Thousands honour Easter Rising patriot Thomas Kent ahead of State funeral
Thousands last night paid their respects to an Easter Rising patriot who is to be finally buried in his family crypt, 99 years after he was executed by British forces.
Thomas Kent (50) lay in state at Collins Barracks in Cork with full military honours to allow members of the public to pay their respects.
His State funeral, sanctioned by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, follows the exhumation and identification of his remains from a grave in Cork Prison earlier this year.
The remains were identified thanks to DNA samples supplied by Kent family descendants still living in the Castlelyons and Fermoy areas of north Cork.
Kent's grandnephew, Eamon Walsh, said the State funeral was hugely significant for the family.
"I cannot put it strongly enough how much this means to us all," he said.
"As far as I am concerned, Thomas Kent is the patriot of patriots. He made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and he deserves every honour."
Among those who have travelled to Ireland to honour the memory of Thomas Kent is Rosemary O'Neill, the daughter of Tipp O'Neill, the late speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
O'Neill will attend today's funeral accompanied by her Irish hosts, Michael and Rose O'Neill, formerly of Mallow, Co Cork but now resident in Dublin.
The patriot's remains will be being taken by hearse this morning, complete with military honour guard, from Collins Barracks to Castlelyons Church for the Requiem Mass.
The Taoiseach will deliver the graveside oration.