ULSTER TOWER, THIEPVAL

Ulster Tower, Thiepval

The Ulster Tower at Thiepval is modelled on Helen’s tower overlooking Newtownards, Co. Down, on the Clandeboye estate where the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers (mainly men from Armagh, Monaghan and Cavan) and other units trained in 1914/15.

Plaque at entrance to the Ulster Tower

The Tower commemorates the men of the 36th Ulster Division and all those from the nine counties of Ulster who served in the First World War. The memorial was officially opened on 19th November 1921. At the entrance to the Tower is a plaque commemorating the names of the nine men of the Division who won the Victoria Cross during the Somme.

Remembering the members of the 36th Ulster Division decorated for their bravery at the Somme

There is also a memorial here commemorating the part played by members of the Orange Order during the battle. The inscription on this memorial reads: “This Memorial is Dedicated to the Men and Women of the Orange Institution Worldwide, who at the call of King and country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of man by the path of duty and self sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in Freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names be not forgotten.”

Orange Order memorial behind the Ulster Tower

Explanatory plaque for the Orange Order memorial

BANNERS & SASHES

This orange banner comes from Redhills in County Cavan. It belongs to the Stonepark Lodge No.607 and depicts the departure of King William III (of Orange) from the original Hillsborough Castle in County Down in 1690. An unofficial history of the Irish Campaign explains how he had landed at Carrickfergus a few days earlier and on 19th June 1690 at Hillsborough the King “issued an order…granting Presbyterian ministers in Ireland the right to receive the regium donum, an annual grant, paid to nonconformists ministers in England, Scotland and especially Ireland at that time. The payment was made as a reward for their loyalty to him and partly as compensation for their recent losses“.  The following month the crucial Battle of the Boyne took place against the forces of James II.

Stonepark Co.Cavan Orange Lodge Banner

Stonepark Co.Cavan Orange Lodge Banner

Monaghan UVF Flag

Monaghan UVF Flag

On the reverse side is a picture of Lisburn Cathedral. This suggests that the banner has been re-used by a different orange lodge. The banner is part of “Walking the Colours“, a touring exhibition currently at Monaghan Museum and running until the end of July. Colour is the operative word as there is a varied selection of banners and sashes from both the orange and green traditions. With all the current controversy about UVF centenary flags flying in East Belfast, I was interested to see an original flag of the Ulster Volunteer Force in Monaghan dating back to the period around 1912/13. There was also a UVF armband from the same era.

UVF Monaghan Armband

UVF Monaghan Armband

 To complete the display of banners from the Protestant tradition, there is one belonging to the Royal Black Preceptory in Ballybay, named the Knights of Mount Horeb. Biblical scenes were common (and still are) in the black and orange loyal order banners. The teachings of the Royal Black Institution are based on Holy Scripture. The organisation was founded in 1797, two years after the Orange Order came into existence. There are two Royal Black District Chapters in Monaghan and fourteen Preceptories. Donegal is the only Ulster county not represented.

RBP Banner Ballybay

RBP Banner Ballybay

On the nationalist side, there are several local banners of significance. They include one of Terence Bellew MacManus from Tempo, County Fermanagh. The slogan exhorts Men of Monaghan to “Remember MacManus”, who took part in the Young Irelander rebellion in 1848. He is buried in Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin. The banner is thought to have been made in the early 1900s. It was brought to the USA and used by the Monaghan Mens’ Association in the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York. There is a picture of it accompanying the group in 1933.

AOH Donagh

AOH Donagh Monaghan Div.434

Remember MacManus

Remember MacManus

 The Ancient Order of Hibernians was set up in 1838 as a counter to the Orange Order. Division 434 was the designation in Donagh parish, in North Monaghan.

Some more banners from the exhibition:-

AOH Banner, Donagh

AOH Banner, Donagh

Truagh Banner re 1798

Truagh Banner re 1798

INF Banner, Ballybay

INF Banner, Ballybay

MOUNT JEROME CEMETERY

William Carleton's Grave

William Carleton’s Grave

Commemorating the 144th anniversary of the death in January 1869 of the leading Irish author William Carleton last weekend, I laid flowers at his grave at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin. It also gave a group of us an opportunity to visit the graves of several other famous Irish people. The graveyard contains one of the finest collections of Victorian memorials, tombs, vaults and crypts in Ireland.

Carleton’s last resting place is relatively easy to find, as it is on close to the main avenue leading up to the church, on the right hand side. It is marked by a small obelisk, raised ‘to mark the place wherein rest the remains of one whose memory needs neither graven stone nor sculptured marble to preserve it from oblivion’. It includes a sculptured portrait of Carleton by James Cahill, set in stone. It was restored and unveiled on 15th August 1989, thanks to the William Carleton Memorial Committee that included the writer Benedict Kiely, Barbara Hayley (NUI Maynooth) and Vivien Igoe. In her book, “A Literary Guide to Dublin“, Methuen 1994, she recalls how:-

“Kiely said in his oration that Carleton, as a novelist, had taken up the issues of tenants’ rights, emigration and famine and had put down on record the Irish people as he remembered them before the famine, before they were practically wiped out. Irish people have not much changed, he said”.   

Sir William Wilde grave

Sir William Wilde grave

The next significant grave close to the entrance to the church is that of Dr William Wilde, eye and ear surgeon, father of Oscar and husband of Lady Jane Wilde, neé Elgee. She was an important figure in her own right, a poet and writer, who published under the name “Speranza” and played a part in the Irish literary revival. Oscar is buried in Paris. The side of the memorial carries the inscription: “In Memoriam Jane Francesca, Lady Wilde, ‘Speranza’ of The Nation, Writer, Translator, Poet and Nationalist, Author of Works on Irish Folklore, Early Advocate of Equality for Women and Founder of a Leading Literary Salon. Born Dublin 27 December 1821              Died London 3 February 1896.  Wife of Sir William and Mother of William Charles Kingsbury Wilde, Barrister and Journalist 1852-1899 Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde, Poet Wit and Dramatist 1854-1900 Isola Francesca Emily Wilde 1857-1867 “Tread lightly, she is near, Under the snow, Speak gently, she can hear The lilies grow“.

JM Synge grave

JM Synge grave

Another important figure in the Irish literary renaissance was the playright, John Millington Synge. His grave was more difficult to find. Synge was born in Rathfarnham, Co.Dublin on April 16th 1871 and died on March 24th 1909. He is best known for writing “The Playboy of the Western World“.  His brother, Reverend Samuel Synge who was a missionary in China is also buried there along with his wife Mary and his aunt Jane, second daughter of John Hatch Synge of Glanmore, Co.Wicklow.

Jack B. Yeats grave

Jack B. Yeats grave

WB Yeats was another leading figure in the Irish literary revival. His grave is in Drumcliff churchyard, under bare Ben Bulben’s head in Co.Sligo. But his brother, the painter Jack Butler Yeats, lies in Mount Jerome. He died on March 28th 1957, although the faded bronze lettering on the tombstone makes his grave difficult to spot. He was elected a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1916. In 1999 one of his paintings was sold at Sotheby’s in London (where he was born in 1871) for over £1.2 million pounds. His wife Mary Cottenham Yeats predeceased him by ten years.

Buried in a different section is another member of the RHA, Sarah Purser. One of her paintings of a coastal scene in the West of Ireland was sold by Ross’s auctioneers of Belfast in 2007 f0r £2400. Not far from her grave is buried the writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, but his exact burial spot could not be found, despite the assistance of a map. I think I saw two graves lying side by side near a tree and next to the path, but I could not find any inscription on the stones.

Sarah Purser grave

Sarah Purser grave

While wandering around I noticed a Celtic Cross and looked at the inscription. It turned out that the person buried there, James Hamilton Moore,  came from Aughnacloy, Co.Tyrone where some of my relatives on my mother’s side come from. Further research revealed his name in the British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland in a report on the (sectarian) riots in Belfast in July and September 1857. It seems things have not changed much in over 150 years! Moore is listed in an Appendix as part of evidence presented on behalf of the Orange Society (Order), of which he was a senior member.

James Hamilton Moore grave

James Hamilton Moore grave

Moore was Grand Treasurer of the Trinity College Grand District and was a solicitor with an address at 56 Lower Gardiner Street in Dublin (then a fashionable Georgian street). He is also listed as Deputy Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland which met at Molesworth Street in Dublin in November 1856 and his address is given as Gardina Lodge, Monkstown, Co. Dublin.  So next time you have to attend a funeral or cremation at Mount Jerome, take the opportunity to think of all the others who found their place of eternal rest there. They include the writer AE (George Russell), Benjamin Guinness of the brewing family and Sir William Rowan Hamilton, mathematician and astronomer. Since the 1920s Catholics have been buried at the cemetery. In 1994 the remains of the well-known criminal Martin Cahill “The General” were brought there and his grave is now unmarked owing to vandalism.