Federations’ Joint Trip to Dublin – 9 July 2016
by John Hulme
Early on the morning of 9 July the FULS bus stopped outside Kilmainham Gaol and Museum disgorging our band of sleep deprived amateur historians to be met with, by contrast, an eternally effervescent Larry Breen and his team including “JJ”, Martina, Dick and Helen. We soon woke up. The visit to the world-famous Gaol where the aftermath Easter Rising events took place was well managed and superbly described by the guide prompted by some excellent questions form our party as we toured the cell blocks. An air of melancholy hangs over the stonebreaker’s yard where the executions took place between the 3 and 12 May 1916; I believe all of us from a variety of backgrounds absorbed a greater knowledge and maybe, in some cases, acquired some measured empathy as well for the background events surrounding this tragic episode in the history of Ireland.
In the afternoon we visited Glasnevin Cemetery to visit some of the graves of some Irish Statesmen including Eamon De Valera and Michael Collins. Later we watched the unveiling of Victoria Cross Commemoration Paving Stones organised by the Department of Arts, Heritage Regional Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs where the stones will now be placed on a permanent basis for visitors. There were governmental, political and military representatives from North and South taking part in this most moving ceremony.