Thomas Ashe centenary remembered in Clonakilty

Participants and organisers of the Thomas Ashe centenary commemoration at Ashe St./Asna Square last Monday evening 25th September. Back: Flag bearers Ray Crowley, Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin and Jerry Daly. Front: Michael O’ Donovan, Fionnuala Ní Chonchubhair, Pat Flynn, Tom Russell, Cllr. Paul Hayes and Dermot Milner, piper. (Photo: Édaín Ní Dhomhnaill).

On Monday evening 25th September the centenary of the death of Vol. Thomas Ashe who died as a result of force-feeding five days into a hunger strike in Mountjoy Jail was remembered in Clonakilty, when the Easter Commemoration Committee and Hunger Strike Commemoration Committee held a joint event. 

Piper Dermot Milner and three flag bearers led the group from the Ashe St. car park through Ashe St and into Asna Square, where Cllr. Paul Hayes chaired proceedings. 

A portrait of Thomas Ashe dressed in his Pipers Uniform and holding a set of bagpipes was placed at the base of the monument. 

Ashe St. resident, Pat Flynn laid a wreath, which was followed by a lament on the pipes. 

Fionnuala Ní Chonchubhair, a native of Lispool, West Kerry where Thomas Ashe hailed from, read the patriots famous poem, “Let me carry your cross for Ireland Lord”. 

Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin recalled the life of Thomas Ashe from his native Kerry, to school principal in Lusk, to Irish Volunteer and leader during the 1916 Rising and his imprisonment in the summer of 1917, which led him to go on hunger strike. He died after five days as a result of force-feeding, and 30,000 people attended his funeral in Glasnevin at which Clonakilty’s Michael Collins delivered the graveside oration. 

Michael O’ Donovan then read the names, dates of death and number of days on hunger strike of all the other 21 Irish Republicans who have died while on hunger strike since Thomas Ashe. 

The ceremony concluded with “Amhrán na bhFiann” being played by the piper.