The Monument is back!
The ’98 Monument in Oulart was re-opened last Thursday evening in a beautifully simple ceremony attended by Public Representatives and Officials, the National Pike Association and local people. The weather smiled and we all smiled back.
The monument had been severely damaged in a traffic accident in 2014 when its Celtic Cross was dislodged and shattered on the ground. The Co. Council stepped in to help the local Oulart Hill Development Group, with financial help and advisory expertise.
Mr. John Dempsey, The Hill, Chairman of Oulart Hill Development Committee welcomed everyone and called on Mr. Tony Dempsey, Chairman of Wexford Co. Council, to perform the official ceremony and to lay a beautiful laurel wreath to the memory of those who strove for Irish freedom in 1916.
In his thoughtful address, the Council Chairman encouraged the people of Oulart to continue to strengthen the lively historic traditions of the parish and he recalled that the newly restored monument had been originally unveiled in 1901 by Fr Patrick Kenny P.P. of Oulart, a famous Land League priest and close friend of Michael Davitt.
Mr. Dempsey went on to suggest that we will best honour 1916 by striving with renewed commitment to realise the aspirations of the Proclamation, particularly in the field of education. In disadvantaged areas, particularly in our cities and towns, only 2% of our young adults experience third level education while in well-off areas the figure is 98%, he said.
He praised the high quality craftsmanship employed in refurbishing the monument which was so skilfully executed by master craftsman Páraic Doyle of Bunclody.
Among the attendance at the re-opening were Minister Paul Kehoe, T.D., Mr Tony Dempsey, MCC, Chairman of the Co. Council; Councillors Kathleen Codd-Nolan, Paddy Kavanagh, Willie Kavanagh, and Johnny Mythen; Enniscorthy Municipal District Manager, Padraig O’Gorman, and Diarmuid Houston, Senior Planner, Wexford County Council.
We are very grateful to each and every one of them for making the time to come to our re-opening ceremony. Everybody knows what busy lives they are forced to lead. We were particularly touched by their insistence that the local committee and pikemen should join them in the ‘official’ photographs. There was a real sense of community about it. Our photograph above was taken by Mary Sutton of the Lower Street.
Present also for the occasion was a strong contingent of our most faithful friends, the National Pike Association; members of Oulart Hill Development Group, people of Oulart and friends of the project from as far away as Wicklow and Bray.
The ceremony closed with Boolavogue from Jimmy Adams of Ballinamona and Amhrán na bhFiann from Paddy White, accompanied by two young fellow-accordionists Lilly May Tohill and Karl Whelan.
Light refreshments were served in the Oulart Hill Bar by Eileen Dempsey and Mary Sutton and their team of willing helpers after which all were welcome to join in a wonderful night of music and song in the packed back lounge where about thirty members of a voluntary Music Group were making a visit to Oulart.
The musical evening was the icing on the cake. Having successfully re-opened the monument in decent weather to be able to come in and sit around listening to several of the finest musicians and singers anywhere letting it rip was just marvellous. They are brilliant. We wish them every success in their marvellous cultural endeavours.
Go mbeirimid beo ag an am seo arís!