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Thursday 29 September 2016

Child victims of Rising remembered in Glasnevin ceremony

Hugh Moore (6) from Drumcondra at Glasnevin Cemetery
Hugh Moore (6) from Drumcondra at Glasnevin Cemetery
Broadcaster Joe Duffy
Musician Declan O'Rourke

Forty children killed during the Rising in 1916 have been remembered "publicly and permanently" in a special ceremony attended by hundreds of their relatives.

The service, at Glasnevin Cemetery, saw the names of 38 children who died in the violence immortalised on the memorial wall.

One child and an infant who were unidentified were also remembered in yesterday's ceremony, which included a laying of wreaths and balloon release.

Crossfire

Terence O'Neill, from Drumcondra, came to remember his first cousin, Sean Foster, who was killed in the crossfire.

Sean was in his pram when a stray bullet struck him in the head. He was only two years old.

His mother, Katie, had brought him and his younger brother into the city centre to try to convince her Volunteer brother to come home.

When he refused to abandon his comrades, Katie walked down Church Street with the two children, and it was there that the tragedy happened.

Terence (88) has grown up with his relatives' tales, and attended the ceremony with his own children and grandchildren.

"From the time I was a child, my father used to tell me all those stories," he said. "I couldn't believe the thing that I was so familiar with has now become a historical fact.

"I never knew there were 40 children killed."

Terence said Sean's mother "more or less blamed the Volunteers" for Sean's death, which happened only months after her husband's death in the Somme.

"Her husband was killed a few months before that in the First World War, so she blamed the British for that and the Volunteers for Sean's death," he said.

Sean's tale inspired a song written by Cork musician Myles Gaffney, who performed at the ceremony.

Dublin singer-songwriter Declan O'Rourke also sang his original composition, Children of Sixteen, having travelled through the night to make it to the ceremony from a gig on Leeside.

Unfulfilled

RTE's Joe Duffy led the May Day service, along with Fr Bryan Shortall of the Capuchin Franciscans and Rev Lesley Robinson of St John the Baptist Church in Clontarf.

"It takes less than a minute to read out the names of the 40 children who died 100 years ago this week," said Duffy.

"But it has taken 100 years for their names to be publicly and permanently memorialised on the wall behind us.

"Each one of them has a story, a family, a life unfulfilled and moments that ended too soon."

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