The National Volunteers formed a branch in Athy on 12th June 1914. The organiser was The O’Rahilly who the local papers described as having given a splendid address in the Town Hall. Later in the same year Thomas McDonagh came to Athy and spoke at a volunteer meeting. Both were to die in the Easter Rebellion of 1916. Last Tuesday I joined the audience of 30 or so who came to hear a lecture on the 1916 rising given by
Simon Muldoon. We sat in the Heritage Centre on the ground floor of the town Town Hall. It was in that same building 92 years ago that The O’Rahilly’s addressed men from Athy and outlying rural areas. The Town Hall has figured prominently in all the great events of the last 270 years or so and it formed the backdrop to the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the Easter Rising in April 1966.
This week I am printing two photographs from April 1966 showing the Volunteer Veterans standing to attention behind a colour party comprising members of the F.C.A. and a view of the spectators and those stewarding them on the same occasion. I recognise some of those captured in the photographs but unfortunately none of the veterans can I identify with certainty. However, as I look among carefully, I can pick out Jack MacKenna and M.G. Nolan both standing near the back. Can anyone help identify the veterans wearing their service medals.
What about those standing in front of the Leinster Arms Hotel and the adjoining buildings. How many of those from 40 years ago can you identify?