly-owned manufacturing operations, closing its facilities in Columbia (South Carolina, USA), and Carrickmacross, Ireland, in order to streamline the company’s global supply chain. boselogo

BOSE which has its headquarters at Framingham in Massachusetts was founded by a college Professor and classical music enthusiast Dr Amar Bose in 1964. Before he died in 2013, Dr. Bose donated a majority stake in his company to MIT, the Boston school where he earned three degrees in electrical engineering and taught a course in acoustics. The company employs around 10,500 people internationally and has sales of $3.3 billion.

Carrickmacross provides final assembly for select home theatre systems and radios for the European market, as well as some remanufacturing for the region. The Irish operation is due to transfer to BOSE facilities in Malaysia and Mexico. Boseheadphone

BOSE executive Vice-President of global operations and corporate development engineering, Bryan Fontaine, said the move came to keep pace with demand from customers and resellers. He said the company’s rapid global growth required them to keep pace with their customers, dealers, distributors, resellers and stores and to serve them as efficiently as possible. These were difficult decisions because they impacted on their very capable teams in Ireland and South Carolina, he said, and he went on to thank the local communities including Carrickmacross for their years of support.

siptuSIPTU Manufacturing Division Organiser Jim McVeigh said the workers were told today by management that the plant was to close in the coming weeks. This came as a complete bolt out of the blue for the workers. It is devastating news for staff, their families and the wider community, he said. Workers have been given a day off today (Friday). Mr McVeigh said he intended to meet the workers and management of the plant on Monday afternoon to discuss what could be done to save their jobs. On Monday evening SIPTU representatives will brief local politicians on the situation and enlist their support in the union’s efforts to save the jobs. He added: “the vast majority of the workforce lives in Monaghan and the plant closure will have a very significant negative impact on the local economy. There are over 140 people employed at this plant and SIPTU is committed to doing everything possible to protect their interests.”

Sean Conlan TD  Photo: FG

Sean Conlan TD Photo: FG

Cavan/Monaghan Fine Gael TD Sean Conlan said he was very sad to hear of the closure of the BOSE plant in Carrickmacross owing to their global restructuring plan.

“The loss of jobs at Bose, which has been a major employer in South Monaghan for many years, is very upsetting for employees and their families, and the fact that this closure is due to take place so soon adds further stress. I have contacted the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, to ask that his department coordinates with the IDA in the hope of extending the notice period.”

“It is important now that alternative employment is found for those who have been left out of work due to today’s decision. I can confirm that the IDA is currently contacting their network of offices worldwide to try to find a suitable company to invest in the region and take on this highly skilled workforce. All the supports of the State will be made available to all of the workers affected by this situation”, said Mr Conlan.

Matt Carthy MEP  Photo: SF

Matt Carthy MEP Photo: SF

Midlands North West Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, who is from Carrickmacross, said: “I know many of the 140 full time BOSE staff personally and I am absolutely devastated to hear of the planned closure of this manufacturing plant in Carrickmacross. The plant is a well established local employer and the announcement today will cause widespread disbelief. Today’s announcement is not just a harsh blow to the staff and their families but to the wider community and local economy, which will be severely impacted by the closure of the plant.”

“Unfortunately, this area has been ignored by too long by successive Governments. I recently highlighted the fact that Monaghan has only has two visits by the IDA in the past 5 years and many will remember that Bose was the last significant employer attracted to this region by the IDA in the late 70s. I am calling on Minister Bruton to immediately engage with the senior management at the plant and attempt to preserve these jobs.”

Full report in next week’s Northern Standard.

 

CARRICKMACROSS NEWS

P1180715 (800x141)My job for the next few months is to represent the Northern Standard as Carrickmacross correspondent in South Monaghan while the staff journalist is on maternity leave (congratulations Veronica on the new arrival!). I enclose the first two pages of Carrickmacross news from last Thursday’s edition (January 8th 2015). Pictures are by Pat Byrne. P1180705

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If you have a story from the area you can contact me at standardcarricknews@yahoo.ie or telephone (042) 9663890 on a Monday/Tuesday or contact the Monaghan office on a Wednesday (047) 82188.  P1180710 (777x800)

JB THE FUNDRAISER FROM KILLANNY

John Byrne, Killanny  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

John Byrne, Killanny Photo: © Michael Fisher

Around the parish of Killanny and further afield everyone knows him simply as ‘JB’. John Byrne from Lannatt is a former mechanic who used to repair and sell cars. Once it was easy work for him to lift an engine out of a car. But a heart attack thirteen years ago which he was lucky to survive meant he would have difficulty for a time lifting small objects such as a can of peas. He is now doing everything he can to ensure that potentially life-saving equipment is readily available at strategic points throughout the parish such as the parochial hall and a local restaurant.
Chatting to him at his house he told me how he had once been an active sportsman. He played football for Killanny GAA Club and also represented the county mainly at under-21 and minor level. He captained the Killanny side that won the double (championship and league) in 1979 earning them promotion from junior to intermediate and eventually senior level. He went on to become chairman and also manager of the club. But in February 2002 at a time when his work was becoming more and more pressurized he had a heart attack. He was taken to hospital in Dundalk and transferred to Dublin for treatment. Three months later he knew he was beginning to recover when he was able to walk from his house along the laneway that leads to the main road. But it would take nearly two years before he could resume work. His wife Noeleen and daughter Aoife (a keen footballer) were then able to help him in his next project. During his rehabilitation in Dundalk hospital JB noticed there was a need for equipment in a small gym that had been established there. So he helped to raise IR£4500 by asking a number of friends to do a bunjee jump at a parish sports day. Then in 2007 a stroll near the River Glyde inspired him to do a river walk, not alongside but in the water itself. Dressed as James Bond and wearing a dry suit over his tuxedo and bow tie, he managed to walk two miles in the river, ending up by killing off a crocodile-like figure that had been put in the water to introduce a bit of drama. His friends at the Riverbank pub provided sustenance after he successfully completed his task. The money raised was enough to provide six defribrillators which were installed at the GAA pitch and other public areas around the parish. They are kept inside specially marked boxes and cost around IR£3000 each. Now the emphasis is on training people in how to use them. JB’s target is to get two people in every household in Killanny  (population around 1200) trained in the use of these devices. The youngest person trained so far is 15 and the oldest 85. As the man himself put it: ‘the fun part was the fundraising, the work is only starting now’.

WW1 TALK: PTE ROBERT HAMILTON – PART 6

Michael Fisher report in Northern Standard Thursday 27th November 2014 p.6

Michael Fisher report in Northern Standard Thursday 27th November 2014 p.6

Roll of Honour Death Notice (with incorrect date and age) for Pte Hamilton Northern Standard June 1918

Roll of Honour Death Notice (with incorrect date and age) for Pte Hamilton Northern Standard June 1918

Many of the details discovered about Private Robert Hamilton from Ballinode were taken from the archives of the Northern Standard, the main weekly newspaper for County Monaghan. So it was very appropriate to receive coverage in this week’s edition (still on sale) for my talk a week ago on this member of the Royal Irish Fusiliers (9th Battalion), who was killed in action in Flanders in April 1918.

In Memoriam notice 1st anniversary death of Pte Robert Hamilton. Northern Standard April 1919

In Memoriam notice 1st anniversary death of Pte Robert Hamilton. Northern Standard April 1919

 

In Memoriam notice 4th anniversary death of Pte Robert Hamilton. Northern Standard April 1922

In Memoriam notice 4th anniversary death of Pte Robert Hamilton. Northern Standard April 1922

 

In Memoriam 4th anniversary notice for Pte Robert Hamilton. Northern Standard April 1922

In Memoriam 4th anniversary notice for Pte Robert Hamilton. Northern Standard April 1922

THE BIG WIND

Peter Carr: The Big Wind

Peter Carr: The Big Wind

175 years ago tonight a storm blew over Ireland, much like the weather we are experiencing at the moment. The night of the ‘Big Wind’ has been documented by Peter Carr in his book published by White Row Press, Dundonald, in 1993. In August 2011 Peter gave a talk on the subject at the William Carleton summer school in Clogher.

Peter Carr at William Carleton summer school 2011 Photo: © Michael Fisher

Peter Carr at William Carleton summer school 2011 Photo: © Michael Fisher

This is a description of the night of January 6th 1839 in County Monaghan, taken from two local newspapers, the Northern Standard and the Anglo-Celt. These sources were used in a compilation by Jonathan A. Smyth for the website cavanliving.ie.

THE BIG WIND

On the night of Sunday last the storm which ravaged the kingdom, was felt severely in the town of Monaghan. About half past eleven o’clock the gale which had been gradually increasing for some time swelled into a most terrific hurricane and about 3am on Monday morning, the power of air rushing from the south-west bore everything before it with resist-less force. The slates and roofing of several houses were born upon the raging element as if they were leaves upon the breeze, and the cowering and terrified inhabitants looked upon the devastation [sic] with arms palsied with fear, and in trembling awe looked to the Almighty dispenser of all things, for an abatement of the fury of the winds of heaven. To add to the horror of the scene, a fire burst forth from the chimney of Mr John Murray’s, Church-square, and the sparks and flame were dashed upon the roofs of several thatched houses which occupy one side of the Diamond. For upwards of one hour the flue, which, we believe, had not been swept for a length of time, threw forth masses of fire which were hurled by the tempest to a great distance and occasioned much additional alarm, but thank God no more evil result followed. The fire burnt itself out, and the roofs of the houses on which the sparks had fallen were so saturated with wet from the rain and snow which had fallen on the previous days that they were immediately extinguished. However, several dwellings present to the view a frightful wreck; many chimnies were injured and we regret to say that three of the small spires which ornamented our beautiful church, were thrown from their bases and broken to pieces. The amount of damage done in the neighbourhood is enormous. The farm yards are a melancholy spectacle; hay, straw, oats, wheat and barley have been in almost every instance heaped together in a dreadful confusion; turf-ricks have been tosseed [sic] to a distance scarcely credible, and much of the fine old timber which graced the domains of the nobility and gentry of our neighbourhood, had been torn up by the roots. The beautiful plantation in the demesne of Mrs Leslie, of Glasslough, has been suffered to a great extent, and the residence of Edward Lucas, Esq., of Castleshane, M.P., has severely felt the force of the storm. The memory of the oldest inhabitants of this country cannot furnish us an instance of such devastation in so limited a period — and not to storm alone are many of the injuries to be attributed — fire has, in sundry places, lent its aid to the terrible destruction. In Glasslough, a small town within five miles of Monaghan, eight houses were burned to the ground, and their inhabitants driven houseless into the streets; but it affords no pleasure, amidst the recital of so much calamity, to be able to state that no human being was deprived of life. In Killalea, between Glasslough and Armagh, great havoc has been commited [sic] by the combined elements of destruction. The town of Clones, from its elevated position, felt the full force of the tempest; and Ballybay, Castleblayney, and Carrickmacross have had many houses rendered untenantable (sic.). Several carts, laden with pork, etc. coming from the direction of Clones to our market, on Monday were compelled to return, in consequence of the numerous impediments on the roads, caused by fallen trees.–Several families in Middleton have been deprived of the shelter of a roof, and are at present trespassing on the kindness of their neighbours for a home and a screen from the inclemency of the weather which still continues very severe. Aughnacloy, a small town in the county Tyrone, and ten miles from Monaghan presents a melancholy picture of destruction–several houses were unroofed, and some totally in ruins. Within about two miles of the last mentioned place a poor man was killed while endeavouring to rescue his family from the ruins of his once comfortable dwelling. A woman was killed in the neighbourhood of Glentubret (Clontibret?), but the particulars of the case have not yet reached us. The Belfast and Enniskillen Mail which should have arrived here at one o’clock on Monday morning, did not reach until 10am. This vehicle was upset at Shantly, near this town, and Patrick Mar, the driver’s thigh received a compound fracture, under which the poor man has been since suffering. The Dublin and Derry Mail did not arrive here until 7 o’clock, three hours after its appointed time–indeed few, if any, of the coaches have been able to reach their destination at the appointed time, in consequence of the severity of the weather. Every hour brings tidings of fresh disasters; and the accounts from the sea coasts which we copy from our contemporaries are truly frightful.Extracts are printed courtesy of The Anglo-Celt and The Northern Standard.

For more background on the night of the storm, see the feature “Oídhche na gaoithe moiré” or “The night of the big wind” in The Meteo Times (TMT).

“When the nation woke up to a snowy winter wonderland on the morning of the 6th January 1839, little did they know that dawning upon them was a day that would bring forth one the most exceptional and violent storms ever to hit Ireland, writes TMT’s Patrick Gordon.
“Poor people ended up on the roads ‘the vault of heaven their only roof’Peter Carr
Peter Carr aptly describes it in his book ‘The Big Wind’ – The Story of the Legendary Big Wind of 1839, Ireland’s Greatest Natural Disaster’:-
 “The tranquility of the morning seemed almost unearthly”.  This ethereal calm continued into the afternoon.   As one observer noted “There was something awful in the dark stillness of that winter day, for there was no sunlight coming through the thick, motionless clouds that hung over the earth”.
A notable temperature rise was observed over the length and breadth of the country as a warm front moved across the country during the afternoon ‘by as much as 10F at Phoenix Park’ (Carr, 1991)…..
Equally harrowing reports of that terrible night can be found from across the length and breadth of Ireland as shown from a contemporary account in the Tuam Herald:
  • Armagh: Many houses stripped of their roofs
  • Athlone: Storm continued with unabated fury from 11pm ‘til 3.30am.  One of the hardest hit areas with much loss of life
  • Ballinasloe: Much devastation, with great woods felled.
  • Ballyshannon: Great destruction of property and livelihoods.
  • Belfast: A violent westerly bring death and destruction.
  • Birr: One boy and three females killed
  • Carlow: Serious injury reported but escaped the worst of the winds
  • Carrickfergus:  Tree in graveyard uprooted forcing many of the dead to the surface.
  • Carrick-on-Shannon: The produce of the harvest lies scattered over the whole countryside.
  • Castlebar: Widespread damage with few houses left unscathed.
  • Coonagh: 3 killed in storm
  • Derry: Visited by a storm of extraordinary violence
  • Co.Down. Much damage but escapes relatively well.
  • Drogheda: Never within the memory of man has this town and neighbourhood been visited with such an awful storm.
  • Dublin: The metropolis was, on Sunday night, visited by a hurricane such as the oldest inhabitants cannot remember.  Two known deaths as a result.
  • Ennis: Scene of terrible calamity.
  • Galway: At least 7 dead.  Men, women and children screaming, crying with raw terror.
  • Gort: Total devastation. One of the worst hit areas
  • Kilkenny: Many houses burned down during the storm.
  • Killarny: Hurricane raged with terrible fury
  • Kinsale: Destruction is not so terrible, as far as we can learn
  • Co Laois: The destruction of trees is prodigious.
  • Limerick: Badly hit. Lightning and wind made for an awesome sight.
  • Longford: Barely a house left standing
  • Loughrea: Devastated.
  • Mullingar: Suffered severely-to the utter ruin of its inhabitants.
  • Roscommon: These immense plains have been swept through by a fury.
  • Sligo: To give a full description of the devastation would be morally impossible.
  • Tralee: Hurricane reaps disaster.
  • Waterford: Visited by the most terrific storm ever remembered   (from Patrick Gordon’s article).