The War of Independence Memorial, Elphin

War of Independence Commemorative Military Memorial aka "the Old IRA monument"

This commemorative sculpture was erected by the Roscommon veterans of the War of Independence (the Black and Tan and Free State Wars 1920-23) to the memory of their fallen comrades. It was the last act of an heroic generation. The late Comdt-General Tom Maguire (1892-1993) who was GOC of the Second Western Division IRA in the 1920s performed the unveiling ceremony before a huge crowd in September 1963.

 

The memorial, a pedestal on which are three soldiers of Ireland, stands 35 feet high at the Shanklll Crossroads, Elphin. It took almost six years to erect, and at its base is a lectern with open book, on the pages of which are the names of the thirty-six Roscommon men who died for Ireland. The memorial can be seen from miles.

 

Chun glóire Dé agus Onóra na hÉireann – for the glory of God and the honour of Ireland

The list of 36 Roscommon Óglaigh na hÉireann in front of the memorial is in Irish.  A later plaque, in English (now extended to  41 names) and the townlands they came from, stands by the wall.

 

The entrance gate to the memorial is also a popular photo spot with tourists.  Cast in metal, the word 'Saoirse' meaning freedom or liberty (also popular as girls' name in Ireland) forms part of the gate.

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[Connacht Tribune, September 21, 1963]

FIGHT FOR FREEDOM MEMORIAL UNVEILLED

A CROWD estimated at more  than, ten thousand were present at Elphin on Sunday when a memorial was unveiled, by Mr. Tom Maguire of Cross, Co. Mayo, to the men of Co. Roscommon who lost their lives in the fight for freedom. The memorial, a pedestal on which are three soldiers of Ireland, stands 35 feet high at the Shanklll Crossroads. It took almost six years to erect, and at its base is a lectern with open book, on the pages of which are the names of the thirty-six Roscommon men who died for Ireland. The memorial can be seen from miles. The parade on Sunday started from the Convent Road, Elphin, headed by the Advance Guard, followed by Colour Party, The Emerald Girls Pipe Band, Dublin, Wreath Bearers, relatives of the dead men, the Commemoration Committee, I.R.A. Veterans, contingents from the four provinces, each under its flag; Fianna Éireann, Cumann na mBan, the Castlerea Brass and Reed band, and the general public.

Mr. Syl Fitzsimmons, Kllmore, was chief marshal with Messrs: Rory Brady, Roscommon and Tom McDermott, Lismahon, Assistant Chief Marshals. Special buses brought contingents from Dublin, Athlone, Mulllngar, Kildare, Drogheda, Dundalk, Mayo, Longford, Leitrim, Sllgo, Mayo, Galway, Tipperary and Kilkenny while the official representatives of Sinn Féin were: Mayo, Mr. Jack Clarke, Ballina; Sligo, Mr. Jim Dolan, Leitrim, Messrs. J. J. Gill and John Gallagher. Mr Joseph Kelly, Ballaghaderreen presided at the unveiling ceremony performed by Commdt. Tom Maguire after the memorial had been blessed by: Very Rev. Peter Canon O'Leary, P.P., Elphin, assisted by. Rev. P. Brady, C.C:, Dangan. Wreaths were laid by "The Veterans of the Second Battalion, South Roscommon Brigade"; "The Irish Republican Army' and "The Second Battalion, North Roscommon Brigade, Third Western Division IRA. After a decade of the Rosary was recited by Mr. Patsy Connell, Elphin, buglers of Fianna Éireann sounded the Last Post and Reveille. Commdt. Maguire then addressed the gathering in and Mr Tomás MacGiolla, Dublin delivered the oration.  The reading of the Proclamation of the Republic and the Co. Roscommon Roll of Honour by Mr. Donal Shanagher, Elphin followed and the proceedings ended with the National Anthem.

Irish Independent, September 16, 1963

Memorial to County Roscommon freedom fighters unveiled

... Relatives of those commemorated were on a special platform near the memorial. Mr. Kelly, referring to the omission of a name from the memorial, said than the Committee erected the memorial to those who lost their lives in conflict with the enemy or In upholding the Idea of a Republic, and those were 'the only people whom they wished to commemorate. It there were others who wanted to commemorate other people they were free to do so.Mr. Kelly was replying to criticism of the omission of the name of Brigadier Michael Dockery O.C North Roscommon Brigade, who was killed by a sniper's bullet during the Civil War. At the time of his death Brig. Dockery was in charge of the National Army stationed In Boyle Hospital.

Last night Gardal continued a round-the-clock vigil on the monument following a rumoured threat that the disputed name—Dockery, would be chiselled on the stone.

 

 

 

Address Shankill Cross, Elphin, Co Roscommon, Ireland
Website http://www.castlebar.ie/photos/the-west/The-Elphin-Monument.shtml
Parish(es) Elphin (Roscommon) Tibohine (Roscommon) Ballintober (Roscommon) Boyle (Roscommon) Creeve (Roscommon) Tumna (Roscommon) Castlemore (Roscommon) Kilmore (Roscommon) Killukin Boyle (Roscommon) Bumlin (Roscommon) Killummod (Roscommon) Estersnow (Roscommon) Kiltullagh (Roscommon) Kilmacumsy (Roscommon) Kilcolagh (Roscommon) Roscommon (Roscommon)
Category (ies) Heritage/Culture Tourist Attraction