A commemorative group has been established to mark Limerick’s important contribution to the Howth and Kilcoole Gunrunning, and they plan to erect a memorial at Mount Trenchard, Foynes, later this year.

One hundred years ago a group of Nationalists and Republicans, led by Roger Casement, smuggled a consignment of 1,500 rifles and 45,000 rounds of ammunition into Ireland. The guns landed at Howth and Kilcoole in 1914 were used to arm the Irish Volunteers and were later used during the Easter Rising and War of Independence. Although the story of the Howth gunrunning is well known nationally, few people know the huge contribution made by Limerick people to this important historic event.

Six of the fourteen people involved in the operation to import the guns were from Limerick. Mary Spring-Rice from Mount Trenchard sailed on the Asgard which brought the first load of rifles to Howth in July 1914. Conor O’Brien, his sister Kitty O’Brien, George Cahill and Thomas Fitzsimons from Foynes transported a large part of the arms on board O’Brien’s boat, the Kelpie. Another Limerick man, Sir Thomas Myles, skippered the Chotah which landed hundreds of rifles at Kilcoole in Wicklow in August 1914.

At 7.30pm this Thursday 14th August members of the group will give an historical talk on the gun running and its Limerick connections. The talk will be held in Desmond Hall, the medieval castle in the main square in Newcastle West. Admission is free and all are welcome.