Con Colbert Monument Unveiling

Michéal and Margaret Nolan, Nora O'Riordan, Angela Sheehy and Pat Lynch. George Daly Con Colbert Memorial Unveiling in Monlena Castlemahon

Michéal and Margaret Nolan, Nora O’Riordan, Angela Sheehy and Pat Lynch.
George Daly Con Colbert Memorial Unveiling in Monlena Castlemahon

To mark the centenary of Con Colbert’s death, a monument in his honour was unveiled beside his homeplace in Monlena, Castlemahon on Sunday last. Sunday’s ceremonies began with a walk by several groups and individuals led by Newcastle West Pipe Band, from the Mill at Castlemahon to Con Colbert’s birthplace, to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 patriots’ executions. These groupings represented the Volunteers from the local active groupings of 1916, Cumann na mBan, local parishes, Old IRA, and the GAA. At Monlena the commemoration was preceded by a very impressive harp recital from Con Colbert’s great grand niece and great grand nephew who are residents of Clonmore, locally. They were followed by Tom O’Donoghue of Castlemahon who delivered several renditions of Fenian music, to the delight of those present.

Alan Kelly of the local national school introduced key participants who were present, as well as outlining the Colbert links between Monlena, Athea and Kilcolman locally.

This was followed by Mayor Liam Galvin’s address to the gathering and the unveiling of the monument to Con Colbert, commissioned for the commemoration by Limerick City and County Council and the local organising committee. A blessing, with prayers by Rev. Canon James Ambrose, wreath-laying by Michael Colbert and Fiona Buckley, nephew and grand-niece of Colbert, Nora O’Riordan, representing Cumann na mBan, Dermot Doody, of Balliniska in respect to the Feohanagh Volunteers and Rory O’Donnell representing the GAA, was followed by a minute’s silence.

The reading of the Proclamation was enacted by 5th and 6th class students from Mahoonagh National School.

Gerard Greaney, local historian and organiser of the recent Walk to Freedom, spoke on the strong Nationalist tradition locally, with particular emphasis on Mahoonagh’s Fenians led by Captain Geary, who may have fired the first shot in the 1867 Rising, and Michael Scanlan, both natives of Castlemahon, linking this period with the intervening years to the Easter Rising and to Sunday’s oration.

John O’Callaghan, author of ‘16 Lives Con Colbert,’ delivered an excellently researched oration, which was enlightening for all present in terms of Colbert’s involvement with the Gaelic League, the IRB, and the Volunteers.

The commemoration ceremony concluded with our National Anthem being passionately sung by Edel O’Connor of Cooliska, Castlemahon.

Afterwards, welcome refreshments were provided by the local ladies committee at Castlemahon hall.

The organising committee wishes to extend sincerest thanks to all involved who helped make the day a successful one, and in particular to all in attendance at the walk and the unveiling.