On Sunday April 24th at 2pm Balrothery Village celebrated the Centenary of the 1916 Rising with a street party. Balrothery Community Association together with their Tidy Village Committee laid a stone monument funded by Fingal County Council and unveiled by local resident Mr Liam Andrews. The monument while marking the occasion also reclaimed an original place name “The Cuckoo” and Mr Pat Hickey regaled the huge audience of Balrothery Villagers in attendance with historical stories and lore about the area.
The idea to re-establish the old name “The Cuckoo” was that of Mr Patrick Hickey, it was a small piece of ground surrounded by a triangle shaped stone wall. It had about 7 ash trees growing in it and the walls had steel rings on it to tie animals to. Alongside the Cuckoo was a small Public House called “The Bear” Pat then intrigued the crowd with stories from the 17th century including a grisly tale about members of the Preston family of Gormanston Castle. He also told us about bustling industry now gone from Balrothery including a chair factory and a biscuit factory, also there were two breweries, a turnery and a blacksmith. Other famous visitors along the way like King James II who slept at the White Hart Inn the night before the Battle of the Boyne and King Williams had his horse shod after it threw a shoe near Tanners Water by local blacksmith Patrick Farrell. A famous highway man by the name of Collier patrolled the roads from Santry. More at www.balrothery.com
Following the unveiling of the monument which was supplied & erected by Pat Hickey, Chairperson of Balrothery Community Association, Kevin Tolan, read aloud The Proclamation of the Republic, he then told the story of Thomas Hand, a local Irish Volunteer who was murdered by the Black-and- Tans on December 5th 1920, leaving behind his wife and 5 young children. The local link was completed when the crowd were told that Thomas Hands nephew was amongst them as Liam Andrews mother, Bridget was Thomas Hands sister. Alice Barker from Balrothery & Molly Wherity from Balbriggan were also nieces of Thomas Hand. This demonstrated that we are but one generation removed from those that fought in the war of Independence & thanks to our brave ancestors, 100 years later we live in a free Ireland. More at www.balrothery.com
Niall Keady of Balrothery Tidy Village introduced the residents and Staff from Hamilton Park Care Facility who have adopted this area to maintain and keep tidy for the Balrothery Tidy Village, Adopt-a-Patch Project. One of their members Josie Darmady was involved with Cumann na mBan after the 1916 rising.
The ceremony continued with the planting of an Oak Tree by Bridie Holland and Tommy Mooney Uncle to International Irish Cricketer John Mooney who was also present. The tree provided by Fingal County
Council with thanks to Cllr Gráinne Maguire for notifying us of the Councils 1916 project to plant 100 Oak Trees throughout Balbriggan and Swords. Tommy Mooney, Bridie Holland and Liam Andrews all lived neighbouring The Cuckoo prior to the construction of the new road.
Fr Eugene Taffee offered all present a blessing and spoke of inclusion and community spirit with all people and faiths. Balbriggan Brass & Reed Band provided pomp and ceremony and 17-year-old Eoin Kearns played the uileann pipes during the event.
Fingal Old IRA Commemoration Society partook with a march and ceremonial parade in full 1916 period regalia really made the sense of occasion.
Fingal Lord Mayor Cllr David O’Connor oversaw the whole event and held the honour of raising the Tricolour. Invited guests Dr James Reilly, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Cllr Tony Murphy and other dignities helped play their part with a fine tribute by the people of Balrothery Village. A BBQ with treats & snacks for everyone was organised by Pat & Monica Hickey and helped by The Balrothery Inn and Andrews Spar.
With Support from The Community Foundation for Ireland and Fingal County Council both providing grants for a Street Party and 1916 a memorial the villagers of Balrothery have wonderfully marked the occasion.