Askeaton/Ballysteen honours its fallen heroes

Askeaton/Ballysteen’s commemoration weekend will take place this Satur-day and Sunday, organised by an apolitical group and chaired by Fr. Seán O’ Longaigh PP, with the aim of honouring those from the parish who lost their lives in the establishment of an Irish Republic. The committee commissioned W. O’Connor and Sons, Stone Sculptors of Churchtown in Newcastle West, to produce a fitting memorial stone to salute the community’s some-times forgotten freedom heroes. The stone will stand an impressive seven feet in height and four feet in width, and will be unveiled at Mac’s Quay, adjacent to the River Deel and across from Askeaton Community Hall, on Sun-day.
Earlier that day, at 11.30am, a commemoration Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Church, and a parade, featuring an army colour party and Limerick City Brass and Reed Band, will leave the church at 3pm to march to the newly-named Pairc na Saoirse, where relatives of heroes Paddy O’Neill, Terence Moran and Daniel Neville will unveil the memorial stone at 3.30pm.
United Irishman Paddy O’Neill was executed by Crown Forces in 1798; the Rockites’ Terence Moran was killed by Crown Forces during a shootout in 1821; and Dan Neville was shot dead during the War of Independence in 1920. All three were from Askeaton/Ballysteen.
A number of locals were interned at Ballykinlar, County Down, for their involvement in the War of Independence, all of which will be revealed in a limited edition souvenir book which was launched by historian Gerard Greaney at a packed Community Hall on Satur-day. They will be remem-bered on a scroll of honour in Pairc na Saoirse, which will also include a bilingual plaque of the Irish Procla-mation and poles bearing the Irish, EU and Limerick flags. A number of locals were also members of the Flying Column, and they too will be remembered at the ceremony. The guest speaker is historian Tom Toomey, while Brian Mangan will be the compere. After the formalities an open invitation has been extended for everyone to enjoy complimentary refreshments in Askeaton Community Hall. There will be musical entertain-ment on the day.
On Saturday wreaths will be laid and prayers recited at graves in Lismakeera at 10.40am (James Collins and Seán Cregan); 11.35am at Churchtown, Newcastle West (Michael Murphy); 12.10pm at Shanagolden (Thomas Blackwell); 1.10pm at Reilig Mhuire (Morgan Crowe); 1.45pm at Beagh (Paddy O’Neill, William Fitzgerald and Jack Fitzgerald); Castle-town (Dan Neville) and Church Street (Terence Moran, Gerald Don Moran, Jim Sheehy and Pat Kenneally).