The Mount Trenchard Commemoration Committee recently unveiled a memorial lectern at the Flying Boat Museum Plaza, in Foynes village to remember the momentous events of one hundred years ago in memory of the Limerick people and those with Limerick connections who were involved directly in the importation of arms for the newly formed Irish Volunteers in the summer of 1914

The information panel was unveiled in fresh and soft conditions by Manus Coffey, son of Diarmid Coffey and the only surviving child of any of the crew of the Kelpie, skippered by Conor O’Brien of Foynes Island which brought some of the arms consignment from the Belgian coast to Bardsey Island off the coast of Wales. From there they were transhipped on the Chotah, skippered by Limerick man, Sir Thomas Myles, which brought the arms ashore at Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow in late July 1914.

The other Limerick people involved included Mary Spring Rice on the Asgard, which landed arms at Howth, Conor O’Brien, his sister, Katharine, and Foynes sailors George Cahill and Thomas Fitzsimons who were crew on the Kelpie. The display lectern depicts the sea routes of the three yachts which were used in the gun running activity and is sure to become a ‘must see’ in the historic village of Foynes near the Flying Boat Museum. The museum tells the story of trans-Atlantic civil aviation during the Second World War.

Following the ceremony the national anthem was played by Danny Liston, accordion, and Sean Finucane banjo.

The role of the committee was to make a fitting commemoration of the Limerick people who played a significant part in the provision of arms to the Irish Volunteers over 100 years ago. Committee chairperson John Cussen and secretary Tom Toomey have indicated that this is now complete following the unveiling of the lectern and the placing of the memorial plaque at the entrance to Mount Trenchard Cemetery last September where two of the gun-runners are interred. These are Mary Spring Rice who sailed on the Asgard, and Conor O’Brien, who skippered the Kelpie. A Commemoration Booklet describing the events of that era was edited by Tom Donovan and it is understood that it is now sold out. The Commemoration Committee would like to thank all who assisted in this project by extending financial and material support as well as time and energy.