The Yan Goulet Monument at Kilkelly with James Reddiough

 In History

It is some thirteen if not more years that I began to write about the east mayo brigade and met an excellent character from the Kilkelly area to assist me Jimmy Duffy Jimmy knew most of the veterans from the old days and he spoke about them with fondness and respect.  Finally and thankfully we managed to put together a booklet on the east mayo area in September 2005 and jimmy was present at the launch unfortunately the last surviving member of the brigade had passed away in 2002 and how nice it would have been to have had the late John Snee there.

This monument is located on the N17 at Cloonturk and it is 45 years old having been unveiled by General Tom Barry of the West Cork Brigade on Sunday 4th June 1972 indeed 45 years ago this weekend as this piece is being written there were 2,000 persons present at the unveiling and the attendance included Ned Moane of the West Mayo Brigade and the members of the east mayo brigade committee who collected and campaigned to have the memorial erected to remember the men from the east mayo area who fell in the cause of the republic through the years 1918 – 1923. The members of the east mayo brigade memorial organising committee were Paddy Mullaney from Balla, Cllr. Tom Durkan from Charlestown, James Graoake from Swinford, Michael Gordon from Swinford, Harry McNicholas from Bohola and Dublin, Willie Foley from Kilkelly, Thomas Price from Killasser, Frank Colgan, Bohola and Dublin, PJ Honan from Charlestown and Pat Finn from Charlestown also.  The Balla Pipe band played at the unveiling and there was one Sean Fitzpatrick there from the National graves association who spoke at the event.

Frank Colgan of Dublin and Bohola was the master of ceremonies for the afternoon and there were others from the brigade present including John Snee from the Kilkelly area who laid a wreath in memory of the dead and the roll of honour was read out of the 15 men whose names were on the plaque at the memorial.  There were ten men on the organising committee including the brigadier of the east mayo area James Groake from Swinford who walked from the centre of Kilkelly to the memorial with Tom Barry and the chairman of the committee was one councillor Tom Durkan from Charlestown among the others there were Harry McNicholas from Bohola and Dublin, Bill Foley from Kilkelly, Pat Finn from Charlestown and Price from Killasser along with others Michael Gordon from Swinford.

The monument was sculpted by Mr. Yan Goulet a Breton with Irish citizenship who was a Professor in the RHA at the time and Patrick Feron was the Architect and the builders who erected the memorial were Merrick builders from Kiltimagh.  The speeches all call for the reunification of Ireland the fight for freedom something which was very topical at the time.  The Western People headline read Warlike Noises at Unveiling of East mayo Brigade old IRA memorial

A decade of the rosary in honour of the dead was recited by the catholic curate in Aughamore Fr. Michael McHugh who blessed the monument and that was the end of the proceedings.  It was a memorable day for Kilkelly and east mayo in general.

An equally memorable day was the 21 May 1966 at Leigue Ballina when General Tom Maguire already featured in these pages of Ireland’s Eye unveiled a monument to the fallen men of North Mayo but this is for another day and another article soon.

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