Saturday, August 08, 2015

Memorial plaque for Great War tree

When Julie O'Donoghue arrived to work at Kilcullen Library last Tuesday, she discovered something new in the grounds, writes Brian Byrne.

It was a small stone memorial plaque which had been placed at the base of the holly tree planted last year in commemoration of the local people who had died in WW1. "It was inscribed simply with the dates of the War, and 'Lest We Forget'," says Julie, who along with Mary Orford and others was a prime mover in the Kilcullen commemoration events of the conflict. "I had no idea who had put it there. On a hunch, I called Liam Walker, and found he was the one."

It seems that Liam, who also had family in the War, had been on a visit to Omagh when he saw the plaque in a premises. When he asked about it, the man who made it said he had done it for someone else, but the customer then decided on a larger one. He asked Liam where he was from, and in the ensuing conversation, Liam told him about the various events the Kilcullen Great War Commemoration Group had undertaken.

"Well, sure you can have it for nothing then," the man said, obviously impressed with the story.

The Library is closed for Julie's holidays for the next two weeks, so she has taken the plaque in for safekeeping, pending having it cemented in place.

War is terrible, but also has a way of forging unexpected links. Like, a hundred years later, two men from Kilcullen and Omagh respectively.