herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

President leads gun-running celebrations

President Michael D Higgins arrives at the centenary commemoration of the Asgard landing of arms at Howth. Photo: El Keegan
President Michael D Higgins arrives at the centenary commemoration of the Asgard landing of arms at Howth. Photo: El Keegan

IT happened 100 years ago but the landing of 900 rifles at Howth from a Norwegian-made yacht has been recalled in spectacular fashion.

Descendants of Erskine Childers - skipper of the Asgard - joined scores of dignitaries and members of the public to mark the daring mission.

John K Cotter steered Erskine Childers' yacht Asgard through the final stages of its journey, pulling it into Howth Harbour.

Helen Cotter-Kenny, proudly showed off a picture of her Kerry-born grandfather, explaining that without him the yacht may never have docked in the Dublin harbour.

"His tug boat was the only boat in the sea at the time, so he 
threw out a rope and brought the Asgard in.

"He also helped unload the guns and then pulled the boat back out when they were finished.

"There were an awful lot of people involved that were never recognised and I suppose my grandfather was one of them," said Ms Cotter-Kenny.

President Michael D Higgins, who led the commemorative ceremony, said the centenary of the extraordinary Howth gun-running mission is a challenge to remember the dream of a truly inclusive republic.

"We are challenged to remember the courage of those who sought to not only conceive of independence but of a real republican independence that involved a better and more just future," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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